By Vicki Uthe

I spent last spring break in Panama with my beautiful wife Ellen. I have nearly two thousand images to sort through and I hope you are as excited to see them as I am to share them.

I’m going to begin this blog with where we left off in Panama, on the San Blas Islands of the Guna Yala, an indigenous tribe in Panama’s Caribbean Sea.

When I first downloaded the images I was extremely disappointed that I wasn’t able to capture the true color of the blue green water surrounding the islands.  And then I figured it out. In Lightroom, in the Develop module, right below Basic, is a tab marked HSL / Color / B&W.  I clicked on that, scrolled down to Saturation, clicked on the little cross to the left, took it over a color I wanted to enhance and wah-lah! saturated colors! MUCH more like the colors we experienced on the islands, even with cloudy skies.

This is the image after I worked on it.

Here is another before/after example with the beach, palm trees, water and sky.

The following images all were enhanced using the same tool. You also have a choice of enhancing the Hue and Luminance, all of which can give you results closer to what you actually saw.

I know I spent the few days we had on these islands pinching myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.

The colors were so amazing and vibrant. I was so glad and relieved to discover I could convey those colors in my images.

In order to do this, though, you have to shoot in RAW, not JPG. As one of my favorite photographers puts it, imagine you have a bucket of pixels and information (that’s RAW) as opposed to a cup. That’s JPG. RAW gives you much more latitude when it comes to post processing your images. It will also use up more of your memory card so be sure to use big enough ones that you won’t run out on a shoot.

There are other post processing softwares out there, I happen to use Lightroom for organizing and post processing.

Don’t be scared, switch that camera to RAW and give yourself more creative options when post processing your fabulous images.

Happy Shooting!!

Vicki Uthe is a Volunteer Photo Guide with Arizona Highways PhotoScapes

Before and After Image

By Amy Horn

During a recent visit at the Wildlife World Zoo in Litchfield Park, AZ, I captured this monkey photo in mid-afternoon light. I loved the moment when the monkey walked across the log, but didn’t feel the mid-afternoon light added to the photo. I couldn’t go back later, so I thought about what would make a stronger image. First, isolating the monkey from the background would help the animal to stand out. So, I used the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom and increased exposure while decreasing clarity, this evened out the exposure and softened the background. Next, I converted the image to black and white using Nik Silver Efex Pro. The “fine art, high key, framed” preset gave me the look I wanted. And like that, I transformed a mid-afternoon light into something better! Follow the process through the images below.





Amy Horn is an Instructor with Arizona Highways PhotoScapes

Adobe Lightroom: Making Photos Look Great Again

Author:  Megan Galope

Have you ever taken a photo on a trip, and then once you’ve uploaded it to your computer, wondered why exactly you took that photo? You must have seen something to want to capture the scene, but on your computer the colors and lighting just look, well, blah. It’s very tempting to throw these photos out. Before you do, however, it may be worth playing around with them in Lightroom to see if you can figure out exactly what you saw in the first place.

I recently took this photo on a trip to the Tetons in Wyoming. Looking at it just after importing it in Lightroom didn’t thrill me.


So I decided to see what I could do with it. Just using the dehaze slider made a big difference:


Tweaking the exposure and contrast brought out the sky and mountains a bit more:


Decreasing the highlights and opening up the shadows made an even bigger difference:


A few more tweaks to clarity, vibrance, temp and tint gave me this:


I then used the adjustment brush to bring out the pine tree a bit more:


Here are the before and after versions of the same photo:


Lightroom helped me remember why I took this photo in the first place!

To learn more about Adobe Lightroom, Arizona Highways Photo Workshops is offering Adobe Lightroom 101, 102 and 103 courses. Each course is one day and is instructed by photographer Suzanne Mathia. You can find out more about these courses here: http://www.ahpw.org/workshops/.

Megan Galope is a trip leader with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.


Adobe Lightroom: How to make your skies bluer

Author: Megan P. Galope

Have you ever had a photo that you really loved, but wished that the sky was bluer? Here’s how you can fix that in Adobe Lightroom.

Photo 1

In the Develop module on the right-hand side, scroll down to HSL / Color / B & W and click on the arrow to the right to open the panel. Be sure you are on the HSL tab (this is the default). Then click on the Luminance tab:

Photo 2One way to darken the sky is to move the slider next to Blue to the left. However, your sky may actually also contain some Aqua or Purple. The easiest way to darken the sky when you don’t know what colors it contains is to use the Targeted Adjustment tool in the upper left corner of the panel:

Photo 3

Click once on this tool, then go to an area of the sky in your photo. Click and drag the mouse downward. This will darken all colors in your sky. Dragging the mouse upward will lighten the colors in your sky. You can play around with dragging up and down until you get the color of sky that you desire. When you are done, click on the Targeted Adjustment tool again to turn it off.

Note that when you change the Luminance of a color, it will change it for the entire photo. So if you have other blue/aqua/purple items in your photo (e.g. water), those will also be affected.


Photo 4

To learn more about Adobe Lightroom,  Arizona Highways Photo Workshops is offering Adobe Lightroom 101, 102 and 103 courses. Each course is one day and is instructed by photographer Suzanne Mathia. You can find out more about these courses here: http://www.ahpw.org/workshops/.

Megan Galope is a trip leader with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.

Mac Lightroom Users: How to Stop Photo application on Mac from Opening

Author:  Christina Heinle

If you’re you’re a Mac and Lightroom user, you’ll understand the frustration of importing your photos into Lightroom and having the native Mac photo program automatically opening too.

To stop the Mac Photo program to stop automatically opening follow these simple steps.

  1. With or without Lightroom open, insert your SD or Compact card into the computer/card reader.
  2. If the message comes up about the Cloud, click Not Now.  Otherwise continue to the import screen.
  3. UNCHECK “Open Photos for this device”
  4. Quit Photo program (Ctrl Q)


That’s it.  Next time you go to import your photos, the Mac Photo program will not open.

Christina Heinle is a trip leader for Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.

Spot Removal: Cloning vs Healing

Author: Christina Heinle

One of the great tools in Adobe Lightroom is the spot removal tool.  There are two brushes within the spot removal tool, Clone and Heal.   While similar in nature, they act differently and understanding the difference changes your results.

The basic difference between the clone and healing brush is the clone stamp tool copies pixels while the healing brush blends surrounding pixels.

While editing a picture I noticed the top of the lightest is blurry.  It wasn’t a specially windy day that would cause that much motion;  on closer inspection I saw there was a netting causing the blurred look.


Changing my view to 3:1 I was able to see the netting which I wanted to remove.


Using the spot removal tool with zero feather, I drew a line across the top of the light.  You can see the healing tool makes a muddied mess of the pixels blending everything together.


On the other hand, if you compare the healing tool to the clone tool where the clone tool strictly copies and replaces, the results are much cleaner.


If you have trouble deciding which tool is best, you can always try both and determine which tool gives you the best results.



Christina is a trip leader for Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.  To see more of Christina’s work visit www.christinaheinlephotography.com

Hidden at the Bottom- New Dehaze Tool in Lightroom

Author: Joel Wolfson

1BEFORE: This is an image I shot on a hazy day while conducting my Villages of Tuscany photo workshop a few weeks ago. It is rather lackluster prior to using the new Dehaze control in the latest release of Lightroom. See the “After” photo below.

2AFTER: Here’s the same image after using the Dehaze slider set to +56. As a result of what this slider does I also had to bump up the exposure by .30 and change the hue of the sky from a funky looking cyan to a more realistic blue.

If you scroll nearly all the way down the palettes in the Develop module of Lightroom’s latest release, at the bottom of the Effects panel, you’ll find a wonderful new slider called “Dehaze”.

Although it will provide an effect that seems to reduce haze in an image it has more uses than that. Really it’s a much more useful clarity slider than the one in the Presence section of the Treatment panel in Lightroom.

Some of you may remember Lightroom’s old Clarity slider before Adobe “improved” it, but really making it useless for more images than it helps. Thankfully, DeHaze can be used as a much better version of the Clarity slider to help add depth to an image.3

BEFORE: I shot this in May while scouting locations for my Villages of Provence photo workshop in France. This is from the raw file prior to any adjustments in Lightroom. See below for how I used the Dehaze slider to add a sense of depth and bring out details.4AFTER: Although not its intended use, I like the new Dehaze slider in Lightroom to quickly add a sense of depth to my images. For this image of the poppies I set Dehaze to +46. I also had to move my Exposure slider in Lightroom to +.30 to compensate for some darkening created by Dehaze.

In many cases it can save you the time of having to go into Topaz’s Clarity plugin (one of my most used plugins). The effect of Dehaze is similar to the effect you get using the micro and low contrast sliders in that plugin. It certainly won’t replace Topaz Clarity but it should mean fewer trips to Photoshop.

The slider goes from -100 to +100 with 0 being no adjustment. The positive direction reduces haze and negative numbers make your photo more hazy and muted. You’ll find you need to do some additional adjustments after using Dehaze in the positive direction, which is how most of us will use it. In many cases you will need to brighten your image with the exposure slider and decrease the saturation a bit, particularly in landscapes. Hazy landscapes will tend to have cyan skies and the Dehaze slider really saturates the skies. You may find yourself using the Hue targeted adjustment tool to change that intense cyan to a more realistic blue even after desaturating overall.

Check out my examples above and enjoy using this somewhat hidden but useful new slider in Lightroom CC 2015.

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Here is a link to his website.  Joel is an instructor with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.