Monday, 14 September 2009

Lightroom

The weekend before last we went to Regent's Park, a beautiful park here in London. It was a spectacular day. The sky was deep blue, the sun was shining, and the breeze was blowing. Once you enter the park, you completely forget that you're in a massive city like London. It's easy to forget how squished and hot and miserable you just were 10 minutes before on the tube with a bazillion other people rushing to get to who knows where when you're surrounded by manicured rose gardens, wildflower meadows, ponds with little bridges, and hints of fall on the leaves. Fall is my favorite season, but unfortunately we live in a city where, as much as it has to offer, is somewhat seasonless and where fall color sightings are scarce. I noticed it here, though, sneaking up the tips of leaves on trees in Regent's Park. I kept looking up as we walked past trees to see which ones were starting to change color. I took a handful of pretty pictures in the park, but this one's my favorite because you can see the seasons starting to turn as the sun peaks through the leaves. Above is how it really was: vibrant green with hints of chartreuse-yellow and brown. And below is however I'd like it to be with Lightroom2.

Berry bright.
Deep and dark.
Honey dipped.

Aren't they pretty? I really only fooled around with the hue and saturation, but simply doing that changes the mood pretty dramatically. So much more could be done with them, but just altering the colors a little is fun. In the past I would post my pictures after sharpening or enhancing the colors a bit with the very basic tools built into iPhoto, changes that were hardly noticeable. For a while now, though, I've been wanting to get some photo editing software. We all know Photoshop is the gold standard, but between the hefty $700 price tag, and the fact that I wouldn't use half the tools, I kept putting it off. A few months ago I read about Photoshop Lightroom and thought it might be just what I needed. After using the trial version, I decided it was perfect for me. I really just wanted to be able to adjust and enhance certain elements beyond what iPhoto would do and keep my pictures organized, and Lightroom does those two things really well. (I know there are some good free image editing programs out there, too, like Gimp, but I hope to upgrade to Photoshop one day, so I wanted to keep it in the family since the two programs can work in conjunction with each other.)

So far most of the pictures I've processed in Lightroom aren't too much different than the originals. The changes I've been making to my pictures lately have been subtle--enhancing the green of the grass, the blue of the sky, etc., but I wanted to show you a little comparison so you could see how fun it can be. Also, I've been shooting in RAW mode, which I didn't really fully understand until I started playing around with images in Lightroom. Rather than me ramble on about that, you can read about RAW here.

If you're interested in Lightroom, you can download a trial version. I'd recommend watching a few tutorials, including ones that cover the library module, or buying a book to help you along. I skipped over reading anything about the library module and dove right into the develop module after importing a ton of images, and now I have a disorganized mess to sort.

Also, If you're like me and interested in getting better at photography yourself, especially for blogging purposes, Alicia has some great posts about her experiences, both with a point and shoot and now a dSLR. Her blog, her pictures, and her posts about photography are always inspiring to me.

2 comments:

Amy said...

I think the original photo is beautiful! I love the light on the leaves. Also, I have to say, you are a better photographer than someone I know that does this as their profession! I am totally impressed with all the pics on your blog.

Delly new blog said...
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