For a long time I have been lazy. Lazy with my landscape photos. While stating that “If I need more than 30 seconds to make the image look good, it’s trash” might be an idea, some images still deserve a little extra to show up nicely.

20200229-DSC_3990-PC Whites

Let’s start with the final result of a very simple image.

The final image of this post is the first one, don’t worry we’ll get back to it.

A few weeks ago I was in a park during a morning of heavy hoarfrost. I snapped a picture of a lone, standing tree and thought no more of it. When I got home, the picture looked like this:

20200229-DSC_3990-Imported

This is the image as imported from the camera, no development applied.

20200229-DSC_3990-2-Auto

As usual, I applied the Auto button for a good start,

20200229-DSC_3990-4-Blacks

then shift double click on Blacks

20200229-DSC_3990-5-Whites

And shift double click on Whites to define the optimal white point of the picture.

To be honest, the picture didn’t inspire me and it remained in the Lightroom Library, discarded, but just a little too good to be deleted permanently. I often keep these pictures in case a new version of Lightroom, or a new plugin or other program comes along and can do what I had in mind.

A few weeks later, I thought about the Tone Curve. I blogged about that Tone Curve about 10 years ago when it was first introduced in Lightroom 3. The download link is (obviously) no longer valid there, but the rest of the post is.

More or less.

So I started off again with my basic import like this:

20200229-DSC_3990-Imported

Don’t try to find differences, this is the same picture as above Smile. No settings applied.

Then I started playing a bit with the Tone Curve. I selected the Point Curve in the Tone Curve panel as this is the most flexible and most dangerous type of curve. My previous post about this shows what can go wrong if you overdo it.

First, I deformed the point curve from the regular straight (neutral, do-nothing) line into an “S” curve:

imageNote that the “S” is kind of irregular, not a basic shape.

The picture now looked like this:

20200229-DSC_3990-PointCurve

Still a bit dark, but already with a lot more “pop”. Since I am still lazy, I then applied my regular Auto button and came up with this:

20200229-DSC_3990-Curve Auto

Still not happy I added the Black point using Shift+DoubleClick on the Blacks in the basic panel

20200229-DSC_3990-PC Blacks

And then again the same for the whites.

20200229-DSC_3990-PC Whites

Just to show that the image result from my Basic treatment and the Extra treatment with the Tone curve makes a nice difference, here are the two side by side:

Auto+Blacks+WhitesTone Curve+Auto+Blacks+Whites

Left, Auto+Blacks+Whites, right Tone Curve+Auto+Blacks+Whites

As you can see, there is quite the difference between the two. I can hear you argue that these pictures are mostly Black and White pictures, I agree. But just imagine what you can do with this same Tone Curve on a near (but not quite) perfect image of a different nature?

Try out that Tone Curve, but remember one thing, if nothing else, “a little is already a lot!” in the tone curve. It’s very easy to overdo it and ruin a (near) perfectly good picture.

1000 Characters left


Henk Von Pickartz
4 days

Best of Luck in your new home Anton en Greet Dank je :-)

Anton Peereboom
4 days 20 hours

Best of Luck in your new home Anton en Greet

Henk Von Pickartz
5 days 21 hours

Best of luck in your new home! Thank you! :-)

Marian
5 days 22 hours

Best of luck in your new home!

Hilma Sinkinson
1 month 4 days

I am in love with your images of the cold prairie winters. I lived in the middle south of Manitoba and want to get a licensed ...

Dan Topham
2 months 13 days

As always, I enjoy your photo bytes and this one is right up there. After using the flip screen on lay Canon 60D I have ofte ...

Me
3 months 16 days

You mentioned swimming by one of your photos. I see no one swimming. Can we swim at Fort Whyte? They seem to have a dock o ...

Vernon Cole
3 months 22 days

I am looking to see if there are any pictures of the original house situated at Munson Park

John Pelechaty
3 months 25 days

---Great blog once again Henk - enjoyed it very much....

Henk
4 months 1 day

Thanks for that piece of info. I had a hard time seeing that burn inside... :-)