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Post-Storm Fort

One of the old concrete military installations at Fort Stevens, Oregon.

Last year our family visited Fort Stevens, Oregon, and explored some of the old military installments. At the time we were here the skies were stormy but there were some nice breaks in the clouds which occasionally let through some great sunlight. This photo is a result of one of those moments.

I processed this image using one of Trey Ratcliff’s new presets he’s made available for Lightroom users. I purchased the presets yesterday and have been having some fun. There are three groups of presets which can be purchased for about $10 each or you can grab the whole set for $19.99. If you use Lightroom and enjoy post-processing, grab the presets and have some fun!

Dodge & Burn: Photo Processing Ebook Review

Dodge & Burn - photography ebook by Piet Van den EyndeAny serious digital photographer (and even some analog ones) realizes that the in-camera capture isn’t the final step in creation of a photo; after capture there are post-processing decisions to be made about how to complete the image. Dodging and burning are two important processing techniques and Piet Van den Eynde’s new book Dodge & Burn: Leading the Eye with Lightroom and Photoshop explores this subject from a variety of angles.

There’s one big difference between Dodge & Burn and your typical Craft & Vision photography ebook: this one is offered in two packages. You can either buy the “Lite” option which contains the ebook along with a free “lite” version of EasyDodge, a custom Photoshop panel for easy dodging and burning. There’s also the “Full” package (which is what I reviewed) which contains the ebook and the full version of the Photoshop panel – we’ll get into the differences below.

Perhaps you’re wondering about the subject…

What is Dodging and Burning?

The author said it well:

If photography means painting with light, then dodging and burning is painting with light in post-production.

Don’t let the “post-production” there let you think this is something new… dodging and burning techniques were a staple of film photographers such as Ansel Adams. The book however focuses on the best ways to dodge and burn using Lightroom, Photoshop, and some plugins.

The Lightroom / ACR Scenarios

A tiered approach is taken to digital dodging and burning, looking at it first gobally across an image using Lightroom or Photoshop, then with local adjustments, and finally with plugins. After explaining the techniques in detail, the shortcut panel provided with the download is introduced.

For global adjustments, techniques are discussed for both Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw (included with Photoshop). While global adjustments aren’t really dodging and burning (which by definition is selective) it’s important to look at global exposure and contrast adjustments with respect to how they’ll provide a base for local changes.

As the discussion moves onto local adjustments, Van den Eynde focuses on two important tools within Lightroom: the graduated filter and the adjustment brush. Explanations of the analog past lead to how-to information for these digital tools. Unlike many Lightroom overviews or introductions, these tools aren’t glossed over or left at a superficial level… rather the author dives into the various nuances of each, explaining what some of those obscure switches and sliders do… and why you should care.

The explanations of tools and configurations are great, but what really makes this section work is a detailed, 17-step fully explained walkthrough of the processing of an image from beginning to end. It’s great to see what steps the author takes (and in what order) and what settings are used to produce a given result.

After exploring local adjustments with Lightroom, some discussion covers a few different plugins from Nik Software. Viveza and Silver Efex Pro are noted for their ability to do selective dodging and burning, but mention is also made of how Color Efex Pro has a great neutral density filter that’s a bit more full-featured than the one in Lightroom.

And Yes, Photoshop

After working through the Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw scenarios, attention is paid to Photoshop. I was pleased to see that the author isn’t a fan of Photoshop’s destructive dodge and burn tools, but rather uses an apporach involving layers and brushes which allows for finer control and the ability to make changes in a way that doesn’t destroy pixels.

Photoshop Panels

At the conclusion of the Photoshop portion of the book, the shortcut panels are introduced. Regardless of whether you have the “Lite” or “Full” package, you’ll get some tools for making easier dodging and burning moves. Buy purchasing the Full package, you’ll get the contrast and clarity portions of the panel that really add some nice effects.

Conclusions

Dodging and burning aren’t necessarily sexy topics like off-camera flash or HDR, but they’re an important pair of tools for a photographer. I found the material in the book to be a good foundation for post-processing and making interesting images. Like other Craft & Vision ebooks, it’s priced quite affordably. I recommend adding it to your collection of photography education materials.

Buy the Full version of Dodge & Burn using this link or purchase the Lite version of Dodge & Burn with that link.

As a Craft & Vision affiliate I get a buck or two if you buy via my links and that helps support my writing. Thanks!

Interesting Links Roundup: May 16th

As I wander the web I find interesting things. I share:

What have you seen lately that’s interesting?

iPhoto for the iPad: My Question (and Reaction)

Update: iPhoto was in fact announced. Further thoughts at the bottom of this original article.

Please do not handle.  At Pike Place Market in Seattle.Some well-reasoned pundit speculation about the hours-away iPad 3 announcement indicates we may see iPhoto announced for the iPad. You’d think I’d be all excited about that as a photographer, right?

I’m an Adobe Lightroom user who’s found the experience of editing photos on the iPad to be clunky, awkward, and slow. These problems weren’t because of software, but because a finger-touch system is a crappy way to make precise photo edits. iPhoto won’t fix that.

Why should I care about a system that will involve importing photos from some external camera device, editing them in a clunky interface, and managing them in a system which isn’t compatible with Lightroom?

What am I missing?

Update after the announcement: Apple did announce iPhoto for iOS (both iPad and iPhone). I might load it on my iPhone, but I’m pretty sure I’ll never really use it on the iPad. As I mentioned when I wrote this piece last night, the issue isn’t software – it’s hardware and workflow. I don’t capture images on my iPad… so if I’m going to spend the time to import images onto another device for editing, why would I import to the iPad (with a limited set of photo editing tools) instead of my MacBook Air (with Lightroom)? And when I’m done editing and want to share the photos online, would I rather do that from the iPad one-app-at-a-time interface where sharing/uploads are often clunky, or would I rather do that as a Lightroom export including the various publish services?

Interesting Links Roundup: February 16th

As I wander the web I find interesting things. I share:

What have you seen lately that’s interesting?

Interesting Links Roundup: January 11th

As I wander the web I find interesting things. I share:

What have you seen lately that’s interesting?