Cadillac Dream; Improving Past Performance
One of the most important attributes of Adobe Lightroom is the fact that it is not an image editor, but an image data base application. Unlike tasks you perform in Adobe Photoshop, which permanently alter files, tasks you perform in Lightroom that are related to editing your image are non-destructive, you are not altering your image, you are simply attaching a series of descriptive attributes to the image file. No matter what you have done to an image file in Lightroom, you can always return it to its original, raw file state. This means that Lightroom allows you to travel back in time, and “re-do” any image in the catalog.
This has proven very useful to me as my skill levels have improved over time and my self-critical eye has become more discerning. The original rendering I made of this image last year used the HDR process, and that processing resulted in a muddy image with no additional dynamic range other than the range of tones that are present in this rendering. The other outcome of my original HDR rendering produced an incorrect color tone on the body of the Cadillac. Today’s image was processed in a straight-forward manner, with minimal adjustment to overall exposure, highlight and shadow detail. Minor boosts in contrast and clarity of the car and a boost in brightness of the chrome and white walls were brushed in. A virtual copy was made of the entire image and that second image had clarity reduced and was darkened. The two images were then composited together in Photoshop, producing the bright, sharp foreground image of the car with a subdued background. I am very happy with the final body color, which to my recollection matches the actual body paint color of the car in life. Suffice it to say, I am now moving in a steady direction away from HDR processing of my automotive images.
Prints are available at: http://goo.gl/tC10m .