It’s great how a nuclear sunset can cheer me up. I’ve had a lot of problems thrown at me this week and been let down a couple of times. Then I decided to process this image and I was smiling again.
It’s one I shot a few weeks back and have been struggling to bring out the amazing colours I remember. But now I have an idea of how to do it properly. This was a quick trial for the blog and it has a couple of flaws. For example, the glow effect I used is too strong on the rocks, most obviously the one in the centre. It’s made the image look a little like HDR even though it’s not. I had intended to use it on the distant hills and sky, but my masking was a little shoddy.
I captured the image on the Fuji X-T2 and used a Kase Wolverine 3 stop Reverse Grad on the sky. That really is an amazing filter. Post processing was in On1 Photo RAW 2018, but I do need to make some further adjustments as well as be a little more careful.
The other news from this week is Adobe Lightroom Classic CC version 7.3 has been released. There are a few enhancements which frustratingly move some important sliders to new locations. There’s also a couple of changes that seem to be flagging future developments. If you want to know what’s happened I published a video to YouTube earlier.
In my Friday Image post I mentioned I may head out to Saddleworth Moor on Saturday morning. I did walk up there but it didn’t look promising for photography. Storm Brian was on the way and it was already raining hard. But, by the time I had walked from home to the edge of the moors, the sky had broken (it was damn windy though) and I decided to take a few shots.
The image you see here is two images stitched in Lightroom. These were taken handheld using the Fuji X-T2. I chose the Fuji due to its weather resistant properties. I also used a new 0.6 hard grad filter on the sky; I will have more to tell you about my new filters in the near future.
Back home, I opened Lightroom to downloaded my images and got the message I hate; there were Adobe updates. With so many companies moving to the Software as a Service (SaaS) model, I’m now constantly updating software and getting less done.
This release was though a little different. I was interested because I had heard Lightroom now had Luminosity Masking and I was curious. I couldn’t understand why they had chosen to include this a s a feature in Lightroom when you already had great tone controls.
As Photoshop is a new major release, I fully expected to reinstall may various plug-ins after the upgrade. I was quite surprised this time though to find that most plug-ins were still present after the upgrade. The only exception was the Nik Collection which was now missing.
Each time this happens, you see lots of rumours spread on the internet that Nik is not compatible with the latest Photoshop release. I can report this isn’t the case. Although the Nik Collection is removed in the upgrade, you can download and install it again. I have tested it with both my Mac and Windows PC and the Nik filters work fine.
The image you see above was converted to black and white using Nik Silver Efex Pro from within Photoshop 2018.
The Lightroom upgrade was also very smooth. It was though a little confusing initially; for some reason Adobe has chosen to rename it to Lightroom Classic. I’m sure the reason for this will become apparent in the future.
A few things have struck me already about the new release:
Be prepared to upgrade your Lightroom Catalogue. Most people have just one catalogue which isn’t a problem. If you have multiple catalogues it becomes a bit of a faff.
There is a new processing engine buried in the update. If you look in the Develop module at the Camera Calibration tab, you see the Process version listed at the top. The old one is “Version 3 (2012)” but now we have “Version 4”. If you have images imported under the previous version you will need to switch them manually if you want to use the new process. You can do this individually or you can make a bulk change. Bulk processing can be applied by clicking the small icon to the bottom right of the histogram. It looks like a lightning bolt and appears when you have an image selected which was imported under an older processing version. I have yet to understand the full benefits of the new process.
The selection tools (Gradient, brush etc.) now feature a Range Mask. This is something I didn’t know I needed until I tried it. Having made a selection, the Range Mask allows you to further refine that selection based on either colour or brightness (luminance). This means you can select a large area of your image but then refine the selection to avoid adjusting say the shadows or the highlights. I actually did some dodging and burning on the above image using the Range Mask to prevent anything becoming a pure black mass and its brilliant.
I’m quite impressed with the new Lightroom tools and will look to post something on my You Tube channel soon to demonstrate.