New tools brighten old images

October 27, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

The past few years have brought impressive new digital editing tools. Tasks that were once laborious or even impossible can now be accomplished with little more than a click. While these tools bring out the best in what we're shooting today, they often bring new life to images we shot years ago and then forgot.

I took this image of Bellagio on Lake Como on a hazy, overcast afternoon in 2002. Rain clouds were forming, and the colors were flat. Nevertheless, the view from the water was so impressive I decided to give it a try.

The image on the left was the best I could do with it years ago. The one on the right represents an up-to-date interpretation done entirely in Adobe Lightroom CC. 

Bellagio, before and after The difference was Lightroom's haze filter, which I first applied to the overall image and then built up in the hills behind Bellagio, and the clarity slider, which I applied to the entire image, then built up on the water. I added contrast and exposure adjustments to the sky, adding detail that is not apparent in the small reproduction here. The entire process took five minutes, and the result is something that, with a more dramatic sky added in Photoshop or OnOne Photo Suite, could be a very interesting photograph. While much more could be done here, I've limited these changes that would not have been possible just a few years ago. 

The release of OnOne's Photo 10 in the next few days is going to extend the toolkit and will, as each new advance has in the past, send me searching through my digital shoebox to discover what might be hiding there, just waiting for the right combination of polish and brushes to make it shine. What's in your shoebox? 

 


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