3118 – The Big Picture I

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75 mm f/1.8  Comments Off on 3118 – The Big Picture I
May 022015
 

Panoramic images like this one look like crap on the web, don’t you think so? Well, you probably should have a look on the full size of 15385 x 4522 pixels on Flickr. That’s slightly more than 64 megapixels. Looks better? Thought so đŸ˜€

Lightroom CC has stitched this image automatically from 13 source images with plenty of overlap, taken at manual settings with the Olympus 75/1.8 at f8. I’ve rotated the result slightly and applied sharpening. I see no stitching errors whatsoever. It just worked. Took some minutes though đŸ™‚

The Song of the Day is “The Big Picture” by Zane Williams. Hear it on YouTube.

Jul 062013
 

Here is one more image of yesterday’s bridge.

Looks like HDR? Nope! This is an image from a single RAW file, taken with the D300. Obviously there is tremendous dynamic range in those files, and with Lightroom I can make use of it in a way I never could with Photoshop CS3.

That’s still nothing new though. What’s new is Lightroom 5’s clone stamp. Gone are the days when you needed to use lots of circular stamps to clone out irregularly shaped objects. Just paint over the area that you want to get rid of, let Lightroom suggest an area to clone (or heal) from, move the source area if you think so, probably repeat once or twice, and even wild distractions are gone in a way that’s hard to detect for a human viewer.

In this particular image I had ugly lens flares. Given the position of the sun, you can probably guess where they were. Now that I’ve told you, you may even find the exact spots, especially when you look at the full size on Flickr, but just imagine I hadn’t told you! Again, I could have done that with Photoshop CS3, although with much more effort, and what’s new in Lightroom 5 has already been in CS6, but still, if you remember how restricted image manipulation used to be in Lightroom, this is a big thing.

The Song of the Day is one more time “Falling In Love Again” from Bryan Ferry’s 1999 album “As Time Goes By”. Hear it on YouTube.

2453 – Falling In Love Again I

 Sigma 8-16  Comments Off on 2453 – Falling In Love Again I
Jul 052013
 

I have used Lightroom 5 for a while now, and in my efforts to catalog past works, I have reached December 2010.

Of course I often can’t resist trying how Lightroom copes with images that I’ve rejected for various reasons, sometimes only because I had too many other candidates, maybe due to a lack of time, but frequently also because Photoshop CS3 didn’t give me results that I felt confident about publishing.

Two things were remarkable in the two images of this post. The first is the lens correction for profiled lenses. The two images were taken with the Sigma 8-16, a profiled lens, and the geometry correction seems pretty accurate to me. Of course you can’t see it in the all-curved Image of the Day, but the other image has some lines that obviously need to be straight, and they not only need to, they are.

The second thing is dynamic range. At least the Image of the Day had extreme contrasts, that Lightroom was able to cope with with ease. I am sure I could have done the same thing in Photoshop CS3, but I couldn’t have done it so easily.

Both of these things would have worked the same in Lightroom 4. Profiles are nothing new and the new RAW process was already introduced in Lightroom 4 (and Photoshop CS6, I guess). We’ll see something unique to Lightroom 5 in tomorrow’s post though.

The Song of the Day is “Falling In Love Again” from Bryan Ferry’s 1999 album “As Time Goes By”. Hear it on YouTube.

2445 – Upright Come

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45 mm f/1.8  Comments Off on 2445 – Upright Come
Jun 272013
 

My decision last year to buy into Lightroom and use it for the bulk of my processing and to replace iMatch as my DAM system, that decision had been thoroughly considered, and just rightly so. I am still not through cataloging my past work, in fact I’ve only gone back to 2010 so far. Obviously I’ve made a big investment in Lightroom, and much more in time than in money.

Therefore it may not come as a surprise to you, that I have bought the upgrade the first day the final was out. If you are a Lightroom user and are not sure if this upgrade is worth the money (hint: yes), I strongly suggest the “Luminous Landscape Advanced Guide To Lightroom 5“. It’s not as comprehensive as the “Introduction & Advanced Guide to Lightroom 4“, but it builds on that and only covers the news in Lightroom 5. Michael Reichmann and Jeff Schewe really know how to present that stuff. It’s entertaining and informative, split up in a series of short videos, and that makes it easy to come back for reference at any time. Mandatory.

This image of a church tower, taken from the ground, is one where Lightroom 5’s new “Upright” feature comes handy. It’s not pure magic, but it works in many situations brilliantly, and in many more it saves you at least some work, before you finish up using manual controls.

The Song of the Day is “Upright Come” from Patti Smith’ 1999 album “Gung Ho”. Great music from one of America’s greatest artists. Hear it on YouTube.

Jan 272013
 

My health is still flaky and so I didn’t go out on Friday. Honestly, it was a shame, because it was a bright, sunny day and I really would have liked to take the afternoon off and drive up one of the mountains around Villach. I actually did take the afternoon off, but only to sleep and try to recover.

The images that I took, I took in the morning, using the 75 and 150 Olympus lenses, my most expensive and my cheapest lens đŸ™‚

And exactly there came the problem. Standing on our terrace I took some images of the mountains, using long lenses, and you know how it is, with haze and distance come low contrast and that horrible bluish cast. Actually it’s not really a cast, it’s just what mountains look like when viewed through an enormous amount of hazy air. If you use a wide-angle lens, it does not trouble you, there is enough normally colored foreground and the haze looks natural, because it increases the feeling of distance.

Things get weird when you use a long lens and suddenly don’t have “normal” colored foreground as a reference. What can you do?

It turns out you can do pretty much. Here is what I did in Lightroom:

I loaded the images and applied “Auto Tones”. This gave me good contrast and garish blue colors. Horrible. Then I applied “Auto White Balance”. Still horrible, but better. The blue in the forest and the shadows was gone, actually the forest looked pretty good, pretty natural, but of course this had completely whacked the snow and the clouds. They were much too yellow now. I further adjusted white balance manually, concentrating on the trees only, completely ignoring snow and clouds.

Then I applied split toning. Normally I only use this to tone B&W images, but in such drastic cases of color cast, it can also be used to correct colors.

I used a cool blue of around 220 (numeric value for the hue) for the highlights (which are mostly snow and clouds) and a slightly reddish gold of about 52 for the shadows.

You really have a lot of parameters here: value and saturation of highlight color, value and saturation of shadow color, and then there is the balance slider. You can use it to determine the crossover between highlight and shadow.

I have added two screenshots from Lightroom, to show you the settings used on these two pictures. Note that I have also shifted the blues slightly into purple, darkened and desaturated them.

I think the results are pretty impressive, the controls are extremely powerful, although they are slightly indirect. If you want to achieve a particular effect, it’s not always clear what’s the best way. You really have to experiment and to find out what does what. In the case of these two images, I already had two versions on Flickr last night, but today I was unsatisfied, tried again and now I really like what I’ve got.

Of course split toning can also be used for artistic purposes and that’s how many people use it routinely. Again, this is not Photoshop, but it is still amazing how much you can do in Lightroom.

The Song of the Day is “Out Of The Blue” from Neil Young’s 1979 live album “Rust Never Sleeps”. Hear it on YouTube.