Thoughts on the art and craft of photography

pacificLIGHT photography


The Lightroom Range Mask

Revealing form and texture in your images

Road to Terrapile

For most of the time its been around, the local adjustment tools in Adobe Lightroom have paled in comparison to the power and precision of the comparable masking and adjustment tools in Photoshop. Lightroom’s attraction has always been its intuitive ease of use. The gap between Lightroom and Photoshop noticeably narrowed with the introduction of the Range Mask feature added to the local adjustment tools. It’s now much easier to quickly make very precise and refined selections for your local adjustments within Lightroom, and as is typical of Lightroom the process is simple and very intuitive.

In this video tutorial, we take a deep dive into using Range Masks with local adjustments in subtle ways to enhance three-dimensional form and texture in your images. In the video below explores the power of this powerful easy-to-use tool.

However, before we get to the video, this needs to be said: despite the power of these tools, they are just tools; incapable of any artistic expression on their own.

That's the photographer's job.

All the elements that make strong images must be present first: good visual design, light, and a sense of the moment. All this, or any other post-processing tool can do is refine what is all ready there

If you would like to learn more about using the tools to strengthen the visual elements of your images using the Range Mask and all the other tools available in Lightroom, check out my online course:

"After the Click - Refining Your Vision in Adobe Lightroom" on BPSOP.com:

http://bit.ly/2EJTEND

The next session starts on May 1, and every four weeks thereafter. I hope to see you there.

Lightroom: Basic Panel or Tone Curve…

What's the difference?
If you started your journey in digital photography using Photoshop, you like most others are likely familiar with the Curves Adjustment, and use it to adjust contrast, white point and black point in your images. Compared to Photoshop, Lightroom is a relative late-comer, arriving on the scene in 2007 (Photoshop has been around since 1990). So, it’s not surprising that when photographers move to Lightroom they tend to gravitate immediately to the familiar and use the Tone Curve for basic contrast and mid-tone adjustments.

That would be a mistake

A Simple Thought and the Forgotten -ALT


Sometimes the simplest things, the most obvious things, are the things of which we need to remind ourselves most often. A few weeks ago we had a brief break in our usually grey winter days here in Vancouver. By late afternoon I noticed broken clouds filling in on the horizon to the west; the kind of clouds that often produce some interesting sunset possibilities. So I headed down to a point of land a short walk from my home. I arrived there to find a group of photographers setting up for the approaching sunset; big tripods and long lenses everywhere. For me, there was also an obvious wide-angle composition; nice, but nothing out of the ordinary.

After working that for a bit, I moved on, eventually heading back to find the same group; still busy shooting the setting sun with long lenses. So intent on this one possibility, it was apparent than none of them had thought to look behind them at the incredible light developing on the harbour and distant mountain.

We all love to shoot sunsets, after all who can resist a spectacular sunset? The problem though, is that absent a defining landmark, most look like they might have been shot anywhere in the world. The first image above could have just as easily been shot on the coast of France, or a few hundred meters from by back door. Turning your gaze 180 degrees often produces more interesting results that say more about the place where you find yourself. The Light on the Land is often more interesting than the Light itself. It's always worth a look behind you before moving on to your next location.

The Forgotten ALT Key

Lightroom has become (as for many others), my primary image adjustment tool. I can’t imagine life without it. But when I get together with other photographers, I’m surprised to hear how few of them know of the hidden power contained within the -ALT key (“Option” on a Mac). Here are a few of my favourite -ALT key shortcuts.