Let’s Just Call It Progress For Now…

Having mentioned in previous posts that I have felt a certain amount of intimidation… and perhaps even trepidation… regarding Adobe Lightroom (and it’s little brother, Photoshop Elements), it has come as good news to yours truly that I have been busy embracing Lightroom (“Lr” from here forward) over the past week.

It is such an incredibly huge programme with so many features, options, settings, etc. such that I don’t even know where to begin most days. Clearly the user’s guide would probably be a nice starting point, but that would be way to easy. We can’t have that, now can we?

Regardless, I have thrown myself into it with full effect and, like the younger version of your humble narrator, remain hopeful that all will be just fine regardless. And thus far…. well… it’s been a bit of mixed bag.

No doubt Lr is a very powerful application for viewing, editing and cataloguing image files and thus far I have only scratched the surface of all it can do to images and for for me. I spent the better part of a week adding keywords to approximately 1/3 of all my pictures (not having yet imported the other 2/3’s) and began working on a project which I have neglected for far too long: processing the pics from my trip to Wisconsin for my grandmother’s funeral and my cousin’s wedding.

It has been during this first major undertaking using Lr that I have started to use some of the more everyday features (or I assume they are ‘everyday’) including a smattering of keyboard shortcuts (I love keyboard shortcuts) and the collections feature. I have also embraced the Auto button in the Development mode, at least for this particular project.

First, collections is a way to group together photos that share some sort of user-defined common theme. Perhaps it is a birthday party. Or a certain person. Or whatever it is you might want to group together for some purpose. For me it was the opportunity to group together the pictures from my trip to Wisconsin. See… that trip includes pictures of different events and settings and as I knew that some images would likely demand more of my attention in post-processing and that some would only be shared with family I elected to divide the entire group of imported pictures into collections. One collection for funeral-related stuff. Another for visiting some friends in Two Rivers. And yet another for the wedding… and so on. Dividing all the pictures into these collections allowed me to work on them in smaller batches and with certain ideas regarding their processing/editing being specific to the collection.

It also made it easier when it came to exporting them as JPEGs because I could select only those collections which I was going to share with family members via burned DVDs. For instance, the pictures I took of my friends in Two Rivers as well as mine and my dad’s photography excursion to the WW II submarine exhibit will not go out to the family members. As such I need only select the other collections for exportation to JPEG, thus leaving the unrelated pictures off the DVD.


However, not all is sunshine and bunnies with this collection business. First, it seems that I cannot always remove a photograph from a collection as the option to do such is greyed out. In some collections this isn’t a problem, but in others… well…. it’s a problem. And as yet I haven’t seen any recognizable relationship between those pictures I can remove from a collection and those that I cannot.

In an unrelated, but equally confusing matter, I have noticed that some functions/settings can be applied to images when they are selected in the filmstrip, which runs along the bottom of the Lr window. However, other functions/settings cannot be applied from the filmstrip, but must be handled either from grid view or as a single image in the viewer. To me that’s just plain weird. A selected image is a selected image and I don’t know why it should matter whether it was selected in the filmstrip or in the grid. Perhaps there is a reason…. a very good reason, but it shall remain a mystery for the moment.

As I mentioned earlier I learned of the miracle of the Auto button in the development module. Auto is just like it sounds: auto-adjustment. Press it and Lr does whatever it does to determine what would make your image better. Nicer. Whatever. And I must say that for the most part it was a rewarding experience to use it. The end result was often very close to the adjustments I made myself, which, after some experimentation, left me feeling confident in its use for moving rapidly through many images.

However, and I think further experimentation is needed before I’m completely certain of this accusation, I’m not certain one can use the Auto option along with the Sync option. It occurred to me after having already gone through maybe one half of the 600+ images I had from Wisconsin, that if I’m generally satisfied with the Auto feature I should use it and then Sync it across all the images! What a time saver! I could then review each photo and if I felt Auto had gotten it wrong I could Reset that image and manipulate by hand to my heart’s delight. Except I don’t think it really worked that way….

As I said, further experimentation is needed, but I think what happened is that when I Auto’d the first image and then synced that to all subsequent images it was the specific individual settings from that Auto-treatment that wound up being applied across the rest of the images, which is NOT what I wanted. No. Instead I wanted Lr to apply the Auto feature to each individual image and not merely copy the Auto-settings from that first image.

Something of a disaster, you know?

But where would humanity be without the adage “Live and learn”?


“Head in the clouds, and a mouthful of pie”

I guess we all knew it would eventually come to this. Its inevitability was etched in stone long before this day arrived. It was a certainty from which we could not escape. It was destined. It was fated. It was portended. It was in the cards.

You get the picture…….

Basil Bear (6)

So, what does a photographer do when he or she becomes so ill and feels so run-down that the mere idea of heading out into the wilds to take photographs brings out the urge to vomit? In addition, what course of action is possible for the young and attractive amateur photographer when the great planet Earth turns itself in such a way that dreary grey days are all that can be seen out of the window for days on end?

Bug with Rockety (3)

Well…..the answer actually came from a photographic source oddly enough. One of my Flickr contacts eschews the cold that comes with this time of the year in the northern hemisphere. As such he has opted to post older pictures taken in the more sun-drenched days that were the norm before Old Man Winter arrived. I can’t say that I had the same sort of source as he (being the avid photographer he is), but I did have a wealth of photographs taken over the past few years via my digital point-n-shoot cameras: the Canon A95 and Canon A630.

So I set about to going through my collection of images from the A95 (no longer in my possession – donated to a pet adoption agency whose own digital camera died in April of this year) and selected those that most appealed to me. Truth-be-told, much of my photography involved the animals. It’s not that I don’t love my wife and/or daughter, but they really do not like hubby/dad pointing cameras at them. Regardless, I have selected a number of images and began posting them this evening. There are plenty more to come and I’ll likely upload a new batch every other day so it isn’t so overwhelming to you, my dear readers/viewers.

Caroline & Rowan (5)

I’ll also be writing at least one more WordPress entry in conjunction with this series of uploads. That entry will concern itself with a few of the thoughts that crossed my mind while going through these images from my venerable Canon A95.

I know you can’t wait to read what I have to type!