Adobe Lightroom Classic 10 Bug – Masking broken?

I generally use Lightroom for all my raw processing and avoid Photoshop unless I am replacing a sky or a similar composite.

One of the tools I use a lot in Lightroom is the Adjustment Brush and the AutoMask feature in that for edges.

Although I have updated to version 10 and therefore cannot show a side-by-side comparison, but, the change from the earlier version is quite visible even in normal masking.

Let’s take a brief look at this issue…

Photoshop 2021 Sky Replacement vs Luminar 4

Let’s take a look at the all-new sky replacement feature introduced in Photoshop 2021 first since that is the most talked-about addition.

There are some other new features in Photoshop as well as Lightroom, but, we will get to those in later videos.

Sky is the replacement 😀

Photoshop – Remove specular highlights/shine/shadows for wildlife

This is perhaps more relevant for macro photography and flash, but, can also be used in other cases.

To demonstrate this technique, I will use a close-up image of a snail for the highlights and shine removal and a bird image for shadow removal.

Let’s see how we can go about doing this in Photoshop…

#Photoshop #Wildlife #Highlights #Shadows #Post

Lightroom 9.4 – Local Hue Adjustment for Macro Photographers

This feature was introduced in version 9.3 and I have found it very useful for wildlife macros. Of course, we do have similar conditions with birds at times, but, this is more useful for macros.

We often see a major green tint when we photograph insects in the wild on leaves and branches. Adjusting the overall image tint in the white balance does not work in these conditions.

Earlier, one would have to go to Photoshop to fix these issues, but, now it can be done in Lightroom itself.

Let us look at an example to see how this is done…

Lightroom 9.4 Import Bug – EXIF Date-Time Issue!

I ran into this major bug while re-organising my mobile shots and I consider it serious enough to share. In short, if you are using date/time functions in the Lightroom import, you have to be careful and double-check to make sure this bug does not impact your catalog.

Let us see what this bug is and how it can create chaos in our catalog.

Focus Stacking Using Lightroom & Photoshop

One of the ways of overcoming the current technology limitations in photography is called Focus Stacking.

This technique allows us to overcome the area of focus (DoF) in images. We can take multiple shots with different focus points and later combine these to get the entire image in sharp focus.

Let us see how this can be done using Lightroom and Photoshop.

Wildlife Photography – Nikon D500/D5/D6 or D850?

While most people are talking about the latest and greatest new Nikon D6, in this video, we will try to figure out which of the Nikon bodies is more suited for wildlife and why.

When I talk of wildlife, I include birding, macros (insects), as also mammals (large and small).

In general, the gear you use would depend largely on your usage and budget. In my case, I share images on the web and also print some. Personally, I like to have details in the subjects that one would not see via the naked eye which presents the beauty of nature from a different perspective.

Before we move on, all my image reference numbers are based on my Nikon 200-500mm at the full 500mm regardless of which body I use it on as also the fact that I like to fill the frame where practically possible.

Now, I also put some images on stock sites occasionally and most such sites, if not all, require at least 3000 px on the long edge.

Now that we have all this talk done, let us look at what the two most discussed features of any new camera:

1. The AF or the Auto-Focus system
2. The low light performance or ISO response range

Yes, there is the frame rate or FPS as well, but, that part I have already discussed in an earlier video.

Let us take these one-by-one and see how they impact wildlife photography.

The ISO or low light performance first. This definitely impacts the image quality in low light and there is no doubt on that part.

Unfortunately, this improved ISO performance comes at a cost. The cost is generally the resolution of the sensor. This is also reflected in the latest Sony A7 III which is a 12 MP sensor as also in the top end Canon bodies. The most often used term in this regard is the larger “pixel” size. There are details on the sensors available on the internet for those who might want to know more about this.

Once again, your gear depends on your purpose/usage and budget.

Now, let us look at the AF part. The AF is not relevant for macros or super macros (1:1 or higher). That leaves us with action shots of birds and mammals.

Most mammals are large enough so one could easily use just a single focus point. The same applies to large birds. I would say the size of crows and larger.

Most of the issues we look at the AF system is when we are dealing with smaller mammals (squirrels and the likes) and small to tiny birds.

Now, there are actually two issues here…First, these subjects are small and unless you can get close to them, you will not really get any detail. Second, when you get close enough to these small ones, every AF, as also you, would be hard-pressed to track/pan them.

Getting close to a subject can be achieved in two ways.

1. Getting physically closer, or
2. Using a longer lens

Let me talk of a couple of specific examples. If you have ever tried to shoot a running squirrel around a 10-meter distance, you already know what happens when you try to pan the camera with it. The same applies to a tiny sunbird or tailorbird. Although you might get a squirrel running across a wall or the ground, the birds would be even faster and more erratic.

If you cannot move the camera fast enough to track, the AF cannot do much since the subject is not within the AF range. The 10-meter distance that I mentioned is just about good enough to get some detail on these subjects even though you will have only a quarter of less of your frame with the subject.

Before we look at some images to figure out the above-mentioned points, let us look at some of the Nikon bodies and their image resolutions…

D5200, D5300, D7200 – 6000 x 4000 (Approx. 24 MP)
D7500, D500, D5, D6 – 5568 x 3712 (Approx. 20 MP)
D850 – 8256 x 5504 (Approx. 45 MP)

Excepting for the D500, D5 and of course, D6, I have owned all the other bodies and used them for years. My current gear is a couple of D850s, a D7500 with a Nikkor 200-500mm as my long lens and a Tamron 90mm as my macro lens besides some others.

Let us now look at some of my shots to see what becomes more relevant for wildlife and why.

I will use ON1 Photo Raw 2020 for this purpose for two reasons.

1. It shows the subject distance as seen by the camera
2. I have not processed the images in any way in this application

To summarise what we just saw…

The resolution is perhaps the most important part for wildlife photographers. The AF, regardless of how good it is, cannot do much unless you can pan the camera and keep the subject in the frame. For long shots, the AF would not really make a difference in practice as also for larger subjects.

The sensor resolution detail would be limited by the lenses you use, so, keeping a reasonable balance between the resolution, lens and your budget might be a prudent choice. Getting the highest-resolution sensor around might not be the best choice.

In my case, I try to figure out the maximum ISO at which the image quality is acceptable to me at given distances for every camera body. I do not shoot if I have to go beyond that excepting in some cases or to test.

Ultimately, it is your choice as to what is more important to you as a wildlife photographer. Of course, there is also a possibility that all this would change in the future as technology moves ahead…

Luminar 4.3 – Adding a watermark to images!

Although Luminar has no built-in support for watermarking, we can work around this limitation in a couple of steps.

There is one caveat though…The watermark image has to be black and white to work across all images.

Although we can use colours, but, that would require adjusting the watermark for every image.

Also, since Luminar does not save layers in Looks, we cannot save this process as a Look and apply it across images.

Let’s see how we can watermark images in Luminar…

Luminar 4.3 – Catalog does not store edits!!!

I spent quite a few hours trying to figure out how to integrate the Luminar backup with my existing setup and found some very interesting issues.

Since Luminar does not use sidecar files, I have to transfer the Luminar catalog to my other system. No, it does not stop there…I have to copy the Luminar catalog along with the History folder.

There is some major issue here since Luminar is not storing the edits in the catalog!!!

You cannot simply copy the catalog. In fact, if I delete the History folder on a working system, all edits are lost!

Unless you backup the catalog from Luminar and restore it using Luminar, all edits are lost.

There is no way out it seems since Luminar refuses to restore from any file in its Backup folder. In short, unless you manually create a catalog backup from Luminar, you will lose your edits!

Let’s see what happens and how you can backup the catalog…

Nikon D850 – No XQD reader? No Problem!

A few months ago, when I got my D850, I also invested in an XQD card besides the SD card so I could compare the two and have both the slots occupied in case of overflows.

The camera was still on older firmware and to update it, I would have to copy the firmware to the primary card which happened to be my XQD card.

The solution to this one was simple, I copied the firmware update to my SD card and simply made my SD card as the primary card.

Once the update was done, I switched the XQD card back to being the primary.

More recently, I ran into an issue which happens at times even with my earlier Nikon bodies…

For some strange reason, Lightroom refused to import more than a few files. The only way out, that I already knew from my earlier experience was to copy the files from the card and then import to Lightroom.

Since I never bothered to get an XQD card reader, this was an issue. Fortunately, the D850 offers a very simple card-to-card copy operation.

Once again, the solution was simple. I just copied the contents of my primary XQD card to the SD card and copied the files from the SD card to my computer.

Hope this small tip helps some people who have similar issues.