A Moving Experience

By Mark

I hope everyone had a happy Easter.

Sometimes we take the basics for granted and need to take a step back in order to get our bearings.   Lightroom is intended to allow photographers to spend more time working with our pictures and less time trying to manage the computer storing them.   Often people who learned on other systems where they had to manage remembering where all the pictures are stored can be frustrated when they can’t find their images.  Here are a few reminders that LR has plenty of tools to help.  Let’s start with a few pointers.  It really doesn’t matter where your images are physically stored to LR. You can have images scattered across multiple external drives or CDs or other media.  LR is a database which tracks a pointer to the actual file, but what you see on your screen is a very small smart preview of your picture.  All of the editing details and the metadata are part of that database.  This is part of what makes it so fast; you aren’t actually doing anything to your image until you export it.  Everything else is pure math.   For convenience sake though we STRONGLY recommend that you keep all your images in a single folder. 

Let’s take a half step back first and look at some fundamentals of Navigation in LR.

The left side of the Library screen gives you your major organizational functions.

·       Navigator shows only the current selected image

·       Catalog shows the summary information for the current catalog as well as some of the most common tools such as Quick Collection and Previous Import

·       Folders display the physical locations for the images in your catalog

·       Collections represent your own choice for logical groupings of images in your catalog

Publish Services are predefined methods for sharing your images onto common Social Media platforms.

We are going to focus on the Folders Panel.    I keep my Pictures in a cleverly titled top level folder called Marks Lightroom Photographs.  

Below that level they are grouped by Decade, as I have a lot of old family photos and am the archivist for the entire extended family.  Within each decade I set up a new folder every year and then adjust my import preset to automatically add each download to a new folder.  For the record there is no requirement to do this.  LR tracks the data from the cameras and it knows when the images were shot.  This is just how I like to see them.

Occasionally folders will wind up temporarily in my C: drive.  It is a solid state drive and relatively small, so I try not to have any files or documents beyond the OS and program files stored there.  It slows down the drive.  Now if I were to go out to Windows and move them, then LR would lose track of them and I would have to re-link the files.  Fortunately that is not necessary.

All you need to do is drag those folders to the location you want inside LR.  It moves them and doesn’t lose them.

For this blog I moved two folders-03-31 and 04-05 onto my C: drive.  I just dragged them into my 2015 folder and problem solved.

Another common question is how to find where a picture is located when you are looking at it.  Pretty simple, just right click on the image itself and this menu will open up.  

You can choose to see the LR folder or have the location open up in Windows explorer.   That is pretty easy and pretty helpful.  

Funny Bunny Napkins

Funny Bunny Napkins

Fixing A Mountain

Roger and I have written before about periodically relooking at old images.  Since I have been preparing photos for synchronizing with the new LR Mobile app, I took the opportunity to do exactly that.  There have been some amazing improvements in RAW processing in LR and in Photoshop, which provide much more powerful tools to bring out the data in your images.   In parallel, while I was at Photoshop World, I really focused on taking classes which would impact my landscape work.  The great landscape artists, who taught there, showed off some very interesting new workflows which really added “pop” and focus for their images.  When Ben graduated from High School, we took a trip to Germany.  One of the most scenic places we stayed was Garmisch-Partenkirchen, right at the base of the Alps.  

Guest House Fraundorfer

Guest House Fraundorfer

The town hosted the Winter Olympics way back in 1936.  Looming over the town is the Zugspitze.  

Trams climb way up through the clouds from both Germany and Austria, providing an impressive view for anyone crazy enough to keep their eyes open.

Anyway, I found this really flat, image of the mountain and realized that this looked just like the starting point for several of the instructors images and that, with the new tools, I might be able to make a much more interesting picture.  

Zugspitze-Starting point

Zugspitze-Starting point

Beginning with adjusting the processing version to the latest version, provided new levels of control.   Next just adjusting the Black point of the image by holding down the Alt Button as you drag the Black slider to the left, really added depth to the image.  Since it is a landscape, one of the key tips from PSW, is to really crank up the Clarity slider.  As you can see, it is all the way up to +93.  Clarity is just the mid-tone contrast and it seems to sweep away a lot of the mist and haze in the photo.   I also pushed up the Vibrance and even the rarely used Saturation to restore the greens back to the trees. 

Basic Panel adjustments

Basic Panel adjustments

The sky still appeared washed out, so I applied a Gradient Filter from the top down.  I pushed down the exposure, the highlights and again cranked up the clarity.  This made the sky and clouds much more impressive.  In my memory, the effects restored the skies much closer to how I remembered them. 

Sky Gradient 

Sky Gradient 

Now it was time to bring out the details on the mountainside itself.  Using the brush adjustment tool, I adjusted the exposure, reduced the highlights and the shadows.  I then selected a “new” brush and adjusted my settings some and worked on the forest, until I was happy with the final results.  

Brush adjustments showing the mask overlay

Brush adjustments showing the mask overlay

I now think this formerly “blah” picture is one I am considering printing and framing.  

The Zugspitze- As It should look

The Zugspitze- As It should look