Tag: post-capture processing

St. Catharines Photographic Club

On Tuesday of last week, I “opened the season” at the St. Catharines Photographic Club, St. Catharines, Ontario. With the Niagara Escarpment wine country and Niagara Falls so close, the topic of my presentation, ‘Landscape Photography as Artistic Expression’ seemed appropriate for a good many in the audience of about 75 or so.

From my perspective, we can be greeted with a beautiful scene in front of us and capture it in an ‘ƒ8 and be there’ way, but there is so much more we can do as artists to accentuate the scene. For better or worse, as photographers our ‘canvas’ (our viewfinder) is always filled with a scene. It’s a blessing as it gives us a starting point; but it’s also a curse in that we now must work hard to ensure all the elements contribute to the final photograph we see in our mind’s eye.

The Landscape Photographer's Toolkit - copyright Terry A. McDonaldEssentially, we are ‘assembling’ a photograph to represent our vision of the scene by using the various elements provided to us:

  • the Ambient Conditions provided by the weather, time of day and time of year;
  • the Aesthetic Elements of camera position, leading lines and other compositional elements; and
  • the Technical Controls at our disposal: choice of lens, filter, aperture, shutter speed; using a tripod, shooting in panoramic or making an HDR exposure blend.

But that only gets us as far as, what I like to call, a ‘machine file’ generated by the camera. From there, we continue our artistic explorations by applying ‘subtle and discreet’ post-capture processing techniques to further enhance and re-create the scene as we experienced it.

If all we do is reproduce what was there, are we truly adding anything of ourselves to the final work? This is the crux of my goal as a photographer: “to interpret the art inherent in nature’. Nature is spectacular just at is, but sometimes it needs some help to clarify and accentuate the beauty that exists. That’s where the astute and passionate eye of a photographer comes in. For me, the ‘interpretation’ is my take on the what nature provides as art for us everyday.

Overall, it was an excellent evening with many thoughtful questions from the audience. It was also great to see the level of involvement of many members and the high quality of images as evidenced by their website.

I hope to return to St. Catharines in the future to work with Club members on a landscape photography workshop or two. If that’s something you would find helpful – hands-on instruction in the field – then be sure to let the Club know. Alternatively, I am more than happy to lead small groups in ‘field and screen’ workshops where we spend the morning out shooting and the afternoon editing. Just drop me an email if you’re interested.

In the meantime – get out and get shooting. It’s autumn and the colours are arriving. And, if you get out early enough into the rural areas, you will capture some of the wonderful foggy mornings we’re having.

Adobe offers Lightroom 4 “Public Beta” for download

Lightroom 4 is out and earlier than expected. Mind you, it is just the “public beta” version which means it is not the final version and will benefit from the many bugs that will be discovered by the thousands of users.

If you are a casual user of Lightroom or have never used Lightroom – do not download and use Lightroom 4 Public Beta (LR4PB)! This version expires on or before March 31, 2012 as the final version will become available around then. In the meantime, I’ve been playing with this new version for a few hours today and like what I see. Major improvements include:

  • Book module using Blurb to create photo books
  • Map module using Google maps to geotag images
  • new process version – 2012- that offers a “new and improved” workflow (however, you can still, on an image-by-image basis retain Process Version 2010 if you choose)
  • soft proofing of files in preparation for printing (soft proofing allows you to see a facsimile of what a print will look like with a specific paper profile and colour space loaded)

This is just the beginning of the myriad updates and improvements. Over the next few days I will provide more detailed information, but for now, rest assured, that LR4 is not a revolution, but more of an evolution of features.

If you are interested, LR4PB may be downloaded from AdobeLabs at http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/lightroom4/. You will need an Adobe ID (free). LR4PB will not overwrite your LR3 files. It will create a separate folder for both the app and any catalogues you create. To make use of LR4PB, do not simply Add images from your LR3 Library. My suggestion is to:

  1. Select a bunch of images in LR3 that you’d like to work on in LR4PB;
  2. Choose File > Export as Catalog (making sure the check boxes at the bottom of the dialogue box are checked as for any Export to Catalogue). Save this catalogue temporarily to your desktop.
  3. In LR4PB, DO NOT choose File > Import from Another Catalog – it won’t work. Instead choose File > Import Photos and Video… Navigate to the catalogue you just made in LR3 (on your desktop) and select “Move” to move the photos from the catalogue to the location of the LR4PB Library : Pictures > Lightroom > Download Backups;
  4. Before you press “Import”, go to the Destination palette and choose Organize: By original folder. Everything will be moved into folders created by LR4;
  5. Once the import is finished, you can delete the temporary catalogue on your desktop as the photos (should) have been moved into place.

From there, you can play around with your images in LR4PB. Take note – whatever changes you make may not work with the final version of LR4 as Adobe reserves the right to continue to make tweaks which may render your images unreadable in LR4 Final. Remember, this is Beta version that is put out of Adobe for testing purposes. So don’t do anything “mission critical”. Do, however, have fun!