How to develop an underexposed photo in Lightroom

I had fun rescuing this really underexposed landscape photo in Lightroom.

It’s a photo of Kilcrea Friary in Co Cork and I went out there one September evening in 2015 with a few others from Blarney Photography Club to shoot the sunset. I remember the day was somewhat cloudy so I hoped there would be a magnificent backdrop of yellows and oranges to shoot the friary against. It was not to be. It was a solid mass of grey and darker grey. We took a number of photos from this side of the building, but for this shot I was experimenting and completely messed up the settings. It was a 61 second exposure but should have been almost twice that. Luckily I shoot in RAW so there was plenty of data for Lightroom to work with. This short video shows how I developed and rescued the photo.

I posted the photo of Kilcrea Friary last December. Here’s what the finished photo looks like.

kilcrea-friary-at-sunset

This video was shot at the Automattic grand meetup of 2015. This is a gathering of everyone (or nearly everyone) who works at Automattic. All attendees have to give a short talk. Some people love public speaking, but most of us don’t, so this is the hardest part of the meetup for many. The talks are called “flash talks” because they have to be completed within a certain length of time. A few years ago it was five minutes and the limit wasn’t enforced, but because the company is so much bigger now the talk must be four minutes or less, with someone holding up a sign warning when you hit the three minute mark!

This one was filmed in Park City, Utah in the United States at an altitude of around 1,000m so the air is thinner and I hoped I wouldn’t run out of breath like I did the previous year. This time I had forgotten I was due to talk until about 5 minutes before and had to run halfway across the hotel to get my notes, running down stairs, up other stairs, sprinting along corridors and then back, doing the same. Finally seated in the conference room my bottle of water spilled it’s contents on to the carpet, my stress levels were rising and then it was my turn to give a flash talk. That was practically a relief after the hectic activity of the previous few minutes!

A few days later I gave an hour long workshop on Lightroom, sharing tips, tricks and techniques that improve the look and feel of photos. That was fun as I could go more slowly and into more detail explaining the various tools in the app.

The Camel Riders

The Camel Riders

Here’s Lenny, Kevin and Eoin (l-r) of Polldaddy fame riding on camels in Marrakesh, Morocco a few weeks ago.

The ride was through wasteland adjoining a rich neighbourhood of Marrakesh where celebrities have their homes. When you hear that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are in town they’re not staying in the Medina, that’s for sure!
The wasteland was surreal. Dusty rubble strewn ground dotted with palm trees and you may see a tractor pulling a water tank for the trees. The houses for the most part are surrounded by tall walls and are gated but from the back of a camel you can look over (and see more palm trees, I guess they like their privacy!)

The camels move at walking pace, and the 3km journey took almost an hour, about twice as long as I’d like it to be but our balloon journey that morning had to be cut short so maybe they were trying to make up for that. No injuries from biting but Chris’s camel did try to take a chunk out of Lenny’s camel a couple of times.

Aperture ƒ/8
Camera Canon EOS 40D
Focal length 21mm
ISO 200
Shutter speed 1/125s

Roadster Wheel

Detail from the wheel of a VW Beetle parked in an iron smith’s yard in Oracle, Arizona. This was taken in 2008 when Automattic visited there and I have quite a few other photos from that visit to show you, if I ever get around to working on them that is!

This was taken with my ancient Canon 20D. I’m half thinking of replacing my now-ageing Canon 40D (the shutter button misfires, it’s not as responsive as it once was, the body is creaking a bit) so I took a quick look at Ebay to see how much a Canon 7D body would cost. Ouch.
Other than the camera body my Sigma 18-200 lens has seen better days too. I had this lens back when I took this photo and it’s the main lens I keep on my camera. It shows too. The zoom extends if the lens is held upside down, bits of shiny plastic have rubbed off, there’s dirt stuck between the rings. Some would say it has character! I say I want a new lens!

Best start saving.

Aperture ƒ/7.1
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 10mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/125s

A Cabin in the Rockies

A Cabin in the Rockies

A small wooden cabin or hut sits in a car park near the houses Automattic stayed in at Breckenridge in Colorado. The original shot can be seen in my Flickr stream or in the Automattic group there. This version has been extensively dodged and burned to bring out the contrast between light and dark.

Late posting of today’s photo because of the camera club tonight. It was model shoot night and I got a few shots but I’m not very comfortable directing so I’m undecided as to how well the photos came out.

Aperture ƒ/8
Camera Canon EOS 40D
Focal length 59mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/160s