Why shoot RAW and why edit? Lightroom Basics on Falcondale Life blog. IF you have all the gear but no idea, or if you aren't really sure what effect you are having on your photos when you edit them, start here. If you are trying to improve your photography then you may be shooting RAW or at least thinking about it. Next, a better understanding of RAW editing such as Lightroom is probably on your to-do list. I’m no Scott Kelby but I’ve been editing RAW for the last ten years and have picked up a few tricks.

Image Example

People love this image of a red acer tree, but I know its faults. I shot this image in RAW format which is a digital negative and has to be processed. It works in a similar way to a negative from the days of film photography. RAW files save a lot of extra information in each pixel. An editing program like Lightroom (for pc or mac) allows me to tweak and alter an image without damaging it. If I did the same thing to a jpeg file, I would not be able to change very much before I began to introduce errors such as colour outlines and shadowing.

Why shoot RAW and why edit? Lightroom Basics on Falcondale Life blog. IF you have all the gear but no idea, or if you aren't really sure what effect you are having on your photos when you edit them, start here.

Even so, the original shot of the acer tree was heavily under-exposed and I could never fully rescue it. I’m using this photo to demonstrate how much can be changed by editing from RAW in Lightroom. However, most of the principles used here apply in any editing program, even the built-in editing function in an app as simple as Instagram. I’ll explain as I go along.

One last point of introduction – budget restraints mean I am stuck with an old version of Lightroom. No, I don’t mind and it doesn’t matter! The principles are exactly the same. I don’t have certain fancy new functions like HDR or panoramic knitting and a few of the sliders are different. However we are all using different editing software and anyone can pick up tips for your own post-processing as long as I can explain it in broad terms.

White balance

Checking the white balance is always my first step. A cold day or a coloured room or a cloudy day are usually the main culprits to make the white balance wrong on a photo. This acer was a bit too blue and unnatural. Sometimes I can’t see whether the white balance is wrong or not and so I hit auto WB and see what I think of that. I’ll probably do a manual adjustment but auto WB is frequently accurate. I only do manual WB adjustments on my calibrated computer monitor; it’s not worth the risk on other devices. In other software you could use a warming slider.

Why shoot RAW and why edit? Lightroom Basics on Falcondale Life blog. IF you have all the gear but no idea, or if you aren't really sure what effect you are having on your photos when you edit them, start here. Lightroom 3 screenshot

Brighter

There are lots of ways of adding light to an image in RAW processing. The obvious one is the exposure slider but I never do that first because it brightens everything including the bits that are too bright already. Instead I lighten the mid-tones of the image. On my version of Lightroom it’s called fill light. On later versions this slider has gone but the mid-tones can still be brightened using the histogram. Click on the left of the middle of the histogram, and drag it right. After increasing the light in the mid-tones, I may also increase the exposure just a little if it still needs it.

Why shoot RAW and why edit? Lightroom Basics on Falcondale Life blog. IF you have all the gear but no idea, or if you aren't really sure what effect you are having on your photos when you edit them, start here.Why shoot RAW and why edit? Lightroom Basics on Falcondale Life blog. IF you have all the gear but no idea, or if you aren't really sure what effect you are having on your photos when you edit them, start here. Lightroom 3 screenshot.

In other software and apps you can brighten shadows and then increase the exposure. This acer tree trunk was the darkest part of the image so brightening the shadows gave it some texture. You can usually also darken highlights a little to prevent those very bright sections from bleeding larger.

Colour Creativity

I altered the colour because I wanted to, not because it was strictly necessary. My vision for this image was vibrant, punchy colour. The first thing NOT to do is to increase the basic saturation slider. This is a really thuggish slider in Lightroom and I rarely use it. Vibrance is a better place to start. However for this tree I adjusted individual colour channels, namely red and orange. I lightened them as well as increasing the saturation. I then had to go to the detail section and increase the colour noise reduction a little. The image was starting to get over-processed.

Why shoot RAW and why edit? Lightroom Basics on Falcondale Life blog. IF you have all the gear but no idea, or if you aren't really sure what effect you are having on your photos when you edit them, start here. Lightroom 3 screenshot

There are other back-door ways of making colour stand out. Increasing the contrast can do it, as can increasing (aka clipping) the black slider. Sharpening can do it as well, and with summer images you can make warm tones stand out more by cooling the white balance a little.

Sharpen

There’s more than one way of doing this too. The important thing is to use a light touch. Sharpening can go wrong very quickly. I adjusted most of the sliders in the sharpening menu just a little. You can see the huge number of steps I took to tweak the sharpening in Lightroom on this photo. That is because I was making many tiny adjustments rather than using a heavy hand. I know it looks rather indecisive but the fact is that it all took me only two minutes!

With photos of landscapes and nature I increase the clarity. This is much harsher than sharpening but works a treat on distant texture. It is less likely to look good on close-ups. In other software this function may be called structure. Just a side note: Never increase clarity on a portrait unless it’s someone you hate!

Why shoot RAW and why edit? Lightroom Basics on Falcondale Life blog. IF you have all the gear but no idea, or if you aren't really sure what effect you are having on your photos when you edit them, start here. Lightroom 3 screenshot

Finally

In the end this image looks great on a small screen but was a bit too far gone to rescue fully. Some funny edges and shadowing started to appear. If I hadn’t pointed it out, you I wonder if you would ever have noticed? What do you think of my process here?

If this blog post has raised as many questions for you as it has answered, then please – please! – contact me and ask me. I am itching to know what questions or comments you have. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know, so please hit me up. Email, twitter, facebook, Instagram message or comment below. Thanks!

This beautiful Acer tree is at Newby Hall Gardens in North Yorkshire. This was a very high contrast photo initially, and I’ve developed it from the digital negative in Lightroom. Read my simple explanation in this blog post: Why Shoot RAW and How to Edit? Lightroom Basics 

Pic of the week - Majestic Acer Tree on Falcondale Life blog. Joining in with the #MySundayPhoto linkup. Photography blog.

Linking with My Sunday Photo

 

Photalife

Llanddwyn bay at Newborough - Our Favourite Beach on Falcondale Life blog. Llanddwyn bay at Newborough in Anglesey is a favourite beach for all the family with great swimming and scenery of beautiful forest and mountains around it. Digging in the sand at the beach and the trees of Newborough Forest. I was recently asked where in the world is my favourite beach. Even though I’ve curled my toes in the white sands of Zanzibar, it is much closer to home at Llanddwyn bay that holds the greatest appeal for me.

Llanddwyn Bay

My top beach is on the island of Anglesey. My old OS map calls it Llanddwyn beach but you will more commonly see the name Newborough which is the name of the forest and village nearby. Thanks to the dominance of Google maps the name Newborough seems to be sticking for the beach now too.

Llanddwyn bay at Newborough - Our Favourite Beach on Falcondale Life blog. Llanddwyn bay at Newborough in Anglesey is a favourite beach for all the family with great swimming and scenery of beautiful forest and mountains around it. Digging in the sand at the beach.

We have very happy memories of going there as a family, sometimes with friends or relatives but usually just us. We have had a few completely perfect days there. It’s good for swimming, sandcastles, damning little streams, flying kites and playing games. The forest has tracks for walking and cycling too. Did you know that a little sea-bathing used to be prescribed for your health? I have spent maybe an hour at a time floating on a bodyboard in the warm waves here. I have to say it does great things for my skin!

Newborough – or Llanddwyn – is a very big sandy beach with lots of shallow water and gentle waves. Thanks to the gulf stream it is often really warm. The beach is backed by a big pine forest and sand dunes. The view of the Snowdonia coast with all the mountains is the icing on the cake.

Llanddwyn bay at Newborough - Our Favourite Beach on Falcondale Life blog. Llanddwyn bay at Newborough in Anglesey is a favourite beach for all the family with great swimming and scenery of beautiful forest and mountains around it. Trees at Newborough Forest.

Getting there

Find this beach by driving down a forest track (toll road), away from the hustle and bustle of any town. It is only a 30 minute drive from Caernavon on the mainland. In good weather at weekends or in the school holidays, it’s wise to get there before 11am as the car park fills up and the barrier will close.

I think we have had five holidays where we have visited this beach. When staying nearby, if we wake up to good weather then we abandon any other plans and head straight for this beach. This place is top priority! If you spend the day there you can watch the light change across the Snowdonia mountains. It’s beautiful but it feels a long time now since we visited.

I have recommended Llanddwyn bay to friends who have found it breathtaking and enjoyed it immensely. Some friends went there in a mild February half term and still had a great time as there are some super walks in the area. You can go out to the lighthouse at the north end of the bay, or wander through the dunes to the south where there are wild ponies.

Llanddwyn bay at Newborough - Our Favourite Beach on Falcondale Life blog. Llanddwyn bay at Newborough in Anglesey is a favourite beach for all the family with great swimming and scenery of beautiful forest and mountains around it. A long shallow beach with views of Snowdonia Mountains in north Wales.

Tips for visiting the Newborough Area

1. It is very rural. Coastal cottages get booked up 9 to 12 months in advance, but road links are quite reasonable and local traffic is light even in August. If you find a nice cottage which is a bit further out of the way, your journey to the beach will not be too much trouble.

2. Check tide times before visiting. It is still a lovely spot at high tide but the beach is much bigger with more sandcastle possibilities if you can come when the tide is a bit further out. It is generally considered to be a safe beach but there are no lifeguards so don’t go far. There are some sandbars revealed at low tide which are super to play on. Keep an eye on the tide coming in behind you. Get comfy with a pop-up beach shelter and don’t forget a kite!

3. Supermarkets: There’s a Waitrose just north of the Menai bridge. A big Tesco just south of it on the mainland. A small but adequate co-op is in Llanfairpwllgwyngyll. While you are there why not get your photo taken in front of the station sign, which is the longest town name in Britain? In full, the name is Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.

4. Pubs with food on Anglesey are a bit thin on the ground but The Bridge Inn at Menai bridge is very nice. There’s a bit more choice for meals out in Beaumaris. A 30 minute drive to Caernarfon will give you plenty of options. Tea rooms and cafes are more common than pubs with dining.

5. Bring your family bikes. Newborough forest has several tracks and some cycle routes are also signposted through country lanes. Anglesey is a lot flatter than the mainland.

6. There are plenty of family attractions in this area of North Wales. On Anglesey itself we particularly enjoyed Pili Palas nature world, Anglesey Sea Zoo and Foel Farm park, all of which are really close to Llanddwyn bay.

7. Pursuits for teens and adults: If you’ve ever dreamed of cantering on a horse through the edge of the sea, then you can do this on Anglesey’s south coast at the riding centre. The scenery could not be better! Also from Porth Daniel in the Menai strait you can go rib-riding on a speed boat. A day out in Amlwch in the far north of Anglesey will give you a chance to see the island’s industrial history. Be sure to visit multi-coloured Parys mountain as part of this.

Llanddwyn bay at Newborough - Our Favourite Beach on Falcondale Life blog. On a holiday to Anglesey try to find time to see the multi-coloured Parys mountain near Amlwch.

Parys Mountain

More

Have you been here? Where is your favourite beach? Do comment below, I love reading them all.

Read my tips for using a camera phone at the beach or if you like the industrial history of Amlwch, read also my review of the Leeds Industrial Museum.

This blog contains affiliate links. If you click on one and then go on to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. This helps pay for the running of this website, and I thank you for your help with this. For more details please see my “about” page.

Adventures with a little camera, the Sony RX100iii on Falcondale Life blog. Superb image quality on a camera smaller than my hand. A review after two years of use.

A couple of years ago I lost my patience with my massive pro DSLR which weighs about a ton and gives me back-ache every time I try to go out with it. I bought the absolute smallest camera I could find which would shoot RAW and could be manually controlled. I bought the highest quality I could find in a really small compact. Image quality was a top priority. I want to continue to shoot images good enough to sell and to enter competitions (not that I have had the time). There were a few choices at that level but in the end I selected the Sony RX100iii. It just about fits in the palm of my hand. The image quality is staggering for such a little camera. Nearly everything I’ve shot in the last two and a half years has been on this camera.

Adventures with a little camera, the Sony RX100iii on Falcondale Life blog. Superb image quality on a camera smaller than my hand. A review after two years of use.

Superb dynamic range and detail with the Sony RX100iii.

Little camera – little viewfinder

I have had a few unexpected problems (or shall we say “journeys of discovery”?) with it. Firstly it changed my personal camera style. As it’s such a little camera, and my eyes not being what they were ten years ago, it’s a bit hard to see the detail either through the viewfinder or on the display screen.  As a result, sometimes I get the centre of the image right but miss errors at the edge.

Changing Personal Shooting Style

Secondly due to its size it is altogether far too tempting to just point and shoot with the Sony on auto. I am not one of these people that is wholly against auto modes (I could write a whole book on why) but I feel a bit led astray with this Sony. Again, it’s so damn small, it takes a little effort to adjust the settings. Of course I am comparing this to my DSLR where a button fitted under each of my fingers and I could adjust all the settings by feel. It’s not a fair comparison!

Adventures with a little camera, the Sony RX100iii on Falcondale Life blog. Superb image quality on a camera smaller than my hand. A review after two years of use.

High photographic performance on a dark minigolf adventure with the Sony RX100iii. The iPhone7+ couldn’t get a shot in this dark room.

Gravity and the Tiny Sony Camera

Thirdly the tiny Sony camera doesn’t make its presence felt. In some ways that is a bit of gift as I can subtly whip the camera out in places like streets and restaurants. It doesn’t attract the kind of attention I got with a large DSLR. There’s a nasty flip-side to this however. It’s so small and lightweight that if the whole camera bag falls off my shoulder I don’t even feel it. Luckily the first time this happened my daughter was following behind me and picked it up.

I was on a bike the second time my little camera fell without me noticing. It fell down my left arm onto the handlebar then dangled itself onto the wheel. I came to an abrupt halt because it had tangled itself in the spokes. It took me a minute to work out what had happened and it was properly jammed in the bike. Even though the camera was in a bag, the screen had cracked and the lens cover was dented.

Adventures with a little camera, the Sony RX100iii on Falcondale Life blog. Superb image quality on a camera smaller than my hand. A review after two years of use.

Macro function and a full range of easy-to-use manual settings on the Sony RX100iii.

Intermittent Macro

The lens cover was easy to fix and I can just about live with the cracked screen. I think it’s had a bit of a jolt however and has developed an intermittent fault in macro mode. Being just a little camera, it has limits and it’s not possible to focus for macro images without using a built-in auto mode. It’s not a huge problem as I don’t do a lot of macro shots. However on our recent trip to the American Midwest I was quite taken by the unusual flowers in the meadows. So many shots of the rarest flowers didn’t focus. I was relieved to get a few shots of any kind.

What Next?

Normally I have the camera bag across my body so it doesn’t fall so easily, but knowing my luck I could thump it again. I may have to replace it again sooner than I hoped. I would definitely consider another Sony. What camera have you bought that you would recommend? Please let me know by leaving a comment on this blog post.


This blog contains affiliate links. If you click on one and then go on to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. This helps pay for the running of this website, and I thank you for your help with this. For more details please see my “about” page.

This photo was taken a trip to the American Midwest.

My Sunday Photo

I’m moving my main weekly photography blog to a weekday but I do wish to carry on linking to My Sunday Photo – a linkup run by Darren of Photalife (see the linky badge at the end of this post). So I am selecting a photo from the forthcoming blog post each week to share on a Sunday. At least, that is the plan!

Please continue to send me your questions, topics and ideas for photography blog posts. You can contact me on social media, comment on this blog post or email me at attic.lounge@virgin.net

Pic of the week, American Meadow Flower on Falcondale Life blog. Link up with My sunday photo. Yellow midwest flower. Weekly photography highlight.

 

 

Photalife