As normal, there was no specific subject for discussion tonight, but this was quickly established when Darren asked for some advice on conversion of RAW files to JPG or TIFF format.
I took this opportunity to demonstrate the whole raw conversion process using Adobe Lightroom. A few days ago Deborah had a post on Facebook about a one-day offer from Adobe. This allowed the purchase of Adobe Lightroom 3 at 50% of normal purchase price, £118 instead of £237. I recirculated this immediately and I know that a number of people immediately took up on the offer before the midnight deadline. It was a magnificent offer. Some sceptics said that this was a forerunner of the release of Lightroom 4. Maybe it is but the facilities in the current version 3 are more than adequate for most people.
After a preamble explaining the benefits of shooting in Raw, supported by David Best, eight of Darren’s photos of Ballyholme Bay were imported into Lightroom. I explained to those present that the interface in Lightroom is almost identical to Adobe Camera Raw which is invoked when loading a Raw file into Photoshop Elements.
Darren’s RAW files really didn’t need much adjustment, however I used some of them to demonstrate how to control the clipping caused by overexposure typically found in skies and clouds. The use of the Graduate and Brush tools, which I believe to be some of the most useful in Lightroom, was shown where overexposed skies, underexposed foregrounds can be corrected.
Helen submitted a memory stick with some raw files taken on the day out at Glenariff, earlier in the year. She had some lovely waterfall shots, which I used to demonstrate the Lightroom tools.
One thing which confused the evening was the fact that the two large clocks at either end of the clubroom were still on BST.
Angus and Peter also submitted photos. Angus had a selection of fireworks shots taken in Eniskillen. Some unusual and interesting effects with handheld long exposures. I suggested that he might try resting the camera on a wall or use a cheap tripod. Peter had some good shots taken at Portaferry. We had some debate about sharpness and whether it was because of the sea conditions or that it was taken at the long end range of a 70-300 lens.
I brought in a photobook of my Baltic trip, produced by Albelli. It was an opportunity to prepay £50 and get up to 120 pages, gloss, lay-flat and with a photo cover which would have otherwise cost £135. I was pleased with the quality of the book production and would recommend it to others. Albelli are regularly offering good discounts.