Picture is a thousand words - so why write? And yet...
How many times do you come back from a great photo trip, only to fear the huge amount of post-production work that awaits you?
We all have our favorite ways of enhancing photos in Lightroom Develop module - and to say that one is clearly better than the other would be arrogant.
What it comes down to for many of us is not so much the “perfect” result (which does not exist, beauty is in the eye of the beholder), but TIME spent on enhancing and editing.
Regardless if you are a pro or an amateur, any useful tool that reduces the amount of editing time is a blessing.
Recently, the folks from Sleeklens (www.sleeklens.com) approached me and kindly offered me a chance to work with their new set of presets (https://sleeklens.com/product/landscape-lightroom-presets/) and brushes ( https://sleeklens.com/product
What does the Through The Woods workflow from Sleeklens contain?
You get 50 presets and 30 local adjustment brushes – but it is not yet another bundle.
The presets are very cleverly organized into 7 groups: from “All in one”, which, as the name implies, adjusts many elements at once; to focused ones (Base, Exposure, Color Correct, Tone, Polish and Vignette), that modify only that specific element of the photo. Each of the latter six preset groups contains several adjustments, cleverly named to find the appropriate one real fast (“Less highlights”, “Desaturate”, “Reduce reds” etc.).
In other words, these are really stackable – fixing what needs to be fixed and leaving the rest unmodified.
Another aspect that I find great about Sleeklens’ Through The Woods preset workflow is the order in which they appear once you import them. You simply start at the top with Exposure and work your way down to Vignettes – a natural workflow that most of us apply “manually”.
What about the local adjustment brushes, which are included as well?
You will get 5 different categories (Basic, Color, Effect, haze and Light) with several brushes in each of them.
Therefore, the logic you use when applying presets is pretty much the same when you work with local adjustment brushes – no confusion, no frustration, a big time saver.
So far, we saved a lot of time, using the presets and the brushes is easy and fun – what about the quality?
I particularly like the fact that most are subtle and do the exact job that their name implies. “Punch it up” does just that, without overdoing it. Or “Deep Blue Skies” – or any other, for that matter.
Bottom line: in MHO, Through The Woods preset bundle is a very welcome time saver, cleverly designed, with artistic added value for any landscape photographer.
Check it out at https://sleeklens.c
Below is an example of before and after. I used three presets – that’s 3 clicks, 10 seconds!
In March 2012 I treated myself to a one week photo retreat and chose Death Valley National Park in Western US as a destination. Here are some tips, as well as mistakes I made - in order to help you plan your trip.
1. I recommend to:
- go there in early spring; it's not too hot during the day, nights are actually quite cold;
- stay in one of the camps or resorts within the park - you'll save plenty of time driving to the desired photo location;
- plan to work early in the morning and late afternoon (duh...);
- visit your favorite place in different times of the day - colors change dramatically;
- plan to go to these locations: Badwater, Zabriskie Point, Sand dunes, Dante's View, Devil's golf course, Devil's cornfield, Titus canyon, Racetrack
- in addition, you might want to see: Golden Canyon, Artist's Drive, Ubehebe crater, Crayolite ghost town
2. Mistakes I made:
- forgot to check the Moon status; I wanted to do astro lapse photography, but the Moon was full...
- when I rented a Jeep to go to the Racetrack, I didn't buy an extra can of fuel - so couldn't see some other interesting stuff in the vicinity as gas stations are quite rare;
- Scotty's castle: waste of time for landscape photographers, since it's only a building;
- didn't start hiking the Sand dunes early enough in the afternoon to get away from people, was caught by dusk and had to turn around;
- drove to Las Vegas and lost some money there :-(
3. Don't forget to take along:
- a good cloth/blow cleaner for the cameras and lenses - it's a lot of sand out there;
- a big coffee mug to get you through early mornings out in the field;
- the obvious: a headlamp, tripod, spare batteries, warm clothes for early mornings and nights.