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.
Sunbeams, San Juan Mountains, Colorado. Driving over Lizard Head Pass we came around a bend and spotted these sunbeams coming through the clouds. Claudia found a place to pull over, and I scrambled to set up my camera as quickly as possible. Wind was blowing rain right toward the camera, so it was a challenge to keep water drops off the lens. I stayed for at least 20 minutes capturing images of the sunbeams as they moved and changed, but this was the very first frame. A challenging photo to process!
With their straight, white trunks and colorful leaves, aspens are great subjects for intimate landscapes. But in both Colorado and the eastern Sierra this fall we had lots of interesting weather, with great clouds, which created many opportunities to capture images of aspens as part of a larger landscape, with mountains in the background. I’ve posted a couple of these photographs already (here and here), but I’ve included a few more in this post.
These images were sometimes challenging to process. Often the aspens were in the shade, with sunlit, sometimes snow-covered peaks above, creating a lot of contrast. Yet all of these images were processed in Lightroom, with just one Raw file – no exposure blending or HDR. I used Lightroom’s wonderful Highlights and Shadows tools, plus some dodging and burning with the Adjustment Brush.
Landscapes in Lightroom: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide
PDF ebook with video tutorials
103 double-page spreads
14.95 for a limited time, after which it goes up to 27.00
Here it is! The latest update to my ebook, Landscapes in Lightroom: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide, is now available. This new edition is revised and updated for Lightroom 6 and Lightroom CC, and includes two new examples and videos demonstrating how to use the most significant new features – the HDR Merge and the Panorama Merge.
Of course this new version still has all the features that made the first edition so popular. First, you can download the original Raw files used as examples in the ebook, and then follow along with each step yourself – just as if you were attending one of my workshops.
Second, when you purchase the ebook you get exclusive access to ten videos demonstrating different aspects of Lightroom’s Develop Module, like using the Adjustment Brush, Spot Removal Tool, and Point Curve, advanced retouching in Lightroom, the new HDR Merge, and much more. It’s great to read about a tool or technique; it’s even better to watch a demonstration, and then try it yourself on the same image.
And third, there’s the PDF ebook itself. This includes eight examples, where I take you step-by-step through processing each image in Lightroom. You’ll get to see my workflow in action, with a variety of images – high contrast, low contrast, color, black and white, HDR merge, and panorama. You’ll learn many specific techniques and tips, but perhaps more importantly, you’ll gain insight into the decision-making process that so many photographers struggle with. How much contrast is enough? How far can you push the saturation without making the image look garish or fake? What’s the right white balance?
Rainbow over Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View – after applying the Dehaze control
Last week Adobe added an update to Lightroom CC, designated the 2015.1 release. It includes a couple of new features. The main one is a Dehaze slider, designed to reduce the appearance of atmospheric haze. It’s found in the Effects Panel of the Develop Module.
I’m usually skeptical of things like this. Is it really different than adding Contrast or Clarity? Well, yes, actually. Adobe says, “The Dehaze technology is based on a physical model of how light is transmitted, and it tries to estimate light that is lost due to absorption and scattering through the atmosphere.” I’m not sure how they do that exactly, but it seems to work more effectively than just adding Contrast or Clarity.
El Capitan and the Merced River after an autumn snowstorm, Yosemite. In the excerpt from Outdoor Photographer magazine I take readers step-by-step through processing this high-contrast image in Lightroom.
It’s not often that Outdoor Photographer magazine excerpts an ebook, so I was pleased when they asked to run an excerpt from my Landscapes in Lightroom 5 ebook in their December issue. Although printed copies of the magazine won’t be available until mid-November, you can already find the online version here.
The excerpt is from the fourth example in the book, showing step-by-step how I processed this high-contrast image of El Capitan in Lightroom. Due to space constraints they couldn’t run all the screen shots and illustrations from the book, but I think they did a great job of including the most essential ones.
If you don’t have the ebook yet, the Outdoor Photographer excerpt gives a good taste of what you’ll find, although of course the ebook has much more: five more step-by-step examples, in-depth discussions of the tools and workflow in Lightroom’s Develop Module, eight accompanying video tutorials (including one about using the Graduated Filter tool that goes with the excerpted chapter), and links to download the original Raw files for hands-on learning as you follow along with the examples.
To purchase the ebook, just use the Add to Cart button below, or click here to find out more.
And to everyone who has already purchased the ebook, thank you so much! I really appreciate your support, and all the kind words many of you have sent to me about the book.
— Michael Frye
Landscapes in Lightroom 5: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide
PDF ebook with video tutorials
87 double-page spreads
Sunbeams, Mariposa County, CA, USA
Throughout 2013, nothing generated more comments and passionate discussion than my posts about Adobe’s Creative Cloud. As most of you know, Adobe announced in May that it would no longer offer Photoshop and its other Creative Suite applications with a perpetual license. They became available by subscription only, and, at the time, with a rather steep monthly fee of $20 per month for an individual application.
In June I wrote My Thoughts on the Adobe Creative Cloud, which covered my initial reaction to this announcement. Since then some things have changed. Notably, Adobe lowered the monthly subscription rate to $9.99 per month for Photoshop and Lightroom together. At first they offered this rate only to people who already owned a license to Photoshop CS3 or later. Then they offered the package to everyone. I finally decided to subscribe, despite some misgivings; I wrote about my reasons here.
This Lightroom-and-Photoshop package is still available for $9.99 per month (with a one-year subscription) until December 31st. After that? Well who knows. I have a feeling Adobe could be offering similar deals in the future, but no guarantees!
2014 should be an interesting year. Will Adobe make Lightroom available by subscription only? Let’s hope not! Will other software companies move to a subscription-only model? Or will someone seize the opportunity created by all the ill-will toward Adobe and offer a true competitor to Photoshop – with a perpetual license? Stay tuned.
— Michael Frye
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Michael Frye is a professional photographer specializing in landscapes and nature. He is the author or principal photographer of The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite, Yosemite Meditations, Yosemite Meditations for Women, and Digital Landscape Photography: In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and the Great Masters. He has also written three eBooks: Light & Land: Landscapes in the Digital Darkroom, Exposure for Outdoor Photography, and Landscapes in Lightroom 5: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide. Michael 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.