Adobe introduce Lightroom mobile

 As mentioned in my earlier post regarding Lightroom 5.4 Adobe have included one new feature. Actually, to suggest one new feature is a tad unfair, especially since it opens the door into a completely new digital photography workflow. This new workflow is made possible by a new free iPad application called Lightroom mobile, which enables you to carry out a small subset of the tasks normally undertaken in Lightroom desktop then sync theses back to your desktop catalog. For example,

  • access images in your main desktop Lightroom catalog
  • make selects or reject photos
  • apply develop presets
  • refine your existing develop adjustments using all your favourite adjustments from the Lightroom desktop Basic panel, including Highlights, Shadows, and Clarity
  • import new photos directly from the camera roll (Note: direct import does not support raw files)

Lightroom mobile utilises Smart Previews (sometimes referred to as proxy files) created within your Lightroom desktop catalog to provide raw editing functionality on your iPad. First introduced in Lightroom 5 beta, Smart Previews are:

  • based on the DNG file format
  • limited to 2560 pixels on the long edge
  • lossy smaller versions original raw files
  • can be used to make develop adjustments even when the original files aren’t available locally
  • develop adjustments made to Smart Previews are applied to the original when the original files are available

Above are the aspects of Lightroom mobile that Adobe and many reviewers will likely play up, and again to be fair, they are generally deserved of praise. However, there are some very significant limitations to Lightroom mobile, which might cause some users to take a less positive view than Adobe would wish. For example, this initial version doesn’t support rating or labels. Nor does it support any form of metadata editing (i.e. basic metadata can be displayed but not applied or edited). I expect these will be addressed in future versions.

Other limitations or pain points are:

  • Adobe only support iPad 2 and higher at present. An iPhone version will likely follow later this year. I’ve not been advised what future plans might hold for Android devices.
  • It’s necessary for you to sign up to one of the various Creative Cloud (CC) options. Without CC the iPad application is little more than a desktop ornament. While the cost of the Photoshop Photography program at $10 per month is actually pretty good value many potential customers will likely reject Lr mobile simply because they’re unwilling to enter into any form of software subscription plan.
  • Sync speed between the desktop and iPad is heavily dependent on your internet connection (i.e. there is no peer-to-peer option). So, folk with a slower internet connections will find that the sync takes a lot longer than they’re prepared to wait. For example, the best I can achieve with about 350kbs upload bandwidth is to sync a collection of 200 images in approximately 1 hour 50 minutes. Users with much faster connections are reporting a similar number of images being synced in 10 to 15 minutes.
  • With version one of Lr mobile it’s only possible to sync with one Lightroom desktop catalog. If you try to sync with a second desktop catalog Lr mobile will warn that the previous synced catalog and images will be removed from the iPad and Creative Cloud.
  • The last pain point I want to mention is one that has the potential to effect everyone. It’s a very basic flaw in the sync workflow that could so easily have been avoided. Alas it wasn’t, and I suspect there will be many angry users as a result. Basically, when you sync a collection the images are uploaded to the Creative Cloud, but unless you’ve set Lr mobile on iPad to use offline editing the cloud is as far as they go. Sure the iPad will display the first image from your collection  along with an indication that the collection contains X number of images, but that does not mean the images have actually been downloaded to your iPad. Furthermore, there is no visual warning to let you know that you can do little to nothing when you disconnect or loose the internet connection. Therefore, if you know that you will lose the internet connection when you leave home/office then its’ best to activate the ‘Enable Offline Editing’ feature from the collection context menu (i.e. tap on the three dots badge in bottom right corner of collection image). This way the proxy files used by Lr mobile will be downloaded to your iPad. However, for this took work successfully the iPad must be configured such that it doesn’t sleep when the cover is closed, etc. This particular behaviour only serves to demonstrate how little attention was paid to offline editing. As an alternative to setting offline editing to on you can loupe through the collection while connected to internet thus downloading the proxy files to your iPad. Obviously, this method is a lot more time consuming. So, best you activate offline editing mode

I have laboured the last point because I’ve made the mistake myself on at least two occassions and ended up getting no work done. It was not a pleasant experience the first time, and even less so the second. So, be warned.


How to get started with Lightroom mobile

1. Download Lightroom 5.4 from adobe.com

Lightroom mobile is a companion to Lightroom desktop, and is the first version of Lightroom desktop that includes the ability to sync images to Lightroom mobile. You can update to the latest version of Lightroom 5 using either the Creative Cloud app on your desktop computer or by clicking on the Lightroom  “Help-> Check for Updates” menu option.

2. Sign In

Lightroom mobile utilises Adobe cloud services to sync Smart Previews and changes between Lightroom desktop and Lightroom mobile. Lightroom mobile requires a qualifying Creative Cloud or Photoshop Photography Plan subscription. These include:

  • Photoshop Photography Program
  • Creative Cloud complete plan
  • Creative Cloud Student and Teacher Edition
  • Creative Cloud for teams complete plan

A free 30-day trial of Lightroom mobile is available.

To sign in you must open the new panel hiding within the Lightroom identity plate. This panel also serves as an indication of sync progress.

3. Sync a collection

Lightroom mobile is organised around Collections. Images within Collections will be synced to your iPad and be available in Lightroom mobile for editing.

To sync a collection – click on badge to left of collection name

4. Download Lightroom mobile

Visit the Apple App Store using your iPad and download Lightroom mobile. Once you login with the same Creative Cloud account as your desktop computer, you’ll see all of your synced Collections.

Lightroom mobile logon screen

Synced collection

In above example, I have synced 50 images from a collection held on my desktop computer. Using the normal iPad gestures (i.e single tap on collection image)  I was able to open into a view that shows all of the images making up the collection (Grid view).

A single tap on any image within the Grid view will open that image into Loupe view. In Loupe view it’s possible to Pick and Reject individual images (sweep finger up is used for Pick and Down for Reject).

In above example, you’ll note the histogram on top right and a row of four buttons along the bottom. The buttons from left to right are: Filmstrip, Develop adjustments, Develop Presets, and Crop. I’ve included a screenshot for the Develop adjustments, presets and crop below.

Develop Adjustments

Develop Presets

Crop image

In addition to features outlined above it’s possible to import images directly from the iPad Camera Roll. Unfortunately, due to iOS limitations raw is not supported. It’s also possible to present your images as a slideshow.

Lightroom mobile also includes support for sharing your work using social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

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Adobe release Lightroom 5.4 and Camera Raw 8.4

Adobe have today released the final versions of Lightroom 5.4 and Camera Raw 8.4. Both have a bunch of  bug fixes, but more importantly they also include new features. I had discussed the new features included in Camera Raw when a preview version was released back on 21 February.

The goal of Lightroom 5.4 is to provide support for Lightroom mobile, which I will discuss separately, additional camera raw support, lens profile support and address bugs that were introduced in previous releases of Lightroom.

New Camera Support in Lightroom 5.4

  • Canon EOS 1200D (REBEL T5, KISS X70)
  • Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II (*)
  • Casio EX-100
  • DJI Phantom
  • Fujifilm X-T1
  • Hasselblad H5D-50c
  • Hasselblad HV
  • Nikon 1 V3 (*)
  • Nikon COOLPIX P340
  • Nikon D3300
  • Nikon D4S
  • Olympus OM-D E-M10 (*)
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS40 (DMC-TZ60, DMC-TZ61)
  • Phase One IQ250
  • Samsung NX mini (*)
  • Samsung NX30
  • Sony Alpha a5000 (ILCE-5000)
  • Sony Alpha a6000 (ILCE-6000)

Bugs Corrected in Lightroom 5.4

  • When switching to the Book module with images selected, a ‘Gathering Photos’ message would appear and stay persistent.
  • On Mac Lightroom activity, such as an export, did not prevent the computer from sleeping.
  • In the Develop Module, the ‘Settings > Crop as Shot’ menu item did not properly reset orientation.
  • In the Develop Module and when applying Grain, occasionally vertical artifacts would appear along the bottom edge of a photo.
  • In the Develop Module, there is a slight delay before the Histrogram is available for adjustments.
  • Lens profile corrections for the iPhone 5 would not be selected when using the ‘Auto’ Lens profile correction feature in the Develop module.
  • In the Develop Module, Scrubby Adjustments on Adjustment Brush Pins did not work as expected.
  • Syncing of spot removals was not consistent from image to image.
  • Exporting a scaled image to PSD would sometimes cause the watermark to be displayed incorrectly.
  • When Don’t Enlarge is on in Export, image was not resized, even when making image smaller.
  • Sharpening/Noise Reduction were applied inconsistently depending on crop and export image size.
  • Luminance of exported file differed noticeably after crop.
  • When adding keywords on Import, Import begins at once when keywords entered with ‘enter’ key <Win only>
  • In the Import dialogue, Loupe view occasionally did not work.
  • When using the “Edit in Photoshop” feature in Lightroom, the Smart Object filter mask was sometimes not previewed correctly within Lightroom.
  • When creating a new Collection inside of a Collection set, the default option for Location was the parent of the selected collection set and not the selected collection set.
  • Upload via publish does not prevent computer from sleeping, and upload fails if computer sleeps.
  • When playing a slideshow comprising TIF or JPEG images, occasionally the slideshow would appear pixelated.
  • The color profile of a photo was incorrect when playing slideshow in full screen mode.
  • When using a video export preset, develop settings were not applied to all images.
  • Smart preview indicator under Develop histogram displayed the wrong number when multiple photos were selected.

Download links

Windows download
Mac download 

Camera Raw 8.4

As with other versions of Camera Raw within the 8.x release Photoshop CS6 is supported. However, the new features summarised below are limited to Photoshop CC.

Camera Raw 8.4 is now available as a final release for Photoshop CS6 and Photoshop CC. This release provides new features including new preview controls, red eye correction for pets and updates to Local Corrections. In addition, this release also includes bug fixes, support for new cameras and new lenses.  Camera Raw 8 for Photoshop CS6 only include new camera support, lens profile support, and bug fixes. The new features listed in the release notes are only available in Photoshop CC.

New Features:

Updates to the Preview Controls. The main idea is a simple “Before/After” set of image settings. Details:

  • The Preview checkbox has been replaced by three buttons in the bottom-right of the ACR main dialog. From left to right, they are:
  1. Mode: Click this button to cycle through left/right and top/bottom side-by-side and split view modes. Click-and-hold this button to bring up a popup menu for directly choosing Preview modes and accessing the Preview Preferences. Keyboard shortcut: Press Q to cycle through the Preview modes.
  2. Swap: Click this button to swap Before/After settings. Keyboard shortcut: Press P to swap Before/After settings for the primary selected image only; press Shift-P to swap Before/After settings for all selected images.
  3. Copy: Click this button to copy the After settings to the Before settings. This is useful for establishing a temporary “checkpoint” for your image editing session. Keyboard shortcut: Press Option-P to copy After settings to the Before settings for the primary selected image only. Press Shift-Option-P to copy After settings to the Before settings for all selected images.
  • The After preview image always reflects the current slider and tool settings (White Balance, Exposure, etc.).
  • The standard single-image view always shows the After state.
  • In the side-by-side and split-view modes, the Before settings are always shown on the left or top, and the After settings are always shown on the right or bottom.
  • The Preview Preferences dialog supports customizing the Preview modes used for cycling and some drawing options.
  • When using any tool other than Zoom and Pan (hand) in a side-by-side or split view, changes are only allowed on the After view. Using the Crop tool will put you back into the standard single-image mode.
  • Zooming and panning on one view will automatically zoom and pan the other.
  • Pet Eye correction: The Red Eye tool can now correct bright pupils in animals. Details:
  • Select ‘Pet Eye’ from the new drop down menu in the Red Eye tool to fix pet eyes.
  • Add catchlights to Pet Eye corrections using the ‘Add Catchlight’ checkbox (enabled by default).
  • Reposition catchlights to create a more natural look by dragging within the overlay that surrounds the catchlight.

Changes to Local Corrections:

  • Added a mechanism to quickly reset all local correction sliders (Temperature,
  • Exposure, etc.) to zero: right-click on a local adjustment pin and choose “Reset
  • Local Correction Settings” from the context menu. Another way is to click on a local adjustment pin, and then choose “Reset Local Correction Settings” from the flyout menu.
  • Added “Fill Image” to context menu for Radial Filter. Right-click on a radial filter adjustment pin and choose “Fill Image” from the context menu to resize the radial filter to cover the image area. (Shortcut: double-click inside the ellipse overlay for a radial filter adjustment to accomplish the same task.)
  • Added “Check All” and “Check None” buttons to Synchronize, New Preset, Save
  • Settings, and Copy/Paste (Bridge) dialog boxes. These are shortcuts for checking all/none of the check boxes.
  • Added keyboard shortcut: When using the Crop Tool or Straighten Tool, press the X key to flip the crop aspect ratio (landscape to portrait, portrait to landscape).
  • Added explanatory note to Lens Correction “Profile” panel to indicate when builtin (metadata-based) lens profiles are automatically applied to the image.
  • Added context menu to Histogram pane. The context menu can be used to enable Lab color readouts, even when the Workflow Options are set to another color space (such as Adobe RGB). The context menu and also be used to toggle the shadow, highlight, and gamut clipping warnings.

 

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Adobe release public beta of Camera Raw 8.4

Adobe have just release a public beta version of Camera Raw 8.4.  A host of new features have been added, and Adobe are keen to read your thoughts on same.

Even though Camera Raw 8.4 is compatible with Photoshop CS6 and CC the new features are only available to users of the latter. Bug fixes are available to both sets of users.

Camera Raw 8.4 – Before and After Previews

The following preview preferences, which are accessed from the Preview Menu have been added:

  • The Preview checkbox in earlier versions of ACR has been replaced by three buttons in the bottom-right of the ACR main dialog. From left to right, they are:
  1. Mode: Click this button to cycle through left/right and top/bottom side-by-side and split-view modes. Click-and-hold this button to bring up a popup menu for directly choosing Preview modes and accessing the Preview Preferences. Keyboard shortcut: Press Q to cycle through the Preview modes.
  2. Swap: Click this button to swap Before/After settings. Keyboard shortcut: Press P to swap Before/After settings for the primary selected image only; press Shift-P to swap Before/After settings for all selected images.
  3. Copy: Click this button to copy the After settings to the Before settings. This is useful for establishing a temporary “checkpoint” for your image editing session. Keyboard shortcut: Press Option-P to copy After settings to the Before settings for the primary selected image only. Press Shift-Option-P to copy After settings to the Before settings for all selected images.
  • The After preview image always reflects the current slider and tool settings (White Balance, Exposure, etc.).
  • The standard single-image view always shows the After state.
  • In the side-by-side and split-view modes, the Before settings are always shown on the left or top, and the After settings are always shown on the right or bottom.
  • The Preview Preferences dialog supports customizing the Preview modes used for cycling and some drawing options.
  • When using any tool other than Zoom and Pan (hand) in a side-by-side or split-view, changes are only allowed on the After view. Using the Crop tool will put you back into the standard single-image mode.
  • Zooming and panning on one view will automatically zoom and pan the other.

Pet Eye Correction

  • The Red Eye tool can now correct bright pupils in animals. Select ‘Pet Eye’ from the new drop down menu in the Red Eye tool to locate and fix pet eyes.

Local Correction Changes

  • Added a mechanism to quickly reset all local correction sliders (Temperature, Exposure, etc.) to zero: right-click on a local adjustment pin and choose “Reset Local Correction Settings” from the context menu. Another way is to click on a local adjustment pin, and then choose “Reset Local Correction Settings” from the flyout menu.
  • Added “Fill Image” to context menu for Radial Filter. Right-click on a radial filter adjustment pin and choose “Fill Image” from the context menu to resize the radial filter to cover the image area. (Shortcut: double-click inside the ellipse overlay for a radial filter adjustment to accomplish the same task.)

Other Features

  • Added context menu to Histogram pane. The context menu can be used to enable Lab color readouts, even when the Workflow Options are set to another color space (such as Adobe RGB). The context menu and also be used to toggle the shadow, highlight, and gamut clipping warnings.
  • Added “Check All” and “Check None” buttons to Synchronize, New Preset, Save Settings, and Copy/Paste (Bridge) dialog boxes. These are shortcuts for checking all/none of the check boxes.
  • Added keyboard shortcut: When using the Crop Tool or Straighten Tool, press the X key to flip the crop aspect ratio (landscape to portrait, portrait to landscape).
  • Added explanatory note to Lens Correction “Profile” panel to indicate when built-in (metadata-based) lens profiles are automatically applied to the image.
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George Jardine Posts New Adobe Camera Raw 8 Video Workshop

 George Jardine has recently published a new series of video tutorials for Adobe Camera Raw.

This set of 25 all-new video tutorials contains over 4.5 hours of the most comprehensive training available on the Camera Raw 8 Photoshop Plug-In. In this series George covers the raw processing controls from top to bottom. Starting from the ground up, he guides you through a complete understanding of each and every control.

In addition to basic adjustments, George also covers important details no other videos touch, such as the intricate relationships between the local and global adjustments, how Smart Objects work, as well as a deep dive on working with RGB files.

The tutorials cost $29.95, which is very good value considering the amount of information George provides. A free sample video can be viewed on line. This is an excellent indication of the quality and depth of detail George shares with his viewers.

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Adobe release Lightroom 5.3 and Camera Raw 8.3

Adobe has just released the GM versions of Lightroom 5.3 and Camera Raw 8.3. If you have been using the release candidates that went live in early November you’ll already be familiar with most of the new features. Lightroom 5.3 is primarily a bug fix version but also includes support for new camera models.

Downloads for Lightroom 5.3  can be obtained from:

To obtain Camera Raw 8.3 you should use the Update feature with Photoshop CC

New Features

The new features in Camera Raw 8.3 include the following:

  • Auto straighten: You can automatically straighten a picture in three ways: (1) double-click on the Straighten Tool button icon in the toolbar, (2) with the Straighten Tool selected, double-click anywhere within the preview image, and (3) with the Crop Tool selected, press the usual command key (on Mac) or control key (on Windows) to temporarily switch to the Straighten Tool, and double-click anywhere within the preview image.
  • Whites and Blacks now support Auto Levels-like functionality via shift-double-click on the sliders.
  • Added separate Auto Temperature and Auto Tint feature. Shift-double-click to invoke “auto temperature” and “auto tint” separately.
  • Added feature to set the background color of the work area and toggle the visibility of the hairline frame around the image. Context-click outside the image in the work area to select an option from a popup menu.
  • Added option-click shortcut in Synchronise, New Preset, Save Settings, and Copy/Paste (Bridge) dialog boxes. Option-click a checkbox to check that box exclusively. Option-click again to toggle previous checkbox state.
  • Added Camera Matching color profiles (Natural, Muted, Portrait, Vivid) for the following Olympus cameras

Note: features in bold are also included in Lightroom 5.3

Bugs fixed in Lightroom 5.3 include:

The following bugs that were part the Lightroom 5  have been corrected. The team appreciates the very detailed feedback the community has provided on Lightroom 5 and we’re excited to correct a number of issues experienced by our customers. These issues have been FIXED:

  • Issues when upgrading catalog from previous versions of Lightroom.
  • Incorrect photos are displayed after switching away from a Publish Collection.
  • Catalog optimisation did not finish, and was not optimising the catalog
  • Feather of clone spots is set to zero after upgrading catalog to Lightroom 5.
  • Auto White Balance settings are not saved to Snapshots.
  • Sony 18-55mm lens is detected as the Hasselblad 18-55mm lens for lens correction.
  • Increased Update Spot Removal history steps when in Before and After view.
  • Slideshows start playing automatically even when the Manual Slideshow option is enabled.
  • Video playback stops when dragging on the scrubber.
  • Errors when publishing photos to Flickr through the Publish Service.
  • Option + drag on Edit Pin behavior is functioning incorrectly.
  • Black border appears around the exported slideshow video.
  • Catalog containing images processed with PV2003 were adding a post-crop vignette when catalog upgraded to Lightroom 5.
  • Pressing the “Reset” button while holding down the Shift key caused Lightroom to exit abruptly.
  • Output Sharpening and Noise Reduction were not applied to exported images that were resized to less than 1/3 of the original image size.
  • The Esc key did not exit the slideshow after right clicking screen with mouse during slideshow playing.
  • Import dialog remained blank for folders that contain PNG files with XMP sidecars.
  • Metadata panel displayed incorrect information after modifying published photo.  Please note that this only occurred when metadata was changed after the photo was published.

New camera models supported include:

  • Canon PowerShot S120
  • Fujifilm XQ1
  • Fujifilm X-E2
  • Nikon 1 AW1
  • Nikon Coolpix P7800
  • Nikon D610
  • Nikon D5300
  • Olympus OM-D E-M1
  • Olympus STYLUS 1
  • Panasonic DMC-GM1
  • Phase One IQ260
  • Phase One IQ280
  • Sony A7 (ILCE-7)
  • Sony A7R (ILCE-7R)
  • Sony DSC-RX10
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California Highlights

My last post mentioned that I was traveling to California on a photo trip. It had been my intention to post a small selection of images during the trip so that friends and family could keep up with progress. Unfortunately, posting images wasn’t to be, and on my return home a backlog of work prevented me from addressing the absence of images. Thankfully, I’ve managed to clear that backlog and have found time to upload some of the photos I’d hoped to post during the trip. These are now on-line and can be viewed here.

The following is a small selection of the images contained within above gallery along with some background information on their location, etc.

Days 1 and 2

Days 1 and 2 were spent in around the city of San Francisco. Thee we visited the Embarcadero centre. This provide a huge number of architectural photographic opportunities.

Embarcadero Centre, San Francisco

After lunch, we headed off to Fort Point and the Golden Gate Bridge. Construction of the Bridge was completed in 1937.  The bridge spans the Golden Gate strait, a mile-wide, three-mile-long channel between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The structure links the U.S. city of San Francisco, on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula, to Marin County.

Golden Gate Bridge, Fort Point, San Francisco

In the evening we travelled across the Bay Bridge to Treasure Island. From there we could photograph sunset over the city and bay area.

Bay Bridge at Sunset, San Francisco

Days 3 to 6

Day 3 was a travel day as we made our way to Yosemite National Park. We made numerous stops along the way, but the visit to the St Joseph’s Catholic church in Mariposa was the most memorable. The church dates back to 1862 and is located on a little hill overlooking the south end of Bullion Street. Its design and New England steeple makes St Joseph’s one of the most photographed and familiar landmarks in Mariposa.

St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Mariposa

As we walked around the graveyard it was noticeable that many of the graves contained the remains of Irish immigrants.

Graveyard, St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Mariposa

Day 4 was our first full day in Yosemite. It was an early start as we wanted to visit as many locations within the park as possible in the course of the day. The autumn colours and lighting provided lots of opportunities, and even though it was Sunday visitors were not as high as we had expected. Luck was on our side.

Mule Deer, Gates of the Valley

During the day we visited many locations along the valley floor including El Capitan, Half Dome, Sentinel Rock, Cathedral Rocks, Merced River and many more. As sunset approached we made our way to Lower Pines meadow to capture the colours of sunset on the Half Dome.

Sunset On The Half Dome, Lower Pines Meadow

As the sun set and we began to pack our cameras one of the group remarked on the opportunities we had been blessed with. Little did we know that the following day would proof even more rewarding.

Day 5 began badly. We awoke to rain and heavy cloud cover. So different to the previous day. Nevertheless, we’re not in the habit of giving up easily. Our first stop was Tunnel View and it was from here that we realised that weather was worsening rather than improving. In fact, it was snowing. As I looked down into the valley through the mist and cloud I recalled the great black and white images from Ansel Adams. Maybe all wasn’t lost after all.

Gathering Storm, Tunnel View

Even down on the valley floor the snow was getting heavier and…

Snow at Valley Floor

Right through to lunchtime it snowed but there were signs that it was easing. Maybe things would be better after lunch.

Clearing Storm, El Capitan

As the clouds began to clear and temperature increased it became obvious that we were being blessed for a second day, but we would need to work fast to make the best of the quickly changing conditions.

Rising Mist, Sentinel Meadow

As the snow melted we decided another quick drive up to Tunnel View was required, and what a view we got.

Clearing Storm, Half Dome

To say that I’m pleased with the photos I captured in Yosemite would be an understatement.

Day 6 should have been another chance to visit Yosemite, especially the locations we’d not managed to get to on the previous two days. Unfortunately, the previous days snow meant that the Tioga Pass (our quickest route to Lee Vining) was closed. Pass after pass over the Sierra Nevada mountains was closed but after close to a 10 hour drive we finally reached our destination at Lee Vining. Given the late hour we literally dumped our baggage in the motel and headed off to Mono Lake in the hope that we could get a few twilight photos.

Twilight, Mono Lake

Days 7 and 8

Days 7 and 8 were spent photographing Mono Lake at sunrise and sunset with a visit to the ghost town of Bodie in between.

Mono Lake is located near to town of Lee Vining. It’s famous for the spectacular “tufa towers,” calcium-carbonate spires and knobs formed by interaction of freshwater springs and alkaline lake water. Photography is best around sunrise and sunset.

Morning Mist, Mono Lake

Evening Light, Mono Lake

Bodie is located down a dusty, bumpy, slow 13 mile long road off of State Highway 395. In 1859 gold was discovered near what is now called Bodie Bluff. A mill was established in 1861 and the town began to grow. Initially there were about 20 miners but this grew to an estimated 10,000 people by 1880! Mining ceased during the 1940′s. What remains today is state protected in the form of a State Park. For the most part, it’s possible to photograph the exterior and interior of building from outside but controlled access is provided to a few.

The Metzger House, Bodie

Lamplight, Wheaton and Hollis Hotel, Bodie

On day 8 we left Mono Lake and began the long journey to the town of Lone Pine. This was to be our base for visits to the Alabama Hills and Bristlecone Pine Forest near Bishop.

Days 9 to 10

An early start on day 9 as we wanted to capture sunrise through the famous natural arches in the Alabama Hills. However, even before the early morning light hit the arches we were rewarded with the beautiful red/pink glow on Mount Whitney and Lone Pine Peak.

Sunrise, Lone Pine Peak and Mount Whitney

Mobius Arch, Alabama Hills, Lone Pine

While Mobious arch is probably the best known and certainly easiest to access of the arches there other less well known arches. Maybe the fact that climbing up to them is the reason for them being less well visited. One such arch is Portal Arch. It’s not very big and some might think not worth the steep climb required to access it.

Portal Arch, Alabama Hills, Lone Pine

As the sun began to drop on late afternoon opportunities for interesting photographs. The light and shadows on rocks and trees attracted a fair amount of our attention.

Sunlit Tree, Alabama Hills, Lone Pine

After sunrise on day 10 we began the drive to Stovepipe Wells in Death Valley. Along the way we stopped at Owen’s Lake to photograph some of the birds to be found there and reflections.

Yellowleg, Owens Lake

Days 11 to 13

Our time in Death Valley followed the usual pattern of rising before dawn to capture sunrise in the Mesquite Sand Dunes then breakfast. After breakfast we’d head off to photograph locations such as the Devil’s Golf Course, Badwater, the Racetrack, Zabriskie Point and many others in between.

Photographer in the Dunes, Mesquite Sand Dunes

The Racetrack

Ubehebe Crater at Sunset, Death Valley National Park

Day 13 began with the usual early visit to the Mesquite Sand Dunes. After breakfast we began our journey to Ridgecrest where we overnighted before travelling on to Morro Bay. At Ridgecrest we visited the Red Rock Canyon State Park and Trona Pinnacles.

Days 14 to 16

On day 14 we left Ridgecrest on our way to Morro Bay where we spent the late evening photographing a sea otter feeding and sunset over the bay.

Sea Otter Feeding, Morro Bay

Sunset, Morro Rock

Next morning (day 15) we were back down to the harbour at Morro Bay for sunrise.

Sunrise, Morro Bay

After breakfast we began our drive along the Pacific Highway. Our overnight would be Monterey.

Elephant Seals, San Simeon

Surfing, Big Sur

On day 16 we visited Carmel Mission. The mission was established in 1771 by Junípero Serra, and is both a State and National Historic Landmark. We spent a good few hours photographing both the exterior and interior before lunch.

Carmel Mission, Carmel

After lunch we travelled north along the Pacific coast road as we made our way towards the final overnight stop in San Bruno. On our way we stopped to photograph the lighthouse at Pigeon Point and the harbour/marina at El Granada.

Sunset, Pillar Point Air Force Staion, El Granada

Day 17 and 18

Day 17 would be the last day for most of the group as they would be heading back to London on an early evening flight. The late flight gave us the opportunity for another short visit to San Francisco. This time we concentrated on the North Beach Area.

Coit Tower and North Beach Area, San Francisco

Three of us would be stayed an extra day to give presentations to members of the Royal Photographic Society’s Pacific Chapter. My presentation was on Adobe Lightroom. Given my accent, I’m not sure how much the audience understood but that didn’t stop them taking plenty of notes.

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Off to California

I’ll be departing tomorrow for California on an 18 day photo tour. The tour was arranged by Roger Reynolds at Photoventures. As usual Roger has planned the tour to explore a wide variety of the most iconic locations not just in the state but perhaps the world.

Map (Copyright of Wildernet)

We’ll begin our tour in the city of San Francisco with its iconic waterfront that looks out onto ‘The Bay’ and, of course, the Golden Gate Bridge. From there will move on to Yosemite National Park; a location I’ve had on my ‘must visit’ lists for as long as I’ve been taking photographs. We will also visit Mono Lake, and the ghost town of Bodie, a location that offers a real taste of the old pioneering ways. From there we’ll journey south to the Alabama Hills and the Bristlecone Pine forest.  Death Valley, one of the lowest places on earth is also on our itinerary. Our final few days will take us back west to the Pacific coastline were we’ll photograph locations such as Big SurMorro Bay and Half Moon Bay.

Most of our overnight stops will have an internet connection. So, all being well I should get a few of each day’s favourite photos on line. All photos will be imported into a Lightroom catalog that I’ve set up for the trip. This will allow me to quickly and easily apply metadata such as keywords and geotagging information to images without having to resort to standalone applications, and of course any develop adjustments will also be carried out in Lightroom.

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George Jardine Posts A New Article For Digital Photo Pro Magazine: Tone Curves …

George Jardine recently published an excellent article in Digital Photo Pro in which he discusses the Tone Curve feature within Adobe Lightroom. George writes:

“This often misunderstood control is as much about brightness as contrast” and goes on to write “I recently read one popular author’s introduction to his chapter on the Lightroom Tone Curve, and he started out by saying that with the improvements in the 2012 Process Version, the Tone Curve was basically outdated. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

The article contains lots of useful tips on how to get the best from the Tone Curve and is a must read for all Lightroom users.

Man with Beard, Patan, Durbar Square, Nepal

I should also mention George’s most recent video tutorials for Lightroom 5. There are two series relating to Lightroom 5. The first discusses the Library Workflow and Digital Photo Management, and the second the Develop module and Digital Photo Processing. I’ve not had the opportunity to view the first yet, but the second is excellent. More information on both can be viewed on George’s website mulita.com.

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Adobe release Lightroom 5.2 and Camera Raw 8.2

 Adobe has just released the GM versions of Lightroom 5.2 and Camera Raw 8.2. If you have been using the release candidates that went live in late July you’ll already be familiar with most of the new features. However, for those who are downloading 5.2/8.2 for the first time the new features are summarised below.

Downloads can be obtained from:

New Features

Lightroom 5.2

  • A Smoothness adjustment slider has been added to the Detail Panel under Color Noise Reduction. This helps to reduce low-frequency color mottling artefacts.
  • Refinements to the Spot Healing Tool:
    • New Feather control
    • Auto find source method now works better for images with textured areas like rocks, bark, and foliage
    • Auto find source method now prefers source areas within the crop rectangle
  • Auto Exposure has been improved to be more consistent across images and across different image sizes.
  • Smart Preview size has been updated to 2560 pixels on the long edge.
  • Refinements to the Local Adjustment Brush:
    • Right Click (PC) / Control-click (Mac) on a brush adjustment pin to bring up a context menu to duplicate or delete
    • Control+Alt+Drag (PC) / Command+Option+Drag (Mac) on a brush adjustment pin to clone (duplicate) that adjustment

Something not mentioned in the Lightroom release notes that might cause some confusion occurs when 5.2 is first launched – a simplified version of the Registration dialog appears. This is perfectly normal and is due to new licensing arrangements with Google which means that the maps are only available in certain geographic regions. Therefore, you must choose your region from the popup then click Finish (see screen grab below). The dialog will only appear on first launch after updating or in the event that you delete the Lightroom preference file.

Registering your location with Lightroom

Camera Raw 8.2

  • The Histogram is now interactive. This enables the ability to click and drag on the Histogram to adjust the Blacks, Shadows, Exposure, Highlights, and Whites sliders.
  • A Colour Smoothness adjustment slider has been added to the Detail Panel. This helps to reduce low-frequency colour mottling artefacts.
  • Added new “rectangle mode” to white balance eyedropper tool. Click-and-drag with the eyedropper tool to define a rectangular pixel area. Upon releasing mouse, Camera Raw will use all the pixels within the marked rectangle to set the global White Balance.
  • Workflow presets are now available and can be selected by context-clicking the workflow link.
  • Presets have been added to the Save dialog box.
  • Auto Exposure has been improved to be more consistent across images and across different image sizes.
  • Refinements to the Spot Healing Tool:
    • New Feather control
    • Auto find source method now works better for images with textured areas like rocks, bark, and foliage
    • Auto find source method now prefers source areas within the crop rectangle
  • Refinements to the Local Adjustment Brush:
    • Move brush adjustments by clicking and dragging on brush adjustment pins
    • Right Click (PC) / Control-click (Mac) on a brush adjustment pin to bring up a context menu to duplicate or delete
    • Control+Alt+Drag (PC) / Command+Option+Drag (Mac) on a brush adjustment pin to clone (duplicate) that adjustment
    • Alt+Click (PC) / Option+Click (Mac) on a brush adjustment pin to delete the adjustment

Camera Raw 8.2 will also work with Photoshop CS6. However, only users using the full Creative Cloud version of Camera Raw will get access to the new features listed. For CS6 users Camera Raw just adds new camera support.

This support includes recently introduced cameras from Canon, Casio, Fujifilm. Leica, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax and Sony. For the full list of supported cameras checkout this page at Adobe.com

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Lightroom – Find Missing or Moved Folder and Photos

A question that I often see on Adobe’s Lightroom User to User forum and even personal emails relates to a ? badge appearing on photos  -  ”What does it mean and how do I make it go away” The short answer to the question is that Lightroom no longer has access to the photos  marked with the ? badge.  So now that we know why – what is the solution? Well, it just happens that the underlying cause and solution have been around as long as Lightroom itself. In fact, such is the confusion it caused in the past that I wrote a tutorial (Find missing or moved folder) with the intention of helping Lightroom 2 through 4 users better understand why the issue occurs and how it can be easily fixed. The tutorial remains valid right through to Lightroom 5. That being said, there is now a twist to how Lightroom might indicate that a photo is missing. The twist is the use of a ! badge instead of ? and a new feature called Smart Previews.

With this latest update I’ve revised the screen shots and included some basic information on the use of Smart Previews. These can be used when the user has deliberately disconnected the original photos but still requires access to them to apply develop adjustments.

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