It’s felt like an eternity since I witnessed a good sunset or sunrise. But last weekend, I made a trip over to Formby with a friend and it was as if everything just fell into place.
The day had been a little frustrating, alternating between too much cloud and not enough. As we sat on a rock, about an hour from sunset the sky was crystal clear. I didn’t hold out much hope of a sunset. Then, the clouds seemed to change direction and a large formation drifted slowly across the sky. It didn’t seem to be moving fast enough to reach the sun in time. But it did, and the scene was glorious.
I captured this frame on the Fuji X-T2 with a 10-24 lens. I had the camera mounted on a tripod which was set quite low, probably about two feet from the ground. I also got to use my new Kase Wolverine Reverse Grad filter which made an amazing difference to the scene. I’m a complete convert after one outing – using this filter on sunsets is amazing. The camera was set to ISO200 and the aperture stopped down to f/13.0. I did this primarily to create a star effect around the sun. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for this frame as the sun had dipped just that little too low.
I should also say that I didn’t process this RAW file in Lightroom either. I opted instead for Capture One Pro 11, which seems to have added a remarkable amount of subtle colour detail into the clouds. Lightroom in comparison rendered most of the cloud above the sun as a monotone mass of colour. In Capture One the cloud looks like more like flames. I’m going to run a few more trials on Capture One as the image quality appears much better than a couple of versions back, especially with the Fuji RAW files.
I hope you like the image and have a great weekend.
A few days back I recorded a video to demonstrate how to soft proof a photo for printing, using Lightroom CC. Whilst making the video I noticed the Soft Proofing in Lightroom wasn’t working properly. Both my Mac and PC had the same problem and I couldn’t find the cause. In the end I recorded the video using Lightroom 5 which I still had installed, and which appeared to be working.
I’ve now investigated the problem further and the bug also appears to be affecting Adobe Illustrator as well. Fortunately, I have also found a solution. This very short video shows the problem as well as how to avoid it.
Also, here is the soft proofing video which I know some blog readers have been waiting for.
I can’t believe the time. I’ve been so wrapped up in my writing that I lost track and I haven’t posted a Friday image yet. I’m now feeling under pressure to pack up and see my wife (before she drinks all the wine) so I’m going to cheat a little. This week’s image is one of the worked examples in the book I’m writing.
I’ve shot this tree quite a few times and find myself drawn back to it frequently. It’s in an area of the Peak District called Padley Gorge. This particular tree is in one of the disused quarries. The image was captured with the Fuji X-T2 as a RAW file and all the conversion and post processing was done in Lightroom. This version isn’t quite finished, but it still looks pretty good.
I hope you like the image and have a great weekend.
I’ve been hard at work over the past few weeks, writing a new book. The book’s all about getting the best results from the Lightroom Develop Module. What I’ve realised whilst writing is that many people struggle when it comes to making selections using Lightroom. Whilst they can create simple selections, if it’s a little more difficult, they’re put off.
To help, I’ve been creating a series of short You Tube videos giving tips and demonstrate useful techniques. In the latest video I show how to select a tree, so it can be selectively sharpened. It’s a typical challenge where the tree is set against a background, making it difficult to select. The video shows how you can do this using only the Lightroom Adjustment Brush, which has been around for a long time. There is an optional improvement using the Color Range Mask, but it’s not essential.
The videos shown below. I hope you find it helpful.
If you’re a Lightroom user, you may feel that the selection tools aren’t great. They certainly lack the precision you can achieve in Photoshop. As I’ve been writing my latest book (not surprisingly it’s on Lightroom), I’ve been creating some increasingly complex and precise selections. Some even rival what you can achieve in Photoshop using masking.
Rather than just keep this for the book, I decided to publish a couple of videos on You Tube to demonstrate the techniques.
The first shows how to cleanly separate the sky from the ground in an image.
Last week I blogged to explain why I was reluctant to make image submissions from the Fuji X-T2. Then after some internal debate with myself, I made a few submissions. The results are back, and the submitted files passed QA. What I now need to confess to is that I didn’t process the files in Lightroom, I used Iridient Developer.
Lightroom is a key part of my workflow and has been for a long time. I use it for cataloguing, keywording, searching and printing as well as developing images from RAW files. When one aspect of this doesn’t work well, it’s not a simple as dumping it for something else. Unfortunately, despite recent improvements in the Fuji RAW file processing, Lightroom just isn’t as good as Iridient Developer. This is more noticeable with the images shot using my 18-135mm lens than the 16-55mm or 50-140mm.
In terms of using Lightroom with Iridient Developer, the process is easy, but it isn’t entirely seamless. I have Iridient configured so that I can send it a TIFF file from Lightroom. When this happens, it goes off to find the RAW file with the same name and opens that for processing. Once the adjustments are made the resulting image overwrites the TIFF that Lightroom produced. This all works well but I do miss some of Lightroom’s tools such as the Gradient adjustment and Brush tool.
Now if you look back to the original blog post you will see that one reader suggested Iridient X-Transformer and I have a further confession. I tried this software when it was back in its Beta test phase and thought it was fine but couldn’t see the point. Now I have realised, if I can convert the Fuji RAF files to DNG files I could then use all my favourite Lightroom tools. And if the DNG conversion was anywhere nearing the quality of Iridient Developer it would be wonderful.
To cut a long story short, the DNG converted files from X-Transformer are superb. It also integrates into Lightroom as a plugin which means I can select and keyword my files. I then convert to DNG files in batches before processing the DNG files to work on. The resulting images are brilliant and every bit as good as using Iridient Developer. Best of all the software cost me £35 including taxes.