Hooded Mergansers and Lightroom 4 beta

This is not a great picture but it was nice to actually get some images of hooded mergansers on my hard disk the other day.  I shot this in bright near-noon sun at Ridgefield NWR.  The birds were moving fast and the opening in which they were located was pretty small.  I jumped to the other side of the car and shot as they traveled across the opening.  When I loaded the files into LR3 (my normal practice) I was disappointed to find that the white breast on the male was blown out and that it could not be recovered with the recovery slider.  Bye bye whites!  Drat.

I have downloaded the beta version of LR4 and am running it on a laptop with Windows 7.  In order to upgrade to LR4 once it is available I’m going to have to look at replacing the operating system on my PC – move from XP to Win7 – or move to another machine totally.  Time for a 27″ iMac?  Hmmmm.

Anyway, I brought one image into LR4 to see how it did with the whites.  I’ve heard great things about the LR4 beta and it represents a total redo of the RAW conversion we know now in LR3 or ACR.  With a small decrease in exposure and a small tweak of the Highlights slider, the blownout whites disappeared from the histogram.  Now, the breast of the bird still looks absolutely blown out to me but the histogram says that the whites are now less than 255.  Frankly, I was amazed at how little adjustment it took to recover the bright part of the histogram and look forward to experimenting more with LR4.  I won’t do too much in the beta except play around but it sure looks like a promising upgrade so far.

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2 thoughts on “Hooded Mergansers and Lightroom 4 beta

  1. Nice shot Bruce, of this awesome merganser pair! I, too, am trying out LR4 beta and like what I see so far. Still have a lot of testing to do on it. I really like that the adjustment brush now can control noise. Good stuff!

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