The Sunset I Saw

Often times when we are out taking photos the results we get in our cameras aren’t as vivid as we remember them.  It starts out when we look at the tiny LCD display on the back and seems to get worse when we download the images. It is critical to remember that your eyes have much better dynamic range than any camera yet available.  This is one of the reasons that proper use of HDR can bring out details in the shadows that otherwise are obscured.  This blog is NOT about HDR.  We are going to just examine some of the other things that we can do in Lightroom to make the picture match our memory.

Starting with the Camera Calibration panel, you can set a baseline for how your RAW image is displayed by selecting a Profile appropriate for your image. Your camera is already doing this for you in the viewfinder as it converts your data into a .jpg for display.

Portrait mode helps keep skin tones flatter, while the landscape mode enhances the greens.  Camera Standard actually knows what kind of camera you are shooting and sets it accordingly.  I prefer Adobe standard normally, but for this image the Camera version looked better.

Next, sunrises and sunsets, have lots of shadows. If they are too dark they will not print effectively, so you can adjust the slider to just bring the histogram out of the white triangle range.

Continuing in the Presence panel, the Vibrance and Saturation controls make universal adjustments.  You can make bigger changes to Vibrance as it impacts the midtowns only than you can with the Saturation slider.  It quickly makes your picture appear bandy and weird looking.

Finally, down in the HSL/Color/B&W panel you can carefully target specific colors which you want to enhance or reduce.

The After image looks much more like that lovely setting sun over the Northern Neck of VA.