I meant to post this earlier, but if you haven’t heard, Lightroom 4.1 was officially released about two weeks ago. So if you’ve been waiting to upgrade to Lightroom 4 until Adobe fixed the bugs, I think your wait is over, as the major problems should have been addressed. I know the point curve bug was fixed with the 4.1 RC (“release candidate”), so that shouldn’t be an issue any more.
Lightroom 4 is a big step forward in Raw image processing, but the advancements require a lot of horsepower to work properly. So check the system requirements before you take the plunge. Many people have had to upgrade their operating system to run Lightroom 4, and upgrading your OS can be a big undertaking, requiring that you update other applications as well.
The first image here, as well as all of the images from Monday’s post—including some pretty high-contrast scenes—were processed exclusively in Lightroom 4. In the comments for that last post JayM asked if I could make a tutorial on how I processed the first image. That’s a great suggestion, but for now you’ll find a screen shot below that shows the Basic Panel settings for that photograph. (I didn’t use the Tone Curve, which is not unusual for me these days with high-contrast images in Lightroom 4.)
Also, the camera was pointed up, and the focal length was fairly short (32mm), so the trees converged—leaned in from the sides. Photoshop has many ways of correcting this, but since version 3 Lightroom has also had a leaning-tree tool: the “Vertical” transform slider in the Lens Corrections Panel, under the Manual Tab. You’ll find before and after versions of this redwood photo below showing the image with my default settings, including leaning trees, and the final version that I posted here on Monday.
Michael Frye is a professional photographer specializing in landscapes and nature. He is the author and photographer of The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite, Yosemite Meditations, and Digital Landscape Photography: In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and the Great Masters, plus the eBooks Light & Land: Landscapes in the Digital Darkroom, and Exposure for Outdoor Photography. He has written numerous magazine articles on the art and technique of photography, and his images have been published in over thirty countries around the world. Michael has lived either in or near Yosemite National Park since 1983, currently residing just outside the park in Mariposa, California.