Digital Darkroom

Big Lightroom News

SBig Lightroom News, Lightroom Upgrade: spruce and aspens after an autumn snowstorm, Medicine Bow-Routt NF, CO, USA

I used the new Range Mask tool in Lightroom Classic CC to improve the green colors in this photo from Rabbit Ears Pass in Colorado

Adobe announced two new, different versions of Lightroom last week. And, unfortunately, the names have created a lot of confusion. Here are the essential things you need to know:

No More Perpetual License

Adobe will no longer make new standalone versions of Lightroom with a perpetual license. That means new versions of Lightroom will be available by subscription only. Lightroom 6 is the last non-subscription version that you can purchase outright. Lightroom 6 is still available for now, but won’t be updated to support new cameras. (You can still use Adobe’s free DNG converter to convert Raw images from new cameras into the DNG format, then import those DNG files into Lightroom 6.)

New Lightroom Classic CC

The new version of the program we’re familiar with is called Lightroom Classic CC. This is the traditional, folder-based version of Lightroom. It is essentially the same as Lightroom CC 2015, but with performance improvements and a new Range Mask tool that allows you to make more precise selections with the Adjustment Brush, Graduated Filter, and Radial Filter.


North Lake Sunset

Sunset clouds over North Lake, autumn, Inyo NF, CA, USA

Sunset clouds over North Lake, autumn, Inyo NF, CA, USA

Claudia and I are back home, but we had fun photographing on the east side last week. Every day we saw more color in Bishop Creek Canyon, and the high-elevation aspens were looking great when we left yesterday.

I made this photograph Friday evening. We had been photographing intimate scenes along the south fork of Bishop Creek for a couple of hours, but there were some clouds hugging the crest of the mountains, so I headed to North Lake where I could get a wider view if the clouds turned color at sunset.


May Showers

Spring sunrise, Gates of the Valley, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

Spring sunrise, Gates of the Valley, Yosemite, Sunday morning

First, to my subscribers, thanks for your understanding about the email glitches yesterday. I really appreciate all the supportive emails so many people sent. Your kind words turned a frustrating day into a great one.

I haven’t posted anything new on the blog for awhile because I was teaching a workshop, and then working on our new website. The new site is still a bit of a work in progress, so if you find any broken links or other issues please let me know. But the new site better integrates the blog with the other content, makes it easier to add and update portfolios, and will work much better with phones and tablets, so I hope it will be a better experience for everyone.

Meanwhile we had a great workshop, with flowing waterfalls, fresh spring greenery, dogwoods, and some interesting weather and clouds. And the cool, showery spring weather has continued, which I love. I’m not ready for the summer heat, and always happy to have clouds and mist to photograph.


The Power of Visualization

Beam of light striking Bridalveil Fall, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

Beam of light striking Bridalveil Fall, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

“The term visualization refers to the entire emotional-mental process of creating a photograph, and as such, it is one of the most important concepts in photography.”
— Ansel Adams

I’ve become increasingly aware of the power of visualization over the years. Looking back through my own work, it’s clear that my best photographs were created when I had a strong response to a subject or scene, knew the feeling I wanted to convey, and was able to visualize in advance how I wanted the finished image to look.

But what does visualization mean, and how does it apply to digital photography today? Although Adams mostly talked about visualization in relation to technique, he also made it clear that visualization was part of the creative process. He wrote: “Visualization is a conscious process of projecting the final photographic image in the mind before taking the first steps in actually photographing the subject. Not only do we relate to the subject itself, but we become aware of the its potential as an expressive image.”


Last Chance for a Discount on My Lightroom eBook


A quick reminder that the price for my Landscapes in Lightroom ebook and video package will go up on Sunday (at midnight Pacific time) from $14.95 to $27.00. This is your last chance to get the new edition at the old price! The new version has been updated for Lightroom 6 and Lightroom CC, and includes eight step-by-step examples, plus ten video tutorials. Click the Add to Cart button below, or visit this page for more information.

Landscapes in Lightroom: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide
PDF ebook plus video tutorials
103 double-page spreads
14.95 until Sunday, November 15th, after which the price goes up to 27.00

Add to Cart View Cart


Processing Autumn Landscapes

Autumn sunrise over the Sneffels Range from the Dallas Divide, CO, USA

Autumn sunrise over the Sneffels Range from the Dallas Divide, CO, USA

As I wrote in my last post, it can be challenging to process high-contrast scenes with important, colorful subjects in the shade – like aspens. You need to lighten the shadows even more than normal to bring out the color, and it’s hard to do that in a natural-looking way, while keeping contrast and depth.

This photograph is a good example. It’s from the Dallas Divide, one of Colorado’s iconic fall locations. Fresh snow on the peaks added interest, but also created more contrast. The morning sun lit the peaks and clouds, but I knew it would be awhile before that light reached the aspens in the foreground, and by that time the color in the sky would be gone. I bracketed three exposures, each one stop apart, in case I needed to blend them together later. But I didn’t need to blend; the final image was processed in Lightroom with just one frame.