Hawk Dreaming Magic through Lightroom Magic

Hawk Dreaming is a magical sacred place so it is only fitting I use a Hawk Dreaming image to show a bit of Adobe Lightroom 2.0 magic.

Hawk Dreaming Magic

The image was photographed at my beloved Hawk Dreaming, home of Bill Neidjie and the Bunitj clan, in Kakadu National Park, Australia. Long time readers will be quite familiar with this, newcomers can read more by clicking here. It is one of the most magical places in Australia and I twice I have been fortunate to visit this incredible place with just me and a guide from Aussie Adventures (the area is sacred and closed off, you cannot visit without a guide)!

I am standing alone at the East Alligator River feeling truly at one with the landscape. It has been a humid and hazy 39 degrees warm day. Just as I like it. The wind has picked up and sweeps across the plains. The setting is timeless and takes you back tens of thousands of years. This is untouched. I am preparing to shoot Cannon Hill lit up by the sun across the river. But a bush fire has created a strong haze that eats and diffuses the setting sun so tonight’s light and photo is happening behind me. Always be aware of the light and clouds and approach with an open mind. Be prepared to shoot an entirely different scene than what you envisioned; you have to connect to the place and take what it gives you rather than force your own ideas! I do a 180 and move a bit to find a good composition I like that includes the clouds, ranges and savannah. I forget rule no. 1 when looking through a camera – look where you’re going – and nearly back into the river and join the crocs! I take a few steps forward onto dry land and end up making this image:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Sunset over the ranges at Hawk Dreaming
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Lightroom Magic

This is two images stitched with all post production done in the brilliant Adobe Lightroom 2.2. I develop the RAW files in Lightroom and then export for stitching in PTgui. I find Lightroom to be so intuitive, easy and powerful that I then import the stitched panorama tiff file back into Lightroom to do final post processing! Lightroom was made for photographers and version 2 is brilliant. For pixel editing, layers and masking etc. you need Photoshop – but Lightroom is now about 90% of my post processing workflow as Lightroom offers post production in such an easy non-destructive intuitive way that creativity is always at the forefront and not technical Photoshop skills.

Lightroom 2 offers some amazing features that I use a lot: Virtual graduated neutral density filter, Retouching brush, Spot Removal and post-crop vignette. You can accomplish the same using layers and masks in Photoshop, but it is a longer workflow and in Lightroom it is just too easy. You’ll be laughing as the Aussies say. Grad filter emulates a real grad filter but you can add as many as you like and then have the filter change exposure, contrast, saturation etc. This video shows the filter in action. I shot this using my Cokin ND grad filter but still ended up with a dim foreground as the dynamic range is huge. So I used a grad filter in Lightroom to add some contrast to the sky and lighten the foreground as I am shooting into the light and also another filter to brighten the foreground. Adjustment brush enables you to paint in adjustments such as contrast, exposure, saturation to localized areas of the image. I used it in this image to paint light back onto the ranges. Post-crop vignette is simply the easiest and most powerful vignette feature. Spot Removal is an easy way of healing dust spots and as this was shot at f/22 with a dusty Canon 5D sensor I had quite a bit of spot removal to do. Too easy in Lightroom! The small web version (downsizing can heighten contrast and saturation) here makes it look perhaps slightly overcooked but the full size large version is sweet .

Hawk Dreaming. Adobe Lightroom. I highly recommend a magic location with a touch of software magic!

13 Comments on “Hawk Dreaming Magic through Lightroom Magic”

  1. fantastic post and image Flemming ! I find it most interesting and informatative reading about your PP workflows etc. It seems like a lot of editing and time at the computer to me (considering I do little). But y0ur images look great, you obviously get lots of satisfaction from them and hopefully I can learn some things about PP myself. 🙂

    So go ahead post more on this topic !

  2. Cheers Michael, I was planning this post to be a long tutorial post showing all the stages but ran out of time and got writer's block. I will return to this subject and show screenshots etc. of Lightroom work.

    Thanks very much Tony! I aim for a sort of hyperreality look in my photos, reality with a twist, and like Ansel Adams I find the darkroom work to be key to this. It IS a lot of work, but then creating art shouldn't be easy hehe. With practice it becomes easier though, the above image is roughly 1 hours work all in all I reckon.

  3. I'm pretty much the same with my work flow, and I am a big Lightroom fan. Version 2 is awesome, I'm loving the graduated filters and brush tool. To be able to brighten a dull part of the image is sensational.

  4. stunning image Flem! just love the colours, nice sky really suits the whole scene. and then the peak of the river really tops it off! just magic.

    thanks for the great post too. i'd been thinking of getting Lightshop. so it sure looks like it has the tick of approval here from you, and quite a few others. it

  5. Version 2 is a huge upgrade to the old one. I had the trial which has expired and now I have upgraded to CS4 and Camera RAW 5 has alot of the nice features found in Light Room 2.

  6. Really nice shot mate ,
    Havent used Lightroom2 yet even though i have it on my computer will have to try it out shortly

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