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The Art of Seeing: Macro Techniques for Flowers and Plants

Lesson 13 of 15

Downloading Macro Images To Lightroom

Frans Lanting

The Art of Seeing: Macro Techniques for Flowers and Plants

Frans Lanting

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Lesson Info

13. Downloading Macro Images To Lightroom

Lesson Info

Downloading Macro Images To Lightroom

And after all the playing in the field is done, then comes, you know, the next step in the process of translating your vision from pixels in the camera to pixels as they appear on the screen and we have a little section about that. Great. Okay. Alright, Kate, this is exciting, let's see what you captured this morning and see if we can pick an image, that you would like to get printed. Okay. Yeah, so we see lots of eye candy here early in the morning, oh, this is interesting, let's open that up and not quite sharp there, but you know, you're getting in the zone, I like that foreground, but let's carry on a little bit, oh, this is nice, do you like that? Hm-mm. How do you select your images, do you use-- I use these ones. Yeah, you use one there? Just give it a star. Okay, so let's carry on, oh, this is nice too, very nice combination of yellow and orange, let's take a look at that full frame. It looks a little busy, huh? Yeah. Yeah? Yeah, it's different. Yeah...

, see the, yeah, everything is moving to the background, so let's move on, oh, this is nice, this is much simpler, oh, I like that, but it's squeezed a little bit at the top, Hm-mm. so not quite. This looks a little bit more plain, not quite as complex as what we were looking at earlier, this is just a quick first pass, but now this attracts my eye, yeah, we can crop that out. Right, yeah, that's good. Yeah, I like that, see, if we take that off the bottom, Yeah. shave that off the right. Yeah. So let's give that a star. Did you like the second one as well? Ooh, I overlooked that one, okay, so, I think that may be even better, so that gets a star as well. I think so too. What's that guy doing there? I don't know. (laughing) So then we went into the special effects, when I showed you how you can layer exposures on top of each other and I'm curious-- Should we look at the thumbnails, would that help? Yeah, that would help and I'm keen to see what you came up with. Let's get rid of the tabs. Yeah, there we go. I didn't feel as comfortable, this is something completely and utterly new for me. Oh, right, I threw you in the deep, huh? Yeah, it's okay, it is, I need to take a little bit more time for my brain to see this way. Ah-huh. But this looks interesting. Yeah, that one didn't come out too badly. So let's give that a star and this is interesting, because here you're combining your one frame that is sharp with another frame that is out of focus, let's give that a star as well and here, It's the same, but I just wanted to see how it, with an image isolated. Let's give that a star too and there's another one. Just take a look at that one. Okay. Yeah, you see, No, that didn't work. I don't like that blossom, you know, the blossom isn't good enough as a focal point, so let's take a look what you did with these lovely blue flowers, so this is where we're working with light and what I'm seeing is that your depth of field doesn't extend far enough. Hm-mm. You see? Yeah. That's not, but that was early on, but yeah, I am continuing to see that you're out of focus, Yeah, that's-- but the lighting is nice, yeah. But technically, I don't think there's-- What is the, F-stop on this one? Okay, let's take a look. See, F14, Okay. I think, so I think it was a matter of your focus, I think you've-- We jumped right into it and I just wanna make sure that we all know what we're looking at here, this is Adobe Lightroom, how many of you in this room are using Lightroom? How many of you are not using it? So one or two, which gives you an idea how quickly this has become the standard for digital photography image management, yeah, five to 10 years ago, there were a number of you know, front runners, that were vying for this core position, Apple had made a project called Aperture, Adobe came up with Lightroom and there's a couple of other programs, including Iview, Photo Mechanic, that professional photographers use to download their pictures and edit their pictures into the field. Most of these other programs have been losing users, whereas Lightroom has been gaining users and in my opinion, it is the single most powerful software, that you can embrace as a photographer, yeah, there's a lot of bells and whistles embedded in this program, we don't have time to go into a lot of them, but just look at the top side here, we're in the Library module now, this is where you can look at your pictures and organize them, Develop is what we're going to do in a few minutes, when Jim goes behind the controls, if you geo tag your pictures, you know, you can click on the Map and it'll automatically show you all the locations, where you've made your pictures, you can apply them to Books, to Slideshows, you can Print them and send them onto the Web, you know, your Histogram will show up here, lots of other possibilities. So let's carry on with the video. Focused in too deep, so your depth of field has pushed Too far. all the way into the flowers instead of, you know, coming a little bit more. There might be some more, Okay. a few more. Oh yeah. Oh yeah, there's, yeah. Now, we're getting sharper, so I see, this is a little bit cooler. I like this, Yeah. Yeah? So let's give that a star. There was a little ant, that kept walking around, when I was taking that. Yeah, yeah. So in here's one other frame, let's give that a star as well, then we go back to Grid View and now I wanna get inside, oh, that's nice, those are some of my favorite plants. Oh, are they? Yeah. I was using the, The Lensbaby? Lensbaby Velvet. Beautiful, 56 for that. beautiful. Yeah, really nice. Oh, I love that. Oh, I like that. I like it too. I think that's a keeper. So, maybe this one even more, let's select that as well and then we'll compare the finals and now I'm gonna look at what you did here in our set, so we have it with the aperture closed all the way and then we went back into this, wow! I just thought it looked like a plant file. Yeah, so let's rotate this, 'cause I think you shot it as a vertical, Yeah. But it doesn't matter how we show it right? No. And I think it's more convincing as a horizontal, let's look at a full frame, I think that's a winner. Yeah, that's cool. Yeah, I will give this one two stars, Hm. Okay. So let's look at this and then we have this one, let's take a look at that as well and then just like, okay, I think was towards the tail end. Yeah, that was the last few. But just to compare it, let's look at it, let's look at this now, let's go back to Grid View and then we'll rotate this as well, so we'll rotate it left and now we've got a full frame out, what do you think? I think I like the other one better. I do too, I also see some technical issues here, I think the focal point, a little too forward. Yeah, and as an image, I agree with you, I think the other one looked better, so let's take a look at what we've selected, let's look at all the one and the two stars, Okay. Okay. So now let's look at them together. This is one of the many tools in the Lightroom toolbox and that is you have different ways in which you can grade your images, you can tag them with flags, you can tag them with different color labels or you can tag them with different numbers of stars and I don't care what kind of method you adopt, but just adopt one of them and be consistent with them. So we started off conservatively, kind of ranking images by giving them one star and then the ones that really jump out were given two stars and then in the end, you'll see, you know, the best ones are getting three stars and they give you some room to grow. Let's roll the rest of the video. I think this is a pick, this one gets upgraded to three stars, Hm-mm. Yeah. Okay. And yeah, this is very different, but then you have another soft image, but what do you think? I think this is really lovely, you know. I like the sound of that. Yeah? Yeah, I think that's nice, that lens really gives a nice, it's not the same bouquet as other, Yeah. You know, as other, Yeah. it's just nice, soft. Yeah, what's nice too these feint lines of the building actually add an interesting structure. Give it a little more structure. Yeah, okay, so I've-- So which one of the two? I think it's these two. Oh, both of them? Yeah, 'cause if we, if we compare it with the others, this is nicely done, but it's a little bit more predictable, Average, yeah. it's not as personal, I think. I would agree. Alright, we've got two frames. Alright, cool, thank you. So let's send them to the printer. Alright. Okay. Let's stop right here for a minute, 'cause you know, you heard me make a very personal judgment there, Kate produced quite a few very nice images in the course of that day and the images of the asters, those purple flowers were technically beautifully executed, but with the other images, she made, in my opinion a more personal statement, now editing is exercising personal judgment and all of us photograph, because we feel we have to, not because we need to, so when I edit someone's work, you know, I'm looking for what is the best personal expression? What is the best image that fits somebody's personality or their aspiration and those are the ones, that I will give the three stars to or maybe even four stars, it's not your technical execution, it's how much of yourself you can invest in a situation in a way that the two of them come together, that is how I look at images. Great, well, you know what, I would love to know from Kate, if you wanna grab the mic, a little bit of how you felt about this experience that really analyzing your photographs from this standpoint? Well, I was gonna actually ask you, with regards to a lot of my work, when I have gone, sometimes it's better for me to edit after a period of time has passed, so I'm not as emotionally connected to the images I'm making and sometimes, you know, I have a visceral response to ones that I really liked, like the final two that we chose, I must have been elbowing you or something, 'cause those I agree, those were definitely the ones that spoke to me the most at the time. I was wondering for you in your own work, do you ever go back and edit again and see if your visceral response changes or does it change over time or how do you make your choices for your own work and do you recommend people going back and reediting at a later time or just go with what your initial response was the first time you sit down to edit? That's a good question. I believe it's a good principle to, you know, edit your images as soon as possible, while you still have a sense of what it was like and even more so, if you can go back the next morning or later that same day even, so do it as quickly as you can, even if the edit is not complete, Lightroom gives you opportunities to quickly grade images, without making it a definitive statement, but I also think that it's a good principle to go back to your shoot after a while, when some time has passed, 'cause that is when you can take a step back from the immediate experience and be perhaps a little bit more critical. You know, we're in the midst of preparing for a big retrospective exhibition, that will launch in the Netherlands in June, so all of you folks in Holland, who are still up, the announcement will come soon and you know, for that exhibition, I'm going back to images that I haven't looked at in 20 or 30 years. It all depends what the context is for which you edit and I think that's another key principle, you know, there are no absolute rules for what is a good picture, you know, a good picture really needs to relate to the application or to the user or to the originator and as I work as a teacher, as a mentor with photographers, the most important principle for me is to look at how somebody comes in, I usually ask somebody to send me a couple of pictures before they join me for a travel experience or for a workshop, so I have a sense of somebody's visual signature, where they start from and my gratification comes from sending people home with images that are very different from what they started with, yeah, I wanna nudge people, I wanna push people over the edge into a realm of photography, that they never thought existed.

Class Description

The beauty of nature runs deep. Every growing thing hides whorls, patterns, and subtle shadings of color that escape the cursory glance. Macro photographers are driven to capture these secret details, but it can be hard to master the techniques that allow them to truly evoke nature at its best.

Join renowned National Geographic photographer and naturalist Frans Lanting for this class as he walks you through the Arboretum at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

You’ll learn:

  • How to take great impressionistic shots freehand
  • How to use combinations of natural light, flash, and light modifiers
  • How to set up beautiful and controlled images
Frans Lanting has documented wildlife from the Amazon to Antarctica, and has made a career of recording the beauty of nature in vivid, transporting imagery. In this class, you’ll learn how he has distilled the quiet joy of discovering hidden beauty, and bring it home with you. Best of all, you'll be able to apply these macro photography approaches and techniques in the field or even at home with a bouquet of flowers on your kitchen table. 


JIll C.

I had the pleasure of participating in this class as part of the live studio audience in the Creative Live San Francisco studios. I really enjoyed the format in which two students had been pre-selected to visit the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum for a photo shoot with Frans Lanting about a week in advance of the class; then the videos were edited and played out during the class. Frans stopped the video frequently to clarify and supplement the information provided, so we weren't just sitting in a room watching pre-recorded material. Nor were we just listening to him lecture for hours. It was actually a surprisingly dynamic format. I also enjoyed the final session in which student-submitted images were critiqued by Frans and edited by Jim Cetechi (Creative Live host) real-time. It was interesting to learn how our images could be improved with just a few simple techniques, e.g. cropping, contrast, highlights etc. - all done in Lightroom. Frans helped us to see the potential for perfection in each image. I was thrilled when he didn't find anything to "fix" in my images :) Frans seems to truly enjoy "playing with plants", and helped us think about how we can use our photography to portray the beauty and significance of the natural world. I like the fact that he helped us to think about the potential of photography as more than just a hobby. He is an enthusiastic and personable trainer, well-versed in all aspects of photography, not just macro photos. I can't wait to add some of his techniques to my photography arsenal.

North San Francisco Bay

This workshop will give you everything you need to start macro photography, appreciate macro photography, and/or take your personal skill set to the next level. Frans really is a fantastic instructor whose love of teaching is obvious and infectious. He provides you the technical tools, inspiration, and has a unique ability to help you refine your own vision while simultaneously broadening the possibilities of that same vision. His respect for individual artistry coupled with his fined tuned eye of decades of experience puts him in a very elite class of photography instructors. You can expect to have a list of gear (much of out inexpensive and very effective) to put on your wish list as well as the urge to immediately go out and try what you have learned. If you have gone so far as to read this whole recommendation then go ahead and purchase the class. You won't regret it. Have fun!

a Creativelive Student

Frans is an inspiration. Not only is he an incredible photographer, but also he is an equally wonderful teacher. His ability to explain both the simple and complex in easy terms -- as well is the ease with which he shows as he speaks -- makes learning from him a treat. You can also see him come alive with excitement as he 'plays with plants' which makes you all the more excited. So glad I was able to take this course with him! Thanks, CL!