Some hate sitting at a computer working on images, which is a dislike I can understand in the context of time, and the value of time. However, it is this very aspect that completes the circle for me, and affords an additional layer of artistic expression to any given image. Do you think Ansel Adams would give his negative to someone and say here, go make a print for me? It is the creative element of photography that lures me and excites me. I enjoy the natural world and being thoroughly immersed in it, but it is the desire for creativity that keeps me inspired. The universal art of my youth keeps leaking out.
The fast, localized image adjustments, in a simple format made me a convert to Lightroom. While similar artistic effects could be applied in Photoshop, the process was far more complex, time consuming and data intensive. This image of a rearticulated whale skeleton was made on an overcast and very moody day, lending to the somber reality of what happened to the Blue whale during the commercial whaling era. (For an interesting read on the subject of whaling, I’d recommend Ahab’s Trade: The Saga of South Seas Whaling.)
The earth’s largest mammal, at a population of nearly 300,000 animals in pre-whaling days was reduced to 1,000-2,000 prior to controls placed on the whaling industry in the 1960’s. Wow! That is hard to believe. In my “grading” process to this image (See my previous post for some RAW work flow terminology) I tried to convey a sense of retrospective peril, through shadow and contrast.
Below are examples of the original capture and my brush painting local adjustments in Lightroom (that would be similar to the dodging and burning in the darkroom days). Other “global” adjustments (as noted at the bottom), are applied along the way but the brush strokes are easily seen by the red mask. The brushed areas can include any of the following adjustments: exposure, brightness, contrast, saturation, clarity, sharpness or color. Of course, you won’t know the individual combinations but you at least get the idea.
So, below is the original capture as a RAW file without any adjustments. Rearticulated whale skeleton, Port Lockroy, Wiencke Island, Antarctica. Canon 5D Mark II, 16-35mm f/2.8L, 1/80 sec., @ f/13, ISO 200
List of additional “Global” adjustments in Lightroom:
Temperature: warmed from 5450 to 6208
Brightness: +59 (default 50)
Contrast: +54 (default 25)
Vibrance: +17 (default 0)
Saturation: +18 (default 0)
Red Chromatic Abberation: -12
Graduated filters: 2 (local adjustments)
Brushes: 6 (local adjustments)
The final version and I added the other one right below for easier comparison.