Category: Post-capture Techniques

Field & Screen #1 – A Sunny-Day Landscape from Killarney


Right-click and open this in a new tab to follow along.
Right-click and open this in a new tab to follow along.

Something I’ve wanted to do for some time now, is provide a “look under the hood” describing the photography techniques I use to make some of my photographs, both in the field and in post-capture processing on computer. This is the first, using a recent photo from Killarney Provincial Park in Ontario’s near north. I chose it because it was made NOT during the golden hours of sunrise and sunset, but rather in the mid-afternoon (2:39:57PM according to Lightroom!) when many people are active with a camera.

My wife Laurie and I had stopped for lunch on a quiet bay on OSA Lake – perhaps the most beautiful lake in Killarney with its vermillion blue colour. And, as you can see from the photo, it was a perfect summer day. What is particularly fetching about this part of Killarney are the white quartzite ridges of the La Cloche Range, the 2.5-billion-year-old eroded roots of mountains once higher than the Himalayas. As a photographer, it was the contrast of these rugged hills against the deep blue sky and lake with the rich green of the early summer coniferous forest that caught my creative eye. My goal in photography is to “reveal the art inherent in nature” and this seemed an ideal opportunity.

When working on any set-up, my mind is constantly going over four key aspects of photography – what I’ve come to call the Photographer’s Toolbox:

  1. How can I use the Ambient Conditions to my advantage? e.g. weather, time-of-day, season and lighting angle, quality and colour of light
  2. What Elements of Visual Design are at my disposal? e.g. foreground anchor, leading lines and pathways, shapes such as diagonals, S-curves, C-curves and triangles, camera angle (high vs. low), horizontal or vertical format and rule of thirds (or not!)
  3. What Technical Controls will enhance the scene before me? e.g. lens, filters, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, exposure compensation
  4. How might Post-capture Processing be used to reproduce what I visualized in the field? e.g. cropping, contrast, clarity, graduated masks, cloning, etc.

It works like a continually-scrolling flight checklist as I assess the scene and its potential, choose a location and camera angle, set-up the tripod, select the lens and settings on the camera and, ultimately, make the initial exposure and subsequent exposures as I assess the image on the LCD. Granted, the LCD is small, but it is better than what we had in the film days, which was nothing! I enjoy working with the LCD as it is reminiscent of my 4×5 days viewing the (upside-down and backwards) image on a ground glass.

Actually, the LCD plays a far more important role in assessing exposure. I’m a proponent of the ETTR method: Expose-To-The-Right, which I’ve written about previously: Exposure Part 1: M, A or…? and Exposure Part 2: All Hail the Histogram (both are PDFs of previous newsletters).

Ambient Conditions:  On this fine sumer day, I had a perfectly blue sky and high overhead lighting – not the ideal for landscapes – but I did have the colour contrasts working for me. The sun was behind me providing rather flat lighting, but again the colour contrasts help make up for it.

Elements of Visual Design:  The real work began with the all-too-common problem of landscape photographs: foreground. Although we often think of landscapes as being the “grand vistas”, every compelling landscape is anchored with a detailed foreground that invites the viewer to participate in the landscape. Without a decent foreground, everything else simply looks far away and unreachable. A detailed foreground also introduces movement into and around the photograph – very important if you want to keep the viewer’s interest for more than a few seconds.

In this case, there was some of the pink granite that also graces Killarney’s shores and ridges. But, the photograph needed something more to engage the viewer. Wait a moment… the canoe. I know, it’s a Canadian cliché, but at least it’s not red! Actually, if it was red, it may have been too much with the vivid blues and greens already present. Rather then “place” the canoe in the centre, it kept it to one side to create movement and on a slight angle pointing in the direction I want the viewer’s eye to follow. This is critical (and may sound contrived), but it is done all the time in art: subliminal pathways which cause the viewer to follow a certain path.

Snap 1
Snap 1 – Composition and Movement

In this case, your eye first lands on the bright bow of the canoe – the viewer’s eye always lands on the brightest part of the photo first. From there your gaze is guided by the canoe back to the ridges on the left, then it swings across the ridges towards the right, back down to the foreground rock then along the angled shoreline back to the canoe. The tree shadow in the bottom left helps to point your way into the photo again. You will notice the movement around the photo is clock-wise – a natural and intuitive movement for people. If I had placed the canoe on the right side of the scene, there would have been similar movement, but because we, in western cultures, read from left to right, your eye would not as likely be drawn to the empty left side of the photo.

When composing a photograph, work with the camera off-tripod. This gives you the freedom to move up-and-down, side-to-side, forwards-and-back to find the exact point, as American photographer Fred Picker once said, “where the scene is looking back at you”. For me, that’s when all the elements are aligned to provide a flow through the scene – difficult to describe in text (which is why hands-on “live” workshops are so helpful). I keep in mind the Rule of Thirds but work with it as a guide to remind me to keep things off-centre. Notice the horizon line, where the hills meet the lake, the foreground shore and the canoe itself – nothing is in the centre. This helps create the movement shown.

Technical Controls:  For most landscapes, I use a wideangle lens; in this case a 24mm ƒ2.8 Nikkor-D. With the camera tilted down and a small aperture (in this case ƒ11), everything from the foreground to the background will remain in sharp focus. I try to keep my aperture to ƒ11 as it is the “sweet spot” for this lens: it provides the maximum depth of field with the minimum softening of details due to diffraction (excessive bending of the light around the edges of a small aperture). I also used a circular polarizing filter. Often I don’t use a polarizer (a) with digital because the resulting blue skies are too saturated; and (b) with a wideangle lens because one part of the sky becomes more polarized than other parts. In this case, however, the polarizer pulled the greens and bright white quartzite from the hills and there was no obvious variation in the polarization from left to right (probably because the sun was directly behind me, lighting the sky more or less evenly).

I used the exposure recommended by the matrix metering in my camera, then reduced it by 2/3 of a stop. At full exposure, the canoe was showing blinking highlights on the LCD, telling me it was being recorded as pure white. Using exposure compensation to reduce the exposure kept those highlights in check. It made the rest of the photo appear under-exposed, but that’s irrelevant as it is easily corrected in post-processing.

Snap 2
Snap 2 – Original raw file with Exposure and Grad Masking

Post-capture Processing:  So here is the initial raw file opened in Lightroom. By the way – I use Lightroom for all my post-capture processing. I have yet to find a reason to use Photoshop except to blend images for focus-stacking or panoramas, neither of which I do much of.

My first step is often to click the “Auto” button, just to see what Lightroom does with the file. Its algorithms are usually pretty good, and while never perfect, they give me some ideas about how to adjust the image. Surprisingly, LR recommended increasing the White point, but then controlling the Highlights with reducing them. It may sound counter-intuitive, but LR “sees” the whites as the brightest 5%, and the highlights as the next 15% or so of the brightness scale. This tells me there was a little headroom to raise the Whites – a good thing for clean, crisp-looking photographs.

The opposite is true for Blacks and Shadows. There was room at the bottom to further drop the Black point. Raising the Shadows adjustment is always helpful for pulling detail out of the shadows. I raised the Clarity slightly to 10 as I found it gave better separation in the small wavelets on the water and better edge to the foreground rock. One thing you will notice (on the original LR view above) is that all my values are round numbers. I know I’m being pedantic about this, but I find the sliders to be ridiculously gross in their adjustments, therefore I use the cursor keys. By holding down the Shift key when “cursing” the values jump by 10 instead of 1. Rarely do I notice a difference of 1 or even 5, but, when I do, I use it.

Now for the adjustment masks and brushes. I use the Graduated Mask (M) frequently. I excepted to use it for the sky, but found that after the Tone adjustments, the sky was fine and natural-looking. I did add a Graduated Mask to the bottom 1/3 of the image, up to the base of the canoe. I often do this to help “contain” the viewer so they don’t go wandering out of the image. It is subtle (even subliminal), but it works. In this case, I adjusted the Exposure to –0.80. After doing so, the pink granite seemed a bit grey, so I increased the Saturation by 30. In this photo, there was no need for the Adjustment Brush (K).

Snap 3
Snap 3 – Cropping

Next, comes Cropping (R). For this, I made a Virtual Copy (Cmd+’), leaving the Master File as is – fully “processed” but uncropped. When envisioning this scene in the field, I saw it as a long and wide scene, similar to a panorama (2:1 ratio), but not quite, so  I chose a 16:9 ratio. Some photographers are loath to crop – I’m not one of them. I feel that the engineer who came up with the 3:2 ratio in the 1920s (Oskar Barnack of Leica cameras) shouldn’t dictate to me how the world should be viewed. I see in squares (1:1), sometimes in 4/3s (4:3 ratio), sometimes in 4×5 and sometimes in 3:2 as is the original aspect ratio of my camera. There are other times when the prescribed ratios just don’t work – and that’s okay, too.

Snap 4
Snap 4 – Spot Removal and Post-crop Vignetting

As I am working through the process, I am always looking for distractions that might catch the viewer’s eye, pulling them away from the point of the photograph. (I’m also looking for dust spots, usually in the sky, that need cloning out!) In this case, there are very few distractions, just some waves in the bottom right of the photo. I used the Spot Removal (Q) tool to clone three small areas as shown in Snapshot 4.

Lastly, I often add an Effect called Post-Crop Vignetting. This reduces the exposure in the corners and edges of the photograph. When used to a high degree, your photo can look like it was shot through a telescope. In this case, I want to apply just a little for the same reason as the bottom Grad Mask – to subliminally keep the viewer within the photo, away from the edges. It’s a technique that’s been used for decades – way back to the darkroom work done by Ansel Adams. When used correctly it is not overtly noticeable, but works.

OSA Lake and Killarney RangeSo, now it’s finished! Well, almost. Often, after doing some editing (processing), I will put the photo away for a while and come back to it a few days or a week later. With fresh eyes, I will often see something I didn’t notice before because I was too involved in the details of the image. So far, I haven’t done this; when I do, I will add those steps to this workflow and let you know.

Note: I’ve made a black-and-white version of this photograph which I think I prefer over the the colour. Here it is: you decide…

OSA Lake and Killarney RangeIf you have any questions about this process and/or the techniques used, let me know by adding a comment below. When looking through my photos either here, on Flickr or at, if you see one you are wondering about, suggest it for a future Before and After column.

If you haven’t done so already, be sure to sign up to be notified of additions to my blog. This can be done in the side panel to the right.

Thanks for reading!

Must see: “Time is a Dimension”

I love it when photographers venture into new territory and have the technical skills and vision to really make an impact. And it is important for every artist to constantly work towards renewal. Photographer Fong Qi Wei has produced a series of unique photographic collages, but rather than stitching together photographs taken at the same time, he combines images taken over a period of time. This is a must see for landscape photographers – something to try yourself. No doubt Fong had many technical and visual hurdles to overcome – and he does so with great success. Here is an example below – but do click through to his website for a more thorough visual feast.

Tiong Bahru Sunset, 2013. All Rights Reserved – Fong Qi Wei

Adobe users – consider signing this petition…

I know I’m late to the ball game, but hear me out…

My beef with Adobe is that their Creative Cloud license locks creative people into a perpetual (lifetime) licence if at any time in the future they wish to work on their art edited using an Adobe product other than Lightroom. Could you imagine any other artist facing this kind of brick wall? “Sorry, Mr. Bateman, but if you want to work up that sketch you did last year into a final painting, you will need to subscribe to our product first.” Or, “sorry, Mr. Part, but if you wish to re-work those choral pieces, you’ll need to buy into our product first.” Thank goodness LR5 is as good as it is for photographers, otherwise I would be jumping ship to Phase1 or Aperture!

Let’s face it, Adobe is screwing us. If we cave into this Creative Cloud licence and Adobe is successful at it, then we can kiss goodbye to the old model for software licensing. Every company will start forcing users into this “monthly rental” model rather than the traditional way of buying a copy of the software and upgrading on an as-need basis.

If you’re not familiar with what has happened, with the introduction of the Creative Cloud, Adobe has chosen to “rent” their software (e.g. Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, etc.) on a monthly or yearly subscription basis. As long as you pay the subscription fee, you have access to their products. Three months after to stop paying, the software stops working. If you choose to work on an image months later or a year later, you’ll need to subscribe again. Worse yet, if you fall on hard times, or simply retire at a lower income, and can’t afford the monthly/yearly subscription, you can no longer (that’s forever) work on the files you created with Adobe products. Yikes!!

Granted, Adobe’s software is designed for working professionals who can write off monthly business expenses. But not everyone who purchases Adobe products are working professionals. Those who cannot afford this monthy expense will now have to look elsewhere (go Pixelmator – bring on the 16-bit editing!!).

So… Derek Schoffstall of Harrisburg, PA has started an online petition in an attempt to create a groundswell of support against Adobe’s move. Here’s the link:

Adobe Systems Incorporated: Eliminate the mandatory “creative cloud” subscription model.

I would add to that a boycott of the Adobe Creative Cloud – here are some articles outlining alternatives:

This is a turning point amongst creative professionals and serious hobbyists. Do we cave in to the “Big Brother” model of total control, or do we find alternatives and politely let Big Brother know we won’t play by their rules?

Lightroom 5 Public Beta Announced

Last night I downloaded and started to “play” with LR5 Public Beta. It has some wonderful updates that will cause me to use Photoshop even less than I do now (about 1% of shots).

  • Advanced Healing Brush – Yaaaaaaah! Finally a brush rather than a spotting tool. This will greatly speed up the clean up of unsightly branches, grasses, power lines, jet trails, etc. It’s not quite as effective as content aware fill, but that’s not what I’m after as a nature and outdoor photographer;
  • Radial Graduated filter – a very helpful addition for when straight lines just don’t cut it
  • Upright – now, when shooting building, perspective control has become much easier – it really works!
  • Smart Previews – I keep all but my most recent files on an external HD. So if I am doing Develop module updates, I don’t need the external HD plugged in. Not earth-shattering, but helpful nonetheless.
  • Faster? – I’m finding Previews are much faster at loading and when zooming in but my fan runs more and switching modules is not quite as fast

There are a few more minor changes that you may or may not find helpful, but these are the major updates. In fact, this seems like more of an update than a new version.

I am looking forward to the final release as who knows what else Adobe might include. For now though – DO NOT DOWNLOAD THE LR5 PUBLIC BETA unless you are willing to create a new, separate catalogue with a few folders of images for testing. Tis is essential – you do not want to be working on your original copies as the changes may not translate exactly from the Public Beta to the Final release.

If you want to play around with the public beta…

  • read the Adobe release on the Lightroom Journal
  • download the LR5 Public Beta from the Adobe Labs page
  • create a new catalogue; I called mine LR5 Beta and put it in with my other LR catalogues in “Pictures” (WIN: My Pictures)
  • LR5 will copy your preferences from LR4 although it may not pick up your ID Plate;
  • when importing photos to this catalogue, be sure to COPY them (top middle) from folders that already exist in an LR4 catalogue with the Destination set to “Pictures > LR5 Beta”. I put them in a subfolder named for the year (e.g. 2013) and instruct LR5 to Organize “by original folders”

By following these instructions, you will now have a second copy of the original files: the original file is still in LR4; the second in the LR5 Beta folder. Tis protects your original just incase LR5 decides to hiccup or belch or worse.

To walk you through the updates, Julienne Kost has produced a few nice videos for Adobe. I can recommend them as great starting points.

Good luck and have fun!

Lightroom: There is more to print resolution than meet the eye

While surfing today (hey, it’s raining out, why not!), I came across an excellent article from last year by Lightroom guru Jeff Schewe that sheds an incredible amount of light and detail on print resolution. If you are printing your own prints using Lightroom then I strongly suggest you read this article and adjust your printing routine accordingly.

I’ll warn you, the article is 5 pages long and full of detail that just might cause some head-scratching, but persevere and you will come out the other end much more knowledgeable about printing.

Here is the link from the magazine Digital Photo Pro :

The Right Resolution

The conventional wisdom says set 300 dpi and forget it, but it turns out that there’s more to optimizing image resolution for fine-art printing

My First Canvas Print – Kilimanjaro

I have often toyed with the idea of having canvas prints made of some of my photographs. To me, canvases always appear to be decorative rather than artistic. However, that changed after seeing some of the work done by Gregg Parsons of Guelph. He is making exquisite canvas prints of his work and prints for others as well.

I knew i had the ideal location in our home for a canvas print and knew exactly which photograph would go there – a photograph I made of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. On our trip in 2007, we flew into Nairobi then flew on to Kilimanjaro International Airport in Tanzania. Well, that flight took us right by Mt. Kilimanjaro – the Kibo and Mawenzi summits in brilliant sunshine above billowy white cloud below. As we banked around the airport, a wonderful scene unfolded – the scene captured in the photograph below.

Amazingly enough, I had Gregg print this 5mp photograph, made through the airplane window, to 18″ x 46″ – and it turned out wonderfully well. The tone is perfect as are the subtle highlight details in the clouds. Many thanks Gregg. You can see Gregg’s work and find out about his canvas printing at


The Nikon D800e and ISO

In various reviews, one of the “jaw dropping” features of the Nikon D800e that has been identified is its amazing image quality, not just at ISO200 and 400, but all the way up to ISO 3200. I thought I would put it to the test under conditions that are, for a nature and landscape photographer, somewhat “normal” to ideal. Yesterday morning was one of those perfect early summer mornings with soft lighting and no wind. It would have been nice to have a little more dew, but hey, when it comes to nature, you take what you can get and say “Thank you!”

The photographs were made using a Nikkor 20mm ƒ2.8 AF-D lens mounted on sturdy Manfrotto 055 legs with a heavy duty head. They were exposed using mirror lock-up and an electronic release. They were shot at ƒ22 – typical for landscape work where I want everything from the immediate foreground to the “far hills” in focus. ƒ22 does introduce diffraction issues, but more on that in my next post.

The 100% crops were all taken from the centre of each frame as I am trying to show how the camera performs, not the lens. The 20mm is a great all-around wideangle – a focal length I love for landscapes – but it does have chromatic aberration issues in the corners that need a bit of TLC to correct.

Shown below is a series for each of the ISO200, 800 and 3200 shots. The images have been processed in Lightroom 4.1, all in the same way at default sharpening. The values are shown for each photo in theLR  panel at the right of each screen capture. You will see Full image views of each photo plus a view at 100% for the pixel peepers and a view at 50% for the realists. I then applied what I would call “appropriate” sharpening to each image to bring out its best qualities and there is a 100% view of each. Yes, the sharpening is different for each, but that’s what one would expect when working to achieve highest image quality at each ISO.

So, now you can be the judge. How well does the D800e hold up at different ISOs? While you can click on an image and scroll through the gallery one at a time, once you are in the gallery, you can also right-click on an image and select “Open Image in New Window” or “Open Image in New Tab”. That way you can do direct comparisons right in your browser. Alternatively, from within the gallery, you can right-click and choose “Save Image As…” (or whatever the equivalent is in Windows).

If you’re like me, you just might be somewhat astounded at what the D800e can do at ISO3200. Under ideal conditions (“normal contrast”, properly exposed images with no excessive recovery of lost detail in shadows which generates noise) and with appropriate sharpening, it is possible to achieve truly printable images at high ISO. In this case, “truly printable” includes large format prints as ISO3200 at 50% and even 100% is pretty amazing.

Nikon D800e – OMG!

Between household chores today, I’ve managed to spend some time working with the D800e photographs I made early this morning. “The sound of jaws hitting the floor” is an understatement. The results are fabulous – more fabulous than my Nikkor 20mm lens and more fabulous than the now apparent diffraction at small apertures with the Micro Nikkor 105mm. Oooops! What they’ve said all along is absolutely correct: the D800e will show all the flaws like you’ve never seen them before.

My shooting technique involves sturdy Manfrotto 055 tripod legs with a head heavy-duty enough for my 4×5 wood field camera. I religiously use mirror lock-up and an electronic release. I also expose to the right to drive exposure up into the most valued area of the histogram (so that signal is significantly greater than noise resulting in cleaner images once processed).

This morning was designed for nature photography – beautiful soft light before sunrise and after, with not a breath of wind. I could take my time to look and compose and look again then set up for the exposure. I didn’t use LiveView for focussing this time, but instead made use of the hyperfocal distance markings on the 20mm – the markings limited (up to ƒ11), but still helpful. I should have used LiveView for focussing the milkweed flowers with the 105mm as I notice I am few millimetres out of perfect focus.

Presented below are four photographs from today I’ve spent some time working on. They were processed through Lightroom 4.1 using any and all of the tools necessary to recreate the scenes as I experienced them and wish to portray them. They are not “finished” by any means; no doubt when I re-vist these photographs a week or a month from now, I will look at them differently and make the necessary improvements, but here they are as they exist now. While I’m not the expert in LR as are others like Michael Reichman, Jeff Schewe, et. al., as an LR Instructor at Mohawk College In Hamilton, I think I have a fair command of it. I have made various and best use of adjustments in the Basic Panel (including Gard Filters, Adjustment Brushes and Spot Removal as needed), as well as sharpening in the Detail panel and Lens Corrections built in for the Nikkor 20mm AF-D lens.

Paired with each photograph is a 100% crop of the centre of the frame. This will be useful for those interested in seeing what the D800e is capable of under near ideal conditions. I’ve provided the centre crop only as this is a review of the camera, not the lenses. That being said, the flaws with the 20mm including chromatic aberration towards the corners, become readily apparent. As well, the effects of diffraction begin to appear (as you will see in the milkweed flowers at 100%), but that’s for another post. In the meantime, have a look. If you want to see the photos at maximum size, when in “gallery mode” (dark screen), right-click and choose “Open Image in New Window” or “Open Image in New Tab”.

Cheltenham Badlands

Victoria Day holiday Monday started at 4:30am. A quick bowl of cereal was followed by a knock at the door. Kerry Little had arrived and we were on our way to the Cheltenham Badlands. Our goal was to be there before sunrise – no problem.

The day dawned clear with a slight and unexpected wind; the previous two mornings had been so calm. Oh well -not to worry – the rocks certainly won’t blow around!

Cheltenham Badlands are a small and rather unique feature along the Niagara Escarpment of exposed and eroded “red” and “green” Queenston shales. While you won’t find any hoodoos like there are out west (Alberta Badlands, Yoho National Park hoodoos and US Badlands), the colours, textures and contrasts of the undulations and hummocks are wonderful subjects in themselves. I prefer the subtle lighting of early morning before there is direct sunshine on the site, however, with a keen eye, dramatic photos can be made at any time of day and season.

I am still shooting with the D200 loaned to me by Kerry, and used a selection of lenses from both of our gear bags: 20mm, 50mm, 85mm, 105mm, 80-200mm and 300mm. I briefly used Kerry’s D3 to get a sense of the 20mm on a full-frame body – wonderfully amazing – I am so looking forward to working with the incredible perspective provided by a 20mm.

All shots were made on tripod allowing the use of small apertures for great depth-of-field. Shutter speeds ranged from a few seconds to about 1/40th. Most of the raw images were exposed-to-the-right creating distinctly washed out images that retained full detail without the spectre of noise in the shadows. Here is a “before” and “after” sequence, along with the histogram for each, to give you  a sense of how this works. After editing the colour version, I went on to create a black-and-white version that I also added some subtle brown/sepia toning to.

Lightroom 4 is truly a marvel to work with. I can be much more precise with the “processing” of each image, allowing me to recreate more precisely what I “saw” in the field. Besides the before-after shots, I’ve included a few other shots from the day.

Lightroom 4 is truly a marvel to work with. I can be much more precise with the “processing” of each image, allowing me to recreate more creatively what a “saw” in the field. Here is a selection of other photos from the day:

Lightroom 4 – Continued success!

I am certainly enjoying the new Basic panel of Lightroom 4. Yes, it takes some getting used to, but my results so far have always been an improvement over what I could achieve with Lightroom 3.

The biggest difference I find is how much more precise the adjustments are to specific tonal regions. The best example is in the Exposure adjustment – it really does a wonderful job on the mid-tones without adding highlight clipping with increases or shadow clipping with decreases in exposure. This is at it should be.

Furthermore, the Highlight adjustment does a superb job with the high 3/4 tones without introducing highlight clipping – again, wonderful. The same can be said with the Shadows – I can open up shadows very nicely and much more precisely than with LR3.

Something else I’m finding, is that LR4 is much better at handling slightly clipped Highlights. In typical Expose-to-the-Right fashion, when shooting raw I slightly clip my Highlights to achieve slightly greater dynamic range. LR4 tames those Highlights much more smoothly than previously.

As a result of these improvements, I find I am reprocessing more and more of my LR3-processed images (Process Version 2010) to PV2012. However, in doing so, I don’t like what LR4 does in attempting to match what PV2010 did. I found that I needed to “zero” the Basic palette adjustments (not the masks, though, not th lens corrections, so “Reset” is not an option) and start over. Not a problem as the results were better than what I had previously, but it does mean spending a few minutes tweaking the Basic adjustments. To do the “aerating” easily, I created a Develop Preset called “Zero after PV change” – one click and the Basic palette adjustments are zeroed and ready for me to work with.

One caveat – Speed: LR4 is slower on my MacBook Pro 2 GHz Intel Core i7 with 8 GB 1333 MHz DDR3 RAM. I notice a lag with switching modules which is annoying. Also, with some adjustments there is a lag.