Trusting the Software
The photographers I admire can (or could) anticipate the tools needed to produce a certain effect, and get it right more often than not. I aspire to that level of mental preparedness and fluency in the craft. Since I remain a rank amateur, there have been far too many days when I just can’t make the tools do what I want, all of which ended with me throwing away images which a better photographer would know how to process. Today was almost one of those days, but this time, the tools came to my rescue: the programmers at Adobe seem to have anticipated exactly what I wanted to do.
Every so often the twilight resolves into this sort of lovely full-spectrum pattern when the sun is far enough below the horizon. I’ve seen it many times and have never successfully photographed it until now. The red on bottom and blue on top are easy; it’s the yellow and green in the middle that have always frustrated me. I was pretty frustrated tonight as well after hacking at it in Lightroom for a while, and in desperation I headed over to the presets. I idly moved my cursor over the Cross Process 2 preset and, wouldn’t you know, there were my yellows and greens. Unlike the others, the Cross Process 2 preset doesn’t perform hue shifts, only saturation and luminance. With the preset as a base I tweaked the tone curve and shifted the blues, which had turned cyan, back to blue.
Funny thing is, I had tried to do something similar without a preset five minutes earlier, but I had failed. I still don’t understand why a modified version of Cross Process 2 did exactly what I wanted, and I am angry with myself that I couldn’t develop this image without help, but I’m glad at least that I didn’t throw it away.