I'm not very smart. But I pretend to be smart on the internet......

I'll admit it.  I find most of the controls in PhotoShop daunting.  There are only a few dozen that I like to use with any regularity at all.  I have to look up the steps every time I go to make a mask or invert a selection or whatever.  I've been working with the program since it came on to the market many years ago and the stuff doesn't stick.  When I do post production on most of my images I find good white points and good black points.  I try to find a pleasing color balance.  I try not to sharpen too much or with too heavy of a hand.  But if you were to ask me to make multiple layers and then use the path from one layer onto an inverted copy of another layer so you could do something tricky and fun with the alpha masks.......I would look at you like a dog trying to make coffee  (and I speak from experience since I've tried to train my dog to make coffee with no good results.....).

But I get away with being a photographer because I can keep pushing buttons till I get something that's close to what I want and you guys don't know how many buttons I've pushed or how many pleading phone calls I've made because you just get to see the small (1500 pixel) samples I've put on the web.  Since you can't quiz me I can look smarter than I really am.  Up till now.

Now I'm much smarter because I'm using Lightroom 3.0 for just about everything.  If the damn photo needs a layer or a layer mask with delta or omega masks I just use the  "remove" tool and use some other file that I didn't mess up on as badly.

This is not a review of Lightroom 3 but it's an admission that I am captivated by the presets that run down the left hand side column,  just to the left of the photograph.  My absolute favorite is "Old Polar".  I select that preset and everything gets much closer to my original vision with very little intervention from me.  One exterior construction scenes I prefer "direct positive"  because it makes my images saturated and meaty.

I still have to do a little work.  I take out a bunch of the orange color that "Old Polar" adds and sometimes I have to tame some skin tones when I notice that a preset crunches the clarity slider all the way over to 85%....  But largely I've come to see Lightroom 3 as pre-programmed fun.  A clever starting point.

Nice to take a break from the relentless oppression of having to be acceptably knowledgeable about PhotoShop.  It saves the brain cells I desperately need to use in learning Final Cut Pro.

The image above is of Jana from back in June.  I was working on a folder of images to give to Jana and I decided that I really liked this one a lot.  It was done in available light with a Canon 5d2 and the 85mm 1.8.  Can't tell you much more than that since I shot it in RAW and let Lightroom dance all over it.

It's been a rough week because I've been immersed in an annual report shoot that has been mostly about taking environmental portraits on construction and roadway sites.  The temperature and humidity have been very high and it makes the whole process very physical when we start dragging around 20 pound sandbags and 35 pound light cases.  Most construction sites are far from ADA compatible and our luggage cart is useless in a vast field of mud and rocks.  But the images have been great.  The client is great and the subjects have risen to the occasion.

Here's one bright spot:  I bought a used 20mm Canon lens a few months ago and last week I noticed that it had developed a very distinct rattle.  It wasn't just the aperture blades, something was moving around on the interior of the lens barrel.  I thought about repairing it myself but then I remembered how costly my last DIY repair became, over time, and so I took it into Precision Camera for repair.  They looked at it, logged it in and told me they would take care of it.  But I was shocked to get a phone call this Thurs. (one week later, exactly) telling me that the lenses needed a part, it had been ordered, it came in, the lens had been repaired, tested and was ready.  One week.  With a part order.  Amazing.  It's good to know a great camera repair shop.

Almost as much fun as playing with "Old Polar" in LR3.

One more week to go on the AR.  Hope everyone has a nice week.


Dave Elfering Photography said...

As always, thank you for the thoughts. I really do find your blog cathartic and helpful. Lightroom has made me a lot less apt to jump into Photoshop. It made shooting an event, processing 200 shots and uploading a much less time consuming process.

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