Showing posts with label Adobe Lightroom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Adobe Lightroom. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


SNOOTS are a classic photographic light modifier used to narrow a beam of light and is first cousin to the GRID and BARN DOORS.  It creates directional lighting that essentially increases contrast and can better define a subject.  Yousuf Karsh used all kinds of light modifiers and Rembrandt lighting.

Underwater photographers have been adopting the technique in recent years.  While they can be effective, you can sometimes add a "snoot effect" to a photo AFTERWARDS, when you are back in the digital darkroom.

I shot this nudibranch (pronounced nude-ih-brank), Nembrotha chamberlaini in the Philippines a couple months ago.  It is "nice" but that is an awful word to describe a photograph.  You are looking for WOW!  The photo is colorful but flat against the sand bottom.  Rembrandt Lighting with a soft fill make for a potentially compelling photo.   Here's how to improve it.

We want to add a darkening effect that replicates the same effect as a light modifier had I used one.  I use a number of software packages in the digital darkroom.  I have found that the best tool for this effect is the ADJUSTMENT BRUSH using Adobe Lightroom.  Lightroom 4 is a recent upgrade and corrects Adjustment Brush significantly.  Prior versions spewed horrible, grainy artifacts liberally when you used higher levels of correction.

To start Adjustment brush from the Library Module, hit the K key.  Click on the icon from the development module.  It toggles to turn on or off.

Start using a COPY of one of your files.  This is automatic in Lightroom if you are shooting RAW.

In the Adjustment brush panel, you will want to set the following parameters.
1. Brush size, start around "25"

2. Click off the Check box Auto Mask if it is on.  You are looking for smooth blending.

3. Exposure.  Start at minus -20.  Using this value, you can adjust the darkening effect later.   Improved in Version 4, there used to be two sliders, Exposure and brightness.  The latter is gone as the distinctions were overcomplicating. Draw around the perimeter of where you want to see a classic vignette.  Since the eye is attracted to brightness, you are aiming to darken the corners and draw the viewers eyes to the most important part of the photo.

4. Adjust the Exposure value until it "looks plausible."  Turn off the Adjustment Brush to 'Keep the Setting."

5. If it needs more correction, Turn on Adjustment Brush again and go back and add another layer.  Adjust exposure and brush size as needed. Turn off Adjustment brush again.

6. Repeat as many times as you need until you are happy with the result.  You can always delete History if needed.  Lightroom uses non-destructive editing.

This will not replace the snoot or other light modifiers, it's not the Ken Burns effect,  but the "John Ares effect" will enhance many photographs that might have been overlooked.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


With my new memory installed, importing into Lightroom is also much improved.  Pulling in 4BG cards used to take about 25 minutes or so.  Now, when Lightroom wants to grab all the remaining memory, the picture looks like this.  Bottom line, it now takes 15 minutes to download.  If you need to mess around with viewing and editing while downloading, the download will take longer.

Almost 40% faster download?  I'll take it.


Monday, January 16, 2012


Adobe announced a few days ago that there is a new BETA for LIGHTROOM 4.
According to Adobe, here are some of the new features:

New Features in Lightroom 4 Beta
- Highlight and shadow recovery brings out all the detail that your camera captures in dark shadows and bright highlights.

- Photo book creation with easy-to-use elegant templates.

- Location-based organization lets you find and group images by location, assign locations to images, and display data from GPS-enabled cameras.

- White balance brush to refine and adjust white balance in specific areas of your images.

- Additional local editing controls let you adjust noise reduction and remove moiré in targeted areas of your images.

- Extended video support for organizing, viewing, and making adjustments and edits to video clips.

- Easy video publishing lets you edit and share video clips on Facebook and Flickr®.

- Soft proofing to preview how an image will look when printed with color-managed printers.

- Email directly from Lightroom using the email account of your choice.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Retaining Lightroom Metadata when transferring between computers

It is hard to remember all the features that Photoshop and Lightroom have.  Adobe Products are not exactly known for being intuitive.  There is nobody at the head of Adobe that is driving simplicity and ease of operation.  No Steve Jobs.  No one with his passion for ease of use.  No one with a name to stamp on a concept.  Indeed an entire corporation, Kelby Training, has formed a cottage industry in trying to explain what the Adobe Enginneers cannot.

Back to Metadata.  A simple IMPORT on the Desktop from Lightroom WILL LEAVE ALL METADATA AND ADJUSTMENTS BEHIND on the source computer (laptop).  I sometimes forget that to retain the Metadata, like Keywords and adjustments that you input on the road (using a laptop)  you need to combine or merge catalogs.  The following is from Adobe's webpage:

Combine or merge catalogs in Lightroom

You can create a catalog from existing photos in Lightroom by selecting the photos and exporting them as a new catalog. Then, if desired, you can merge the new catalog with another catalog. This is useful when, for example, you initially import photos into a catalog on a laptop computer and then you want to add the photos to a master catalog on a desktop computer.

  1. Select the photos you want to add to the new catalog.
  2. Choose File > Export As Catalog.
  3. Specify the name and location of the catalog.
  4. Indicate whether you want to export the negative files and previews, and then click Save (Windows) or Export Catalog (Mac OS). “Negative files” refers to the original files that were imported into Lightroom.
    The new catalog contains the selected photos and their information. You must open the new catalog to view it.
  5. (Optional) To combine catalogs, import the new catalog into another. See Import photos from a different Lightroom catalog.
The keywords for this one are: ascending, attacking cage, cage, Great White Shark, GUADELUPE ISLAND, Mexico, Nautilus Explorer, Pilot fish

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Adobe LIGHTROOM 3.5 Failing Grade

Grrr.  Adobe is updating Lightroom to include new cameras and doesn't fix serious issues with version 3.5.  I barely use the develop module anymore.  I switch to Photoshop.  Using Mac Lion, develop can't retain cropping, takes forever to load and is a general waste of my time.

AWFUL noise is still persistent using the tone curve adjust in Lightroom.

Upgrade grade:

Note to Adobe: hire me part time as a true release tester. 


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Photoshop Auto Save - Electric Iris Trial Update

On Feb 27, ONE WEEK AGO, this space posted a wish list for Adobe Product Bug Fixes and Feature updates. 

Part of that mentioned a trial for a product I was using, PsdAutosSaver by  I just got a notice that my ONE MONTH TRIAL has expired.  No problem but that is incorrect. It has only been one week.   Bug in the programming.  I was opening a photo from Lightroom to edit in Photoshop on my Mac and Photoshop crashed after getting the error message from Electric Iris.  I sent a crash report to Adobe and Apple.

I re-did the same sequence and Photoshop crashed again after getting the same warning from Electric Iris.  Being the sharp knife in the drawer that I am, I trashed the PsdAutosSaver program and VOILA, problem fixed.  Bug in the program.  I wasn't about to buy the program to continue to do the Alpha testing for the company gratis.

In the week that I was allowed to try PsdAutosSaver, the results were inconsistent.  Sometimes it saved a backup copy, sometimes it didn't.  If I worked on JPG, it would create a HUGE .PSD file that did not show my changes, so it does not do what I had hoped it would do.   If you are using Lightroom, backup files are automatically saved because when opening Photoshop from Lightroom,  it creates a duplicate file, leaving the original untouched.

Adobe, I still want an adjustable Automatic Autosave feature that allows me to set the timer from 1 minute to 30 minutes.  Default version is set to ON at 10 minutes.  Preference to adjust the timing or turn off if the Autosave becomes a pain.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Adobe has some serious bugs and performance issue in their flagship programs.  Providing feedback to them formally is a pain and always goes unacknowledged except for the user forums where comments go on forever it seems without resolution.  I had a clipboard issue that was one example recently.  I still get e-mails.

In any case, I am posting this in the hope that ADOBE actually trolls and finds this.  There are a lot of fixes needed on the MAC Versions.  Adobe needs to employ more programmers than lawyers!

Make your voices heard.  You are not alone.


SERIOUS Develop commands like Tone and Crop are still unstable and frequently reset on their own.

ANNOYANCE: IMPORT Preset - not a default.  Must always select. Easy to forget to set.  Why not a preference? Fewer clicks are better.

SERIOUS Synchronize is DYSFUNCTIONAL.  Major problems.  Bridge shows 102 photos.  Lightroom after SYNC shows 22.  I have NO TRUST IN THIS PROGRAM.

When Synchronizing, it shows only the new ones in the folder that were imported.  Should be an INTUITIVE button to show the entire folder contents.  ALTERNATIVE: HIGHLIGHT THE CORRECT FOLDER just synchronized in the TREE FOLDER PANE with BOLD YELLOW.  Don’t make me think about what should be obvious.

Should be an AUTO SYNC option in preferences.

Autosync is would be a nice feature.  A preference, prevents constant guessing of what updates were made.  Put a timer on and let it run at 3am.

PREFERENCE for Delete default.  DELETE from disk is not the default. Level of security should be selectable.  Fewer clicks are better.

Selections do not work properly
Selecting multiple photos and hitting the delete key, only selects one.  Must right click.  
Same with flagging picks.

To select the VIEW PICKS filter, you now need to click twice.  Clicking once does nothing

Folder structure collapses when changing or adding folder names, forcing retracing of a lot of steps.  Worse performance than 2.X

Use MAC Color Sceme on Folder Tree Structure.  I carefully color code my folders and in both Bridge and Lightroom, it is not shown.  Yet, in Photoshop, when I try to find a file, the folders open in all their relevant, colorful glory.  Surely the Mac / Adobe “Special Relationship should allow for this to happen.

Import JPEGs and convert to DPG: don’t give me an excuse and message that it was’t done.

Add to a given collection - quick, the B key is quick collection, what is the shortcut key to add to a SPECIFIC Collection?

Need one EASY shortcut key to go to Library, not compound.  How about L.  Change L for lights out.  Lights out should be FULL SCREEN slide show without the loading delay.  Current feature is of limited use to me.

Camera Raw updates not coordinated.  Despite having Lightroom 3.3, and CS5, Adobe  Updater still thinks I am out of date.

Keywording panel is too hard to customize.  I repeatedly need to fill in only a few fields but have to scroll all over creation.  How about “Right click and use check boxes for the fields you want to see.”

Explanation of creating a hierarchy needs to be better.  I have lots of creatures with Common names and Latin names and Adobe hasn’t made my life INTUITIVELY easier here.

Some Items are UN-LABEL-ABLE. Need to skip some and just remember the one that needed a label or rating.

VIEW /Sort View is a mess.  Buried many menu clicks deep, it should always be visable.  I frequently have to do sorts Ascending and Descending, by date and by filename.  Make Sort a different menu bar item and use checkboxes so we can do things quickly, not having to back in repeatedly. Fewer clicks are a good thing.

COPY TO AND MOVE TO should support longer lists of folders. ACDSee does this better, but they are flailing and uncommunicative as well.

Use MAC Color Sceme on Folder Tree Structure.  I carefully color code my folders and in both Bridge and Lightroom, it is not shown.  Yet, in Photoshop, when I try to find a file, the folders open in all their relevant, colorful glory.  Surely the Mac / Adobe “Special Relationship” should allow for this to happen.

Enable Mouse/Trackball wheel scrolling to go to next picture.

Using MAC OSX, switching to Lightroom requires going via Bridge, or other application.  Most of the time, my monitor 2 appears and not the main view.  Could be a video card issue.

Adjustment Brush wanted, not just in Camera Raw.  Dodge and Burn is messy and awkward.

Opening shots from BRIDGE, you can’t pre-determine where the picture will appear between two monitors.  Arbitrary and files can get buried and hidden.

INCREDIBLY, PHOTOSHOP STILL DOES NOT AUTO SAVE DOCUMENTS. Auto-update Open documents is a useless term.  AUTO SAVE OPEN DOCUMENTS is better, should be default setting.

I have NO IDEA what AUTO-UPDATE DOES.  It surely does NOT AUTO SAVE.  Deceptive name to the function. Electric Iris has a plugin ( but that is not the answer for a program that just celebrated its 20th ANNIVERSARY!

Monday, November 15, 2010


Gaps in features provided by Adobe mean opportunities for other Photo Software Developers.  Case in point, converting Color Negatives to Positives.  This Blog has posted articles on how to do this previously, but the process is not exactly easy or straightforward.  You need to fiddle a lot with getting the white point exactly right.

There is a program called Cyberview X that is bundled with Pacific Image Powerslide Scanners, but you cannot use it on an existing file that you copied from a negative.  I spoke to Pacific Image about this and they told me they have no intention of modifying the software to load existing files, it is only designed for scanning in progress using their scanner.

I bought a utility called Vuescan, but it won't do BATCH! Again, it is designed with the SINGLE PURPOSE of using with an ATTACHED SCANNER.  It has been upgraded since I got it, but for the purpose of converting an existing file, the process is NOT obvious with the new version.  All the elements seem in place, but just try and figure out how to get to it.

Some Lightroom Presets are free on the net but I was not happy with the results.

So here are the requirements:

Using an existing file of a color negative
  • Have a selection to convert by Film type (Kodak, Fuji, Agfa, etc will have different orange masks)
  • Convert to positive either in batch or singly.
  • Sell as a Lightroom Preset or Photoshop/Elements Plugin

With all the energies devoted to virus development, here is a clear opportunity to solve an existing problem that the "BIGS" don't want to touch.  What say you Vuescan, ACDSee, Alien Skin, OnOne and Nik?

Friday, November 12, 2010


Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is a fabulous tool but it must be configured properly to get the speed benefits.  Case in point: EXPORT PRESETS.  Remember in Lightroom, you create copies of your files by EXPORTING. 

EXPORT PRESETS can be very useful if you are dealing with many different requirements.  EXPORT PRESETS can be customized to:
  • Make batch changes in format to DNG
  • Resize your images for the Web or Email, 
  • Add Watermarks or any combination of the the above.  

When you are finished editing your next batch of photos in the Develop Module and you have selected the ones to export,  you click EXPORT and you are presented with the EXPORT dialog pane.  Presets are at the top left of the pane.   Adobe ships Lightroom with several factory made presets.  I chose For Email for this example.
A single click will being up selections that have been made.  

For some STRANGE REASON, Lightroom ships with ADD TO CATALOG Unchecked as the Default.  Why you would want your photos to be invisible to Lightroom is a mystery to me.  Be sure in all your presets, you CHECK the Add to This Catalog checkbox as shown below.  Lightroom will be VERY FRUSTRATING if this is not Checked and Saved properly.

In the factory preset For Email, you will see that the size is being reduced along with resolution.  However, I don't like minimizing the Metadata.  It strips out much of the Metadata that I painstakingly added to the the photos.

To modify the preset for our purposes, uncheck the Minimize Embedded Metadata box.

So save these settings as a custom preset, click on ADD at the bottom left.
The Naming Dialog will appear.  Enter a unique name for your preset and click CREATE.

Lightroom is capricious in where is puts your preset, so scan the list, it will most likely be in either User Presets or psa.lrplugin.  This is most likely a bug in ver 3.2.

You can organize your presets just by dragging them all to User Presets and they will be listed alphabetically.

You can RENAME your presets by RIGHT clicking on the preset.  You can DELETE or save updates from the same Right Click dialog.

The following was created using a preset designed to reduce the size and watermark for the web.
 The photo above is also available in our NEW T-Shirt Store!  Click here to visit our unique collection of Classic and Edgy shirts, many with a sense of humor.

Friday, March 12, 2010


The deadline for Workshop registration is now CLOSED.  CLICK HERE FOR THE ON-LINE DELIVERY OF THIS SEMINAR.  The Seminar at the bottom is still open.  Please e-mail for details of the next On-line Workshop.

Digitizing, Organizing & Protecting your Photos:  

This workshop will show you how to:

1.  Digitize your slides and negatives collection at home by using a Digital SLR to copy slides and negatives; 

2.  How to use Adobe Lightroom for organizing the archive and saving files in the archival DNG format; and, how to use Digital Asset Management (DAM) techniques for developing disciplined, searchable hard drives.  

3. Learn how to protect your archive by backing- up using a simple strategy of “3:2:1” by having three copies of each file, using two different media and storing one off site. 

 The three hour workshop is $65.00



















Sunday, March 28, 2010 2:00 - 3:00pm Seminar at Beneath-The-Sea Conference. 

La Paz, Mexico and the Sea Lions of Los Islotes. Meadowlands Exposition Center 


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Lightroom 3.0 Beta is Available

(Click on image to enlarge)

I live in Lightroom so this is a big deal.

According to Abobe:
Some of the new features included for you to play with in the Lightroom 3 beta are:

  • Brand new performance architecture, building for the future of growing image libraries
  • State-of-the-art noise reduction to help you perfect your high ISO shots
  • Watermarking tool that helps you customize and protect your images with ease
  • Portable sharable slideshows with audio—designed to give you more flexibility and impact on how you choose to share your images, you can now save and export your slideshows as videos and include audio
  • Flexible customizable print package creation so your print package layouts are all your own
  • Film grain simulation tool for enhancing your images to look as gritty as you want
  • New import handling designed to make importing streamlined and easy
  • More flexible online publishing options so you can post your images online to certain online photo sharing sites directly from inside Lightroom 3 beta (may require third-party plug-ins)*