Playing with Lightroom

Good evening! It’s been an incredibly sunny and humid day here in Japan so I thought I’d cool things down a bit with my latest photo.

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This is a photo I took while visiting Nagasaki for the weekend. It is the view from Glover Garden overlooking Nagasaki Harbour. It was a pretty stunning view from the hill, with lots of commercial boats and cruise ships coming in and out of the harbour. I was very lucky to snap this photo of an old style steam ship coming through, which I think looks great against the backdrop of the modern city.

Here is a before and after shot showing the original untouched image where you can see the changes I made.

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You can see the original photo is quite pale as it was a very hazy and humid day. I used Adobe Lightroom to turn down the temperature of the image, giving a cooler, more moody effect. I also enhanced the shadows and decreased the highlights to bring out the detail in the sky. I used a gradient tool on the sky to blend this effect in to the buildings in the middle ground. After making these tweaks I added a slight vignette to the edges to bring the focus to the centre of the image.

I’m really pleased with the end result and it didn’t take me long at all to do. I have been following some YouTube tutorials on how to use Lightroom which are very easy to follow (details on which tutorials I used can be found at the end of this post).

Here is a screenshot showing the changes I made to the photo:

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Below is also a screenshot showing the graduated filter I applied to the sky. You can see how I added further changes to the blacks and whites as well as the contrast to bring out even more detail in the clouds. It fades out as it reaches the land.

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I really think this image sums up Nagasaki and it’s history quite well. Nagasaki has a long historical relationship with the western world, being the first city to open for trading with the west after Japan’s sakoku period, where Japan closed off all contact with the outside world for nearly 200 years, ended. I was standing at the top of the hill in Glover Gardens which is a preserved area showing original houses and commercial buildings built and utilized by western traders and business men who came to Japan to trade and revolutionise Japanese industries.

The park is named after Thomas Blake  Glover who was a Scottish merchant who came to Japan in 1863 to help  modernise Japan’s shipbuilding and coal mining industries, among other things.

The western style ship seen in the photo is very unique. Built in 1852 in The Netherlands and named Soembing, this ship was donated by the Dutch to the Japanese shogunate as a gift in 1855. Renamed Kankoumaru, the ship was Japan’s first steam powered warship, equipped with paddles. The ship you see in the picture is a beautiful replica built in 1987. Also made in The Netherlands, it was donated to the Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Nagasaki. It is now used for tourism where it can carry up to 300 passengers along the coast of Japan.

So there you have it. This is a little peak into some of my creative processes as I am learning the ropes of Adobe Lightroom (plus a little history of my subject!). I can definitely assure you that photo editing is a lot easier than it seems when first starting out. I think beginning with a small goal of how you want your photo to turn out by using only a few simple tools and making small changes at first is a good way to build up your skills. As I said before, I have been using YouTube tutorials on how to use Lightroom. I can recommend the tutorials by Anthony Morganti who has a series on using Lightroom broken into 30 minute episodes focusing on different elements of the software. For the photo on this post, I used the ideas and skills taught from Episode 2:

I hope you enjoyed my first proper post and if you have any thoughts or questions please don’t hesitate to post on here! I am also open to any advice or critiques as well!

Don’t forget, you can also follow me on Instagram.

See you later!

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