Posts Tagged ‘shadows’
Lightroom is a great tool. It’s quick and easy to use – once you get the hang of it. But sometimes mastering the workflow, the steps you go through to take a raw file to a ‘final’ image, can be a bit daunting.
Let me say up front that Lightroom is an important part of my workflow but it’s not the only part. Every photograph I work on starts in Lightroom but is completed in Photoshop. Nevertheless, Lightroom gets a photograph to about 80% of the final product. I know many people who use Lightroom exclusively and Photoshop only in rare circumstances if at all.
So back to the workflow. Can it really be made easy? Yes it can. There are four major steps (not counting import – see Lightroom Tutorial – Importing Photographs):
- Mechanical adjustments like dust spot removal and cropping
- Tonality adjustments
- Hue adjustments
- Saturation adjustments
Let’s skip the first step and start with the second. The example will be in Lightroom 4.
Continue reading “Lightroom Tutorial – Workflow Made Easy” »
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Posted in How To Articles, Lightroom | Comments (6)
As I drive across the Mojave Desert late one Thursday night not long ago, heading north on I-15, I have a sense of harmony, of unity with the night, the highway, my car. The pavement ahead eases into the beam of my headlights, grows brighter as it draws closer and then slips back into darkness as it slides underneath. Nights like this are a joy. I’m in a groove, a state of calm serenity and anticipation. Tomorrow I’ll be returning to Zion National Park, something I always look forward to. I didn’t notice the faint flashes of light.
Powerful thunderstorms were roiling over eastern California and southern Nevada that night, The dark clouds glowed with flickers of light and precious water dropped on the parched desert. it was a huge storm and I was chasing it. Approaching the state line the casino lights of Prim were reflected, bright and shimmering, on what is normally a dry lake bed. A half hour later as Las Vegas finally came into view, the glitz and glamor of the gaudy hotels was dwarfed by the grandeur of bolts of lightning streaking for miles across the turbulent sky.
The following morning workers were cleaning up after the storm but it hadn’t fully passed. Storm clouds still blanketed the sky for the remainder of the journey to Zion. A detour to Kolob Terrace to check the aspens was, I suppose, inevitable. The falling snow up in the high country was a surprise. And a delight. Sunrise the next morning was looking promising.
The best location in Zion that gets the full sunrise treatment is West Temple. I’ve photographed it many times but never got anything that I was excited about. The most popular location to shoot from is the ‘patio’ behind the museum but on this morning I chose a less visited one – the 2nd switchback on Tunnel Road. The expectation of clearing storm clouds, the choice of shooting locations – everything worked out just right.
Continue reading “The Making of a Photograph – Clearing Storm, West Temple 2012” »
Tags: action, adjustment, adjustments, Also, Altar, Another, anticipation, article, attention, background, balance, black, California, Canyon, casino, Click, cliffs, clouds, collaboration, color, comments, conversation, desert, detour, drama, eons, events, excitement, expectation, Facebook, feelings, files, finale, Flickr, foreground, friends, glamor, glory, grandeur, harmony, highway, image, images, imagination, inspirations, Join, Kolob, lake, layer, Level, life, Lightroom, lights, LinkedIn, links, location, locations, masterpiece, midst, Mojave, moment, mood, National, needs, Nevada, paper, Park, patio, perspective, photograph, PhotoShop, Prim, qualities, remainder, result, Road, Sacrifice, selection, shadows, silhouette, silhouettes, storm, strength, subject, Sundial, sunrise, Sure, temperature, Temple, Terrace, times, Tint, treatment, Tunnel, understatement, Vegas, Vibrance, viewer, walls, West, workers, workshop, Zion
Posted in How To Articles, Lightroom, Making a Photograph, Photoshop | Comments (0)
A friend asked me if I’d do a blog on the making of the photograph I took of the Virgin River during the Zion National Park photography workshop in 2011. He’s a good friend and it’s a nice photograph so let’s do it. Here’s the end result. (You can click on each of the photographs to enlarge them and get a better look.)
And here’s what it started from.
The difference is obviously pretty dramatic so there will be a few things to talk about. We’ll start with what I was experiencing in the field and take it all the way through the darkroom to the end product. So let’s get started.
Continue reading “The Making of a Photograph – Virgin River 2011” »
Tags: action, adjustment, adjustments, afternoon, area, areas, attention, balance, Basic, black, Blacks, blues, bottom, Burn, Canyon, Click, cliff, color, comments, comparison, component, composition, computer, conversation, cottonwood, Darkroom, decisions, depth, Develop, difference, distraction, documentation, Dodge, drama, Easy, edges, Edit, energy, expose, exposure, Facebook, feelings, Field, files, fissures, foreground, Four, friend, Global, Here, highlights, Home, image, inspiration, intersection, Join, Just, layer, layers, lens, life, Lightroom, Local, luminance, Many, mixture, mode, module, moment, mood, National, Once, orange, painter, painters, paper, Park, Part, peace, phases, photograph, photographers, photography, PhotoKit, PhotoShop, product, Proof, result, River, saturation, selection, self, sensor, session, shadows, Share, Soft, Start, temperature, three, TIFF, Tiny, tonal, Tool, tools, Tree, tutorial, Tweet, Vibrance, viewer, vignette, Virgin, vision, walls, Whites, word, workshop, Zion
Posted in Composition, Expoure, How To Articles, Light, Lightroom, Making a Photograph, Photography as Art, Photoshop | Comments (2)
HDR. Many people respond to those three letters in shock and disgust. For them, HDR is synonymous with over the top processed images. It embodies all that they think is wrong with digital photography and the implied MANIPULATION that goes with it. It is a shocking insult on reality.
I’ve heard of photography contests that strictly forbid HDR and insist that all the photographs that are submitted be a single exposure. I’ve judged photography competitions in which the other judges viewed an HDR image that was just slightly over the top and felt it should be placed in the Manipulated category.
But the letters HDR stand for High Dynamic Range. Nothing sinister about that. It’s a situation frequently encountered when out photographing. That’s when the dynamic range of the scene, the difference between the darkest and brightest spots in the scene, is greater than the dynamic range our camera’s sensor is capable of capturing. When we encounter this situation we’re going to get clipping where the highlights or shadows or both lack detail, are blank. This is not a desirable situation. If there’s anything that’s shocking here it’s that the camera, that supposedly great recorder of reality, does not, cannot see what our eyes see. So what can be done about that?
Well, if you’re shooting color film the answer is simple. Nothing. Move on. You’ll never be able to capture high dynamic range images on color film (without clipping) no matter how beautiful they are. If you are shooting black and white you can do what Ansel Adams did – water bath development. He exposed for the shadows and adjusted his development process and chemicals to get a proper development of his highlights. Sounds to me like he’s doing what we digital photographers do with HDR – adjusting the process to capture the full dynamic range (Read “How Ansel Adams did HDR”).
If you’re a digital photographer you can use the HDR technique – capture two or more images with bracketed exposures that span the dynamic range and then blend them together using software like PhotoMatix Pro. So where’s the problem? I mean, doesn’t that sound like a good thing, taking photographs we weren’t able to do at all with color film or with great difficulty with black and white?
But somehow HDR has become a four letter word in some circles. It’s become synonymous with that word that is so offensive to some – MANIPULATION. HDR images are manipulated images. Never mind that HDR can be used to create photographs that are a lot more like what our eyes see than what our cameras are even remotely capable of capturing.
Many of these same people that think that HDR is a four letter word are also prone to look down their noses and ask, “Did you PHOTOSHOP that picture.” Yes, with Photoshop we can easily drop in moons that weren’t there. And our photographs are cheap because of that. But it was OK in the days of film when the masters that we so admire did it. What’s the difference? Is it that it was hard when you did it with film and therefore to be admired but it’s easy with Photoshop? Don’t know. Could be.
And with HDR a similar thing might be happening. With the software tools that are available you don’t have to settle for recreating what our eyes saw, you can take your images over the top, give them that grunge look. Or that painterly look. It’s up to you and your vision.
Now, for the record (not that it’s important) I choose not to go for the grunge or painterly look in PhotoMatix Pro. I prefer to control the dynamic range, remove highlight clipping and return an image to Lightroom that I can continue to work on. And when it comes to moons in my photographs I prefer to be there when the full moon comes up behind my favorite bristlecone pine. It’s a lot more fun that way.
But I have no argument with those that drop moons or cloudy skies or whatnot in their photographs. And I have no argument with those that choose to express themselves with grunge HDR images. I readily confess that some of them are extremely effective with the grunge look. That’s just not my style, not my personality.
The only thing I think we all owe our viewers is to be honest about it. When people come into my booth at an art festival and ask if I manipulate or Photoshop my photographs I answer, “Of course.” I often go on to say, “Let me put it this way. I approach photography from the mindset of a painter. I want to have all the creative freedom a painter would have.’” And more than once, they have responded, “Oh, I get it. You’re an artist.”
Love it when that happens.
What do you think of HDR? What do you think of manipulation in Photoshop? Leave a comment. We’d love to hear your opinion.
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Posted in Journal | Comments (6)
We landscape photographers tend to avoid photographing during the middle of a sunny day. The light is harsh with no color. We prefer golden hour or twilight.
But there are times when we have no choice as to when we can shoot. When we’re on vacation with family we can’t wait until sunset at every location that sparks our interest. So we get the shot and hope for the best. But there’s a technique we can use that will greatly enhance our chances of capturing a more compelling photograph.
Continue reading “HDR for Every Day” »
Tags: Adams, adjustment, adjustments, advantage, Already, Ansel, Antelope, Aperture, areas, Arizona, atmosphere, California, camera, Canon, Canyon, Colorado, comparison, Export, exposure, exposures, extent, foot, foreground, Here, history, hour, impact, Indian, Instead, Keeper, lens, Lightroom, location, locations, luxury, Mark, Mexico, monsoon, option, Park, photographers, photography, PhotoMatix, PhotoShop, reds, Rock, Santa, saturation, shadows, skills, Southern, Southwest, spectacles, Spider, spire, sunrise, sunset, technique, three, TIFF, tools, tradition, tripod, vacation
Posted in Expoure, How To Articles, Light | Comments (1)
I’ve been giving a lot of thought recently to what goes in to making a great landscape photograph. It turns out there are four things, four pillars if you will. Four, that’s a good number. There are the four legs of a table or the four wheels of a car. And not to forget the four sacred directions of the Native Americans.
In landscape photography the four pillars are evenly divided between the aesthetics and the technical. So what are they? The two aesthetic pillars are Fantastic Light and Strong Composition. No surprise there. The two technical pillars are Appropriate Sharpness and Optimum Exposure. No surprise there either. If just one of those pillars is missing, well, the table collapses, the image suffers.
Let’s look at them one by one….
(click on the images to enlarge them)
Joshua Tree Spring Sunrise (2011)
Continue reading “Making a Photograph – The Four Pillars” »
Tags: Aperture, balance, border patrol, cloudy, color, composition, constrast, cool, f/stop, fine art, focal distance, focal length, focus, golden hour, grad nd filter, graduated neutral density filter, HDR, High Dynamic Range, histogram, hyperfocal distance, light, luminance, mid-day, midday, open shade, overcast, photography, rule of thirds, shadows, sharpness, tonality, twilight, unity, visual tensioin, warm
Posted in Making a Photograph | Comments (9)