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Thread: Riding a wave

  1. #1
    oleleclos's Avatar
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    Ole Henriksen

    Riding a wave

    I post these two pictures to show why I am a fan of Lightroom 4. I was a Photoshop user for many years but got fed up with its complexity and expensive updates but most of all with making destructive changes which could not easily be modified or reversed, and only by keeping multiple copies of ever larger image files.

    Then came the non-destructive Aperture: save the actions, not the result of the actions - how brilliant is that? It takes up almost no space and the whole editing history can be unravelled and modified. Except I never got comfortable with Aperture. Can't put my finger on it exactly, but it was a bit like driving on the wrong side of the road. You do it when you go abroad but it feels strange.

    So I was game when Lightroom 4 got good reviews (and the price dropped), and I took to it like a duck to water. It's a real photographer's tool, a digital darkroom that does precisely what a photographer needs to do. Well, 99% of the time anyway; I still need the odd trip to PS, but no more so than Elements will do.

    Riding a wave

    This is a picture I took today at Pembroke Bay in Guernsey. I started out as I do with most digital shots: by applying a bit of an S-curve. In this case a fairly strong one to get life in that water and that surf.

    The rest was done with the excellent brush tool which allows localised control of not only density but the whole exposure compensation package: color temperature, contrast, highlights, shadows, clarity (local contrast), saturation and controls for sharpness, noise, moire and defringe (chromatic aberration). This is burning and dodging on steroids.

    One of the greatest things about the brush tool is the auto masking option: choose your settings, place a marker in an area of the tone you want to work on, and auto masking will keep the effect to areas matching that tone.

    Here I used it to treat the water and the surf differently: the water was darkened in most areas and the colour modified in some, and the surf is lightened, sharpened and clarified (adding local contrast).

    Riding a wave

    The unedited picture is no doubt a truer depiction of the scene before the camera. But to my mind the edited picture better transfers to the image the atmosphere, the "feel", the light and the action of the scene. I also think the edited image is still quite honest. There's nothing there that wasn't in the original; there's just a little more or less of it here and there. Besides, this is not forensic photography. If the water had looked better red, I believe I would have been entitled to turn it red. Hmmm, there's a thought...

    C&C, please (late addition )
    Last edited by oleleclos; 4th November 2012 at 10:40 AM.

  2. #2

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    Re: Riding a wave

    Nice job, Ole. I don't use LR, so I appreciate you sharing the information about the Brush tool's auto masking capability.

  3. #3
    Glenn NK's Avatar
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    Re: Riding a wave

    Ole:

    What I've found useful with the brush tool is the sharpness setting. Often with macros of flowers, there is some background element that just can't be eliminated, and shows up too prominently in the image.

    By putting sharpness to zero, and "painting" over the distracting elements, the focus softens. Also discovered that if these areas are noisy, the sharpness brush remove that too.

    I didn't know about the auto masking tool - thanks for mentioning it.

    Glenn

    PS - maybe red water around a surfer might not be in good taste (sharks?).

  4. #4

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    Re: Riding a wave

    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn NK View Post
    maybe red water around a surfer might not be in good taste (sharks?).
    On the other hand, the sharks will surely like the taste.

  5. #5
    dje's Avatar
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    Re: Riding a wave

    Ole I'm not a Lightroom user but I do use ACR (the full version that comes with CS5 or CS6) which has the same functionality as Lightroom. I've gradually found myself doing more and more in ACR rather than in Photoshop. I've only just started playing with the Adjustment Brush but I can see how useful it can be and how relatively easy it is to use. I tend to only use PS now for it's more comprhensive Sharpening options, re-sizing options and Highlights and Shadows adjustments (although LR4/ACR7 has caught up a bit with the latter). A small XMP file holding the edit settings from ACR is more manageable than a huge PSD file holding Smart Objects and Layers to allow non-destructive edits in PS.

    Dave

  6. #6
    oleleclos's Avatar
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    Re: Riding a wave

    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn NK View Post
    maybe red water around a surfer might not be in good taste (sharks?).
    In Guernsey, sharks are generally not IN the water ;-)

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