Photo from October 9, 2005

Sorry for the delay in posting photos. I got sidetracked trying to understand how Lightroom organizes the world.

Ce Soir (California Aster)
Point Lobos, Monterey, California

Nikon D70, Lensbaby 2.0, Tokina macro adapter
1/1000 sec, iso 200, 50mm (75mm)

I finally decided Peter Krogh has the only sensible explanation of how to organize in Lightroom. It’s not complete as there are needed keyboard shortcuts he skips over, but typical I’ve read becomes unworkable if you have 10k+ photos in your library. Pete also wrote a book, if that is your preferred learning modality.

In migrating from Aperture to Lightroom, the most difficult obstacle is Lightroom’s digital asset management. The only way to avoid saying it is decidedly inferior, I need to change my organizing paradigm. Once I’m in the referenced photo world outside Aperture, then I must use Lightroom Collections and Collection totally differently than how I used Aperture albums. Few explanations acknowledge this and most mix the concepts of storage, categorization, and selection, to the point of offering flat-out bad advice (like: “don’t organize imported folders by date because Lightroom filters are good enough”) Well that’s my thought anyway as it’s going to be a long multi-year slog to getting my photo library right.

On the weekend I shot this photo, I had drove down to Monterey because my girlfriend at the time was filming a beach-side wedding there. The detour to the Point Lobos State Reserve was totally worth it and I’ve previously posted photos of landscapes, wildlife, and wildflowers from this same hike, so this photo is nothing new. However, I’ve since lost those images from my library due to hard drive crashes, instead of the depressing task of reconstructing them, I selected a different image, one that would be best to process entirely in Lightroom anyway.

The only way I could shoot macro back then was a Lensbaby 2.0 with a Tokina wide angle adapter with half the optic removed. This turns the adapter into a diopter which can take stunning close up photos… if you manage to properly focus and expose it. Ideally, given how bright it was that day, I’d have put in a even smaller aperture ring because as you photograph closer your depth-of-field becomes razor-thin. Also, on the Nikon D70, putting a lens without CPU contacts means you lose all metering. Fortunately we live in a digital world which means I could just burn exposures and chimp for days, which is what I did. I like to think that I followed the rule-of-thirds on purpose here, but really you just keep shooting and hope something is useable.

In terms of framing, in macro photography the background is going to be completely out of focus, so it is important to consider what its tone it — the best would be blue sky or green grass. Unfortunately, with wildflowers there isn’t much green to speak of so blue sky it is! If you are not going to disturb the flower this means getting down and shooting from the side, which is how this photo was taken. This worked in my favor since a perspective that you normally don’t see is often a key to taking a memorable photo. I like to say, if you aren’t in an uncomfortable position when you press that shutter, you probably have a bad composition.

In terms of post-processing, I had to remove the sensor spots in the background, of which there were many due to an all-day of shooting a wedding on the beach. After that, Lightroom is really good at messing with contrast and colors so all I had to do is make sure things don’t get too saturated. Finally, a little digital grain goes a long way.

When I color sampled a part of the petal, my color picker told me that it was the color for the french word for “tonight” which I thought would be a great name for the photo given that the framing reminded me of a sun setting behind the horizon and an impending evening.

I should really revisit Point Lobos.

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