Tag Archives: south dakota

Before & After With Lightroom 5

During yesterday’s “Mastering the Lightroom 5 Develop Module” online class, we took a look at the power of RAW editing by working on an image that might not have been too inspiring straight out of the camera:

Sunset in the Badlands; as-shot image before processing.
Sunset in the Badlands; as-shot image before processing.

What I liked about the shot, though, was the light hitting the peaks and the clouds. This image represents a typical set of challenges in outdoor photography. Wide dynamic range between the sky and the foreground, mixed lighting between the sky (daylight) and the hills (shade), and low contrast overall.

We used the full set of tools in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 to adjust the RAW image, and then we applied Skylight Filter and Pro Contrast in Color Efex Pro 4 to make the final image pop. The end result is far more spectacular, and captures the feeling we had when we were actually there shooting this on the Badlands Photo Safari.

Sunset in the Badlands, South Dakota. Final image after processing in Lightroom 5 and Color Efex Pro 4.
Sunset in the Badlands, South Dakota. Final image after processing in Lightroom 5 and Color Efex Pro 4.
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Photo of the Day: Badlands Twilight

Last light in Badlands National Park, South Dakota. Nikon D800e with 70-200mm f/2.8 AFS G VRII Nikkor zoom. 1/8s @f/11, ISO 400
Last light in Badlands National Park, South Dakota. Nikon D800e with 70-200mm f/2.8 AFS G VRII Nikkor zoom. 1/8s @f/11, ISO 400 (click to enlarge).

When you shoot landscapes, keep in mind that sometimes the best light happens after the sun has already set. This image was captured about 2 minutes after sunset in Badlands National Park during my photo safari with Deborah Sandidge. High winds made a tripod mandatory, and I used mirror lock-up to prevent softness from mirror-slap. Although the original file wasn’t quite as spectacular, a quick trip to Color Efex Pro 4 brought this image to life.

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Breaking: One Space Now Open for South Dakota

 

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Due to a late cancellation, I’ve got an opening for my photo safari to South Dakota June 2-6th. I will be joined by Deborah Sandidge as a co-instructor for this immersive landscape photography experience in some pretty amazing environments.

In addition to photographing some amazing locations, we’ll also have classroom time, where Deborah and I will teach you the art of creative post-processing. We’ll cover black and white, HDR, and infrared photography. Speaking of IR photography, we’ll be bringing a few extra IR-converted cameras for you to use on the workshop!

If you’d like to join us, please visit the Luminescence of Nature Photography Meetup page.

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Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow


Custer State Park, SD. 5-shot HDR processed in HDR Efex Pro and Capture NX 2 (Click to enlarge).

Periodically, I like to go through my old images and re-process them; it’s one of the great benefits of shooting in RAW. Being able to work with my old images in new software really opens up some options that I didn’t even consider at the time I made the shot. I captured this image in 2005 while on a photo safari in South Dakota. At the time, I was shooting a new Nikon D2x camera and I had just gotten my 17-55mm f/2.8 AFS DX zoom Nikkor lens. I also had just upgraded to Photoshop CS2, which had a new feature: “Merge to HDR.” I thought HDR could be a cool thing to learn, so I shot a lot of bracketed exposure sequences during this 5-day trip. Many of them were uninspiring. Others, I found difficult if not impossible to process, and so I just processed the best exposure in the sequence with traditional techniques (that’s the nice thing about bracketing– you’ll always have at least one “normal” exposure).

The one thing I didn’t do, however, was delete the other exposures from the bracketed sequence. They’ve just been sitting on one of my 1TB hard drives, waiting for me to give them a second chance. Fast forward to 2011, and now HDR tools have progressed to the point where you can get great results quickly and easily. So, yesterday I went back and re-processed the HDR sequence in HDR Efex Pro and Capture NX 2, and I was quite pleased! Here’s what was in the new technology that I couldn’t get in 2005. Continue reading Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow

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