There is a spectacular sunrise in Siena, Italy. I shoot hundreds of frames through my open window in the B&B, each just seconds apart, starting with the first few seconds before the sun breaks the horizon until it was hanging low over the hills. The sun’s position changes with each subsequent frame. Later, as I labor over the editing process for well over an hour, I find it hard to choose just one. Each capture is so similar to the next. First I choose a handful, then a couple, then just one. The best of the best.
I wish I could say the photographs are perfect the way they are, but I can’t. “Pretty good” can always be better. Even in the best of cases.
Developing the image in Lightroom is a process. A little of this, then a little of that, undo this, redo that. It’s not unlike the black and white darkroom printing I did for nearly two decades. I was lucky enough to learn from guys like Frank Finochhio, Richard Avedon’s personal printer, Ken Ohara, another protégé of Avedon and Hiro, and Ben Somoroff, an amazing still life photographer who, regrettably, has been all but forgotten. Those skills that were practiced for over two decades still serve me well in Lightroom.
Without having the experience of taping pieces of black paper onto sections of cut metal hangers to “dodge” and forming a circle with my hands to “burn in,” I would not know what many of the terms used in Lightroom mean or how to make the best use of them. Having that physical connection to the darkroom is why Lightroom feels familiar.
As Lightroom Guy, I will try to make understanding and mastering Lightroom clearer and easier, whether or not you bring darkroom experience with you.
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