Learning Lightroom


We’re back working at the motels in Blenheim – seems to be becoming a regular thing. Because it is. And busy-busy again, because it is. I managed a drive out to the airport yesterday – I guess that was getting out for an hour. The flight was late so I got some down time – which was welcome. It’s like when I used to have to wait for a while for an appointment with someone who would then apologise for making me wait. I used to thank them for a rare gift – some guilt-free “nothing” time.

I always thought that when I got some spare time I’d learn to use Photoshop. My kids all did amazing things in Photoshop, especially Andrew. He made moons out of Girl Guide biscuits. Even more amazing, he restored one of my old transparencies with a few clicks and minutes. Magic and miraculous. I figured that it was about time I graduated from the “I’m feeling lucky” button in Picassa. Yet Photoshop remained in the one-of-these-days basket. Somehow it had always looked so complicated.

Michael my other son had been suggesting that I should have a go using Lightroom. Lightroom is a photographers toolbox for getting stuff from the camera to the finished photo. With a scaled-down Photoshop capability. He seemed to be able to do interesting things with it, so I finally made the plunge. For a start I had no idea how it worked, and I lack the younger generations ability to work out how things work as they use them. It seems a valuable skill/talent in these fast-changing times.

My first skirmishes convinced me that I was in the right programme, and that I needed to grasp the organising features before I moved on to the more interesting photo editing possibilities. With some trial and lots of errors I slowly figured out the best pathway for importing and storing photos. When I saw that I have over 50,000 photos stored on my hard drive, I realised that the sorting and cataloging part is one of the most important.In the end I bought a good book to learn from. This also starts at the start of the process, and had some good tips and hints. I’m just now up to the chapters on editing photos. It looks like there will be enough in that to keep me quiet for a very long time.

Early on I got impatient with my methodical approach and decided to try out some of the photo editing buttons. I took a photo that was destined for deletion because it was so under-exposed. And played with the buttons and stuff to see how much damage I could undo. The results are below, first the ruined photo and second my attempt at resurrecting it. Clearly I have a lot to learn. But also clearly Lightroom has some exciting possibilities.

Interestingly (and co-incidentally?) the photo is of my son Andrew who inspired me to learn photo editing. And taken at the place where my grandfather was scattered (Flagstaff above Dunedin) – my grandfather who instilled an interest in photography in many of us. My grandfather started in the era of glass plates. I wonder what he’d make of Lightroom and the digital revolution.

Andrew under exposed
Same photo – my first attempt at a Lightroom restoration


Watch this space…

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