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  • 8/11/2019 Lightroom Lessons


    How to Easily Improve Your Skies in AdobeLightroom August 15, 2014 by Jason RowIts a fact that even the most beautifully composed image will fall apart if it includes a dull, lifeless sky. Agreat sky, on the other hand, can boost the impact of an image immensely. The problem is that we are atthe mercy of Mother Nature and she is not always forthcoming about giving us the sky we need. Ofcourse this being the digital age, there are things that we can do about it and today we are going to lookat some ways to improve your skies using Lightroom.

    The Graduated Filter Lightrooms Grad Filter is perhaps the easiest way to boost a dull looking sky. It is found in the DevelopModule underneath the histogram . Work on your image first, getting the exposure, contrast and color rightthen, when you are happy we can add the grad to the sky. Click on the Graduated Filter Tool.

    Now move your curser over the main image, you will that your curser turns to a crosshair. From the verytop of the image, click and drag this crosshair down. You will see three lines expand across the image.These are the extents of the effect of your filter. Drag so the lowermost point is just below the horizon.

    Making Fine Adjustments to the Filter Underneath the histogram in the Develop module, you will now see a range of adjustment tools. Thesetools will work only within the confines of the graduated filter, leaving the rest of the image as is.
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    In our particular example, we want to darken the sky a little, make it more blue and make those puffywhite clouds stand out more. To darken the sky, we simply move the exposure slider to the left. We dontwant to go too far otherwise we will just end up with a very dark, unnatural looking sky.

    To make the sky more blue, we click on the Color swatch at the bottom of the grad adjustments and thenselect a more suitable blue.

    To make the clouds stand out, we can do several things. First we can boost the contrast a little, thenincrease the highlights by moving the slider to the right, finally we can increase clarity, again by movingthe slider to the right.
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    Lastly, we can adjust the position of the graduated filter by, clicking on the center line and moving thegrad up or down. You can also rotate the grad to fit the image.

    The Adjustment Brush The second technique involves using the Adjustment Brush. This is a little harder to use than theGraduated Filter but allows for much greater control of the areas that you wish to work on. In our examplewe want to take this dawn shot of Saigon and make the sky look more golden yellow.

    As before get the image looking the way you want and then click on the Adjustment Brush tool below thehistogram
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    At the bottom of the Adjustment Brushs palette, click on Auto Mask and at the bottom of the mainwindow, click on Show Selected Mask Overlay. When you move your curser over the image, you will seea brush tool. You can adjust the size of the brush using the mouse scroll wheel or from the bottom of thepalette. Now when you paint over the image, you will see a red mask appearing in the parts that you havecovered. Use a large brush to cover large areas of the sky then a smaller brush to paint into the smalldetailed areas.

    When the area is completely covered we can make our adjustments in the same way that we did with theGraduated Filter tool. In the case of this image, we want to darken the sky a little, make it more, dawn-like
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    and add some contrast. To see the adjustments we make, we need to uncheck the Show Selected MaskOverlay from the bottom.

    To make the sky more like dawn, we can move the white balance more to the right, adding yellow. Wecan then decrease the exposure a little to darken the sky again not to far or the image will becomeunrealistic. To boost the color a touch more we can add some saturation and to make the clouds standout a little, add some clarity and contrast

    Lastly, we want the rest of the image to match the color of the sky so we click on Done, at the bottomright of the image screen. This returns us to the normal Develop module. Now we can simple change thewhite balance of the image to match the overall color to that of the sky. Of you want the image to matchmore accurately, you can use the Adjustment Brush tool to change specific areas, in this example thewater needs to match the sky more.

    You can also make corrections and further adjustments to brushes by clicking on the Adjustment Brushtool then selecting the small circle on screen. A useful tip to make sure your adjustment looks seamless isto use the Feather tool at the bottom of the Adjustment Tool screen.
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    These two techniques are very useful for making quick and easy adjustments to dull looking skies. Aswith all digital images, you will degrade the image slightly by carrying out these adjustments but if you arecareful you can get better looking skies on days when Mother Nature does not play ball.

    How to Capture Amazing Photos of PiersUsing 3 Key Elements of Composition August 10, 2014 by Sheen Watkins

    Ahh, the romance of piers in photographs, novels and movies. They evoke many memories of storms,sunsets, family vacations, loneliness and the power of the ocean. Piers can be warm and inviting. Theycan also be mysterious and haunting. The same pier captured at the same time by two photographerscan have completely different moods. The mood and atmosphere depends on the perspective at the timeof capture and that produced during post-processing.

    Blue Dawn on the Pier. Photo by Sheens Nature Photography There are three key elements to use in pier photography. These elements include:

    1. Leading lines2. Movement3. Vanishing points
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    While pier photographs will typically have all three, using one as the objective at the time of capture helpsanswer the question, What do I want the image to reflect?

    Use Leading Lines These lines may be straight, such as the railing on a pier. Lines with movement and shape, such as theedge of the wave or bubbly foam left in the waves wake, draw an interesting line for the viewer tofollow. Leading lines pull the eye directionally to a point of interest . This could be a vanishing point or asubject along the lines path.

    Photo by Eric Bryan Other lines that can be effectively used include trails of lights , rocks on the edge, sandy ridges created bythe tide, fascinating series of clouds, or even the angles of sailboats tied at the pier.Some lines are not immediately obvious.

    As many of the writers here at Light Stalking have shared for other types of photography, step back andstudy the area . Interesting patterns , shadows, structures and lines will potentially emerge in unexpectedplaces.

    Photo by Neil Kremer When working with leading lines, a big depth of field is typically desired. Working with a small aperture(high f- stop number such as f/16 or f/22) pulls the perspective of everything in focus to the viewer.

    A shallower depth of field could be preferred for a subject in the foreground that is balanced by softleading lines in the background. In this case the eyes are pulled into the distance only to come back andrest the eyes on the focal point.
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    Photo by Rex Boggs Capture Movement Slow shutter speeds embrace and soften the movement of the water. Depending on the shutter speed , the water flow may be a gentle, milky movement, a haze, or a foggy cast.Clouds with long exposures appear mysterious, as if they are actually gliding in the same direction aspatterns in the water. Working with a large depth of field, wide angle lenses and long exposures (slowshutter speeds) produces the best results.

    If working after sunrise, using neutral density filters will darken the setting to allow for slower shutterspeeds.

    Photo by Neil Kremer, on Flickr Include Vanishing Points
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    The long, leading parallel lines that give the appearance of joining in the distance is a base definition of avanishing point .Vanishing points closely reflect a three dimensional perspective in a two dimensionphotograph . Wide and extra wide angle lenses emphasize that dramatic effect when the lines start in the foregroundand extend to infinity. Using small apertures (large f/stop numbers) and applying hyperfocaldistance creates a large depth of field.Many articles have been written about hyperfocal distances being used to maximize the depth of field . Charts, equations, apps all have their place and effective uses. For those who work with s pecificity, heresa couple of sources to help calculate optimum hyperfocal distance.

    DOF Master Depth of Field Calculator DOF and Hyperfocal Distance, Tables and Calculator this article has an excellent comparison of

    focusing at infinity vs. using hyperfocal distance.Before going into the field, I review the charts in advance to get an idea of recommended ranges and usethose initially. Then I will shift focus points to different areas to see what effects can be achieved.

    Gloom on the Gray. Photo by Sheens Nature Photography Bonus Tips

    Shoot in raw more detail and more to work with during processing Gear tripod, remote cable release , wide angle lenses Neutral density filters for use after sunrise and before sunset Circular polarizing filters for use in bright conditions when needing to reduce glare, bring out

    definition such as fluffy, white cloudsWhen considering piers, oceans and large lakes immediately come to mind. However, small piers,boating areas and small boardwalks can also create some fascinating images and may be closer tohome.

    This allows us to conclude that the technical side of the photographic process seem to point to

    composition. Therefore, limiting your knowledge of composition to the rule of thirds, fill the frame, leading

    lines, and the golden spiral will allow you to miss out on the abundance of other rules or guides that

    composition has to offer. Most of these rules, are in fact, unnamed, simply because composition is

    actually intuitive rather than technical in nature. You may already be using some of these rules

    unconsciously but the awareness of these rules will help you create better images.

    To add a bit more to your knowledge, here are three composition rules that you probably have never

    heard of before:

    1. Rule of Isolation

    Composition has many objectives. One of its major objectives is to highlight a subject to make your

    main element stand out. There are different ways to do this. One of the ways to emphasize a subject is by
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    means of isolation. In psychology, isolation means having no contact with other people. Therefore,

    isolation in art is setting an element apart from the rest of the other elements. Since photography is visual

    art, the way to show isolation visually is by having the reference. Having an element occupy a space in

    the frame on its own while other elements in a group exists in another area will show isolation. Take a

    look sharpest marbles in the photo below. You just know that the one on the right is the main elementeven if some of the other marbles are also following the rule of thirds. This is because the ones in the left

    are in a group while the one on the right is isolated in distance and size. There is a certain attraction that

    draws the eye to an isolated element compared to elements in a group.

    Marbles by Chad Cooper , on Flickr

    2. Rule of Contrast

    Contrast creates emphasis. Do you know that your eye is drawn towards the highest area of contrast in

    an image? If you want to draw attention a specific subject or element, try moving it to the area of highest

    contrast. You can do this by moving your subject to create high contrast or changing positions until your

    perspective forces your element to be on the highest area of contrast or at least near it. In the same way,

    if you want to deemphasize attention, draw an element closer towards a low contrast area. The idea is to

    make an element blend with other elements or the background to deemphasize it and moving it towards a

    high contrast area to highlight it.
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    balance by carboila , on Flickr

    3. Rule of Sharpness

    The most obvious conclusion to the rule of sharpness is that your eyes are drawn to the sharpest point of

    your image. While this is true, there are parameters to follow. The more blur there is in the frame, the

    more your eyes are attracted to sharpness. This is why a sharp subject against a blurry background

    makes the subject stand out. Your eyes are drawn towards the sharper part because the overall result is

    a sharp element in the midst of a blurry image. Techniques like wide depth of field and panning are

    perfect examples of this condition. With panning, even if the subject isnt too sharp, the relative blur

    created by background makes the subject look sharper.

    Needles by jar () , on Flickr

    The not so obvious conclusion of the rule of sharpness is that the more sharpness there is in an image,

    the more your eye is attracted to blur if it exists. Although eyes are attracted to sharpness more than blur

    in general, when the overall result of an image shows sharpness and a smaller area yet obvious blur, the
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    blurry area becomes more attention grabbing than the sharper ones. This is why long exposure

    photography emphasizing motion blur works. While everything looks tack sharp and still, your eyes are

    attracted to the blur.

    Try editing a close-up portrait of a person where everything is sharp and obviously blur out part of headlike the ears or the nose. Ask anyone to evaluate your image. It is highly possible that the person will

    immediately notice the blur instead of the eyes which are usually always first to be noticed.

    Motion blur by Lijo Jose , on Flickr

    Now that you know these three rules, let me leave you with one final note. Like the other known rules of

    composition, these rules are not meant to be a standalone guides. In fact, when looking at a photograph,

    you may find numerous rules in a single image. Take a look at the other photographs in this article and

    see which of the rules you can identify.