Before and After: Red Brick with Ivy

I took this photo of the side of a building near Fishkill, New York. Click on the picture for a larger version, then come back and read more….

Below you can see the original photo and the photo above side by side. There were dozens of white spots in the original, and I removed them one at a time using Adobe Lightroom. That took a while, as you can probably imagine, but I think it helped give the photo some character it didn’t have before, emphasizing the green and yellow leaves without the distraction of white chips in the red paint. The ivy leaves were also out of focus in the original; sharpening adjustments helped the ivy pop out from the red background. I overdid some of the sharpness adjustments, possibly; but I wanted to see how much I could improve the appearance of the leaves and keep the brick background as red and smooth as possible. Besides spot removal, sharpness, and noise reduction, I reduced the saturation of aqua, blue, and purple colors in the photo — which were not that apparent to the eye but eliminated some inconsistencies in the appearance of the red paint on the bricks.

Click either of the pictures to compare a larger before-and-after view.

I added a “Lightroom” category to this blog, so you can see other posts where I’ve written about using Lightroom by clicking this link.

Thanks for reading!

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Twisted Trees and Woodlands

The Point Au Roche State Park in northern New York contains a nature preserve with hiking trails, covering about five square miles along the shores of Lake Champlain. The hiking trails take you through distinct landscapes that change dramatically as you walk from the nature center entrance to the lake, and include a marshland (see Frogs on Logs, whose pictures were taken as the frogs soaked up some sunshine in the marsh);  areas full of shrubs and wild vines; a peaceful pine forest with a thick bed of discarded pine needles covering the forest floor; and shoreline trails where the effects of the wind blowing in from Lake Champlain have a unique twisting impact on the trees growing nearby as well as on the remnants of those that have fallen and broken.

I’ve always enjoyed exploring woodlands; there’s nothing quite like entering the shaded quiet of a few acres of pine trees as a hush falls around you. Sometimes I’ll walk the same trails both with and without a camera. Without a camera, I think I get a better sense of the scope and complexity of the woodlands. With it, I tend to look closely at the details: shapes, colors, textures, and contours that — for me — evoke a sense of what that space was like to stand in and observe.

I have several thousand pictures of this area. I pulled out a few, continued my Lightroom experiments and jazzed them up a bit. Enjoy!

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Northern New York landscapes (and Lightroom experiments)

Last week, I bought the Lightroom Classic CC Video Book by Tony Northrup to learn more about some of the features of Adobe Lightroom CC that I haven’t used much or didn’t feel like I understood. The book and accompanying video cover a lot of ground, and I’m only through the first quarter or so, but I decided to try using what I learned so far about radial and graduated filters; adjusting hue, saturation, and luminance; adjusting sharpness; and working with noise reduction. The photos below were taken in northern New York during several trips to visit my family and seemed like decent landscape photos to try out some of the techniques. You can select the first image to begin a slideshow.

The videos and book show detailed practical examples of enhancing photos Lightroom. I learned a lot in a few hours, much more than I’ve been able to figure out on my own, and paused the video often to experiment with my own photos. Below are a couple of before and after images for comparison (the last two gallery pictures above). Click the first image and page through all four to see the effects of the adjustments I applied in Lightroom. One thing that fascinates me is that these adjustments helped restore the images so they match how I remember these scenes … or at least how I think I remember them!

Thanks for reading and taking a look.

Bye for now!

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