Lightroom 4 is About to Soar!

Lightroom 4 is here!

Out of beta and into the real world—the photographer’s workflow, that is. We’ve reported on the beta version of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 and are preparing a feature for April.

You don’t have to wait, of course, you can download a trial and see for yourself or buy it now right here.

Stay tuned.


More (Lightroom) 4

While I’m waiting for Adobe to fix the video import bug in the beta of LR 4, I tested the built-in email support which works nicely. Now you can send photos directly from Lightroom. Setting up my Gmail account was automatic.


Click on image for larger view

Lightroom 4 Beta Bug

Unable to import video files into LR with the Windows version. Reports are popping up on the Adobe forums. Awaiting solution as the new video features are one of the highlights of the release. More soon (I hope).

Lightroom 4 Beta–First Screenshots!

LR splash screen via Zoom Street

Adobe has just unleashed a free  beta of Lightroom 4. You can download it from Adobe Labs.


LR screenshot via Zoom Street

The new Map module. Click image for larger view.

LR screenshot via Zoom Street

Soft Proofing comes to Lightroom. Click image for larger view.

LR screenshot via Zoom Street

Partial Screenshot: Email photos directly from LR.
Click image for larger view.


Here’s an excerpt from the Adobe press release:

New Features in Lightroom 4 Beta
Lightroom 4 beta is a major software update adding a broad range of new capabilities based on feedback provided by the photography community. All new basic tonal adjustment controls extract the entire dynamic range from cameras for stunning shadow details and highlights. The software features additional local adjustment controls, including Noise Reduction, Moire and White Balance.

New native video support gives photographers the capability to play, trim and extract frames from video clips shot on DSLRs, point-and-shoot cameras and smartphones. Many standard Lightroom image adjustment controls can also be applied to video clips and adjusted videos can be exported as a H.264 file or published directly to Facebook or Flickr.

Lightroom 4 beta provides photographers the tools to create impressive photo books with rich text controls and a variety of easy-to-use templates, as well as a direct link for photo book creation from within the new Book module. Also, a new intuitive Map module displays images already assigned a location, provides location tagging controls and saved locations for effortless assignment of a photographer’s common locations.

In the Develop module, the addition of soft proofing helps photographers tune images in a destination color space to ensure prints and Web content look their best. In addition, customers can now email images directly from Lightroom using an email account of their choice including Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail.


Windows shortcut with neon streak from desktop background

More screenshots plus a detailed report on the beta in future posts. Stay tuned.



The past is present and retro is still the rage. Actually I’m waiting for the 21st century to become retro, but until it does I’ll use Retrographer from Mister Retro. It’s a new (make that old) plug-in for Adobe Photoshop that transports your snaps back to the stainy daze of Technicolor.  It’s packed with 15 awesome vintage photography effects and over a thousand preset camera settings! Get ready to burn the midnight oil—you’ll be filtering long after the cows come home.

Give you shots a musty scrapbook feel…add a dash of grunge, a fistful of faded charm, a sprinkle of stains, a pinch of screwy convergence, and a heaping tablespoon of halftone splatter.

Yum… it smells like TV Dinners!

Below are some mundane shots from my archive that have been reborn in all their retro glory thanks to Retrographer.

photo by Derek Pell


photo by Derek Pell


photo by Derek Pell

photo by Derek Pell

If you’ll pardon the pun, these examples barely scratch the surface of what’s possible with Retrographer.

Each filter is customizable in the extreme. There are  four tabbed sections available to each—Camera / Lens / Flash / Film / Lab / Effects / Finish—with numerous adjustable parameters.

Courtesy of Zoom Street

And, yes, you can save your customizations so you can always go back
to the  future.

photo by Derek Pell

The plug-in is available for purchase here.

A word of caution: it takes over an hour to download. Then again, I guess that’s fitting for golden retro software.

Rank Items

Zoom Street Photo

The title is a red herring but I couldn’t resist when I found this photo in the archives. It’s the My Menu screen for the Nikon D90. This selection lets one change the order of the items in the camera’s customized list. As you can see I placed Battery info at the top as it’s something I check frequently—especially when shooting movies. This feature is also available on the Nikon D300s.

The video capability on the D300s is an improvement on the D90 which—need I remind readers—was the world’s first DSLR to include video capture. I’ve yet to try the Nikon D7000.


Since we’re talking movie mode here, Nikon’s 24 fps capture rate has a more filmic quality than standard 30 fps. Right off the bat you’ve got the soft quality of film. But that isn’t to say you’ll have the look your after. In this case you can reach for Magic Bullet Looks from Red Giant Software. It’s part of the new Magic Bullet Suite 11 mentioned in a previous post. (Watch for the review in Zoom Street’s August issue.)

Ostensibly a plug-in for Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects, you can access it from within Photoshop, too. I find this enormously helpful since I often shoot stills in advance of a video project and can experiment with various looks. I can tweak the effects and when I’ve got what I’m looking for,  save the “look”  and, later, apply it directly to clips in Premiere Pro.

Here’s an example. While scouting locations I took this still in a nearby park. This was to be the locale for the title sequence.

original photo

The photo was too crisp and realist as I was looking for a more ethereal feeling. Using Magic Bullet’s “Black Diffusion” effect I had exactly the look I was after.

with Magic Bullet Look applied

I was also considering making the sequence black and white with the contrast kicked up a notch..

b/w version

Magic Bullet provides a great collection of tools for either post or preproduction.

In the end I decided to stick with color. Below is a frame from  the movie.

video still

More info here on Magic Bullet Suite.