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In the Darkroom: Editing in Lightroom (quick post on leveling)

I have to make this a quick post. Most of you who work regularly in Lightroom or Photoshop already know about all of the leveling features in the Develop module. I thought I had a pretty good grasp of those features, but I find with Lightroom and Photoshop I learn something new every time I open them. It's also easy to forget things once learned but not used regularly.

I don't always get my photos level. I think I get pretty close, but sometimes things look a little off kilter. (Does anyone use that expression anymore?) I recently turned on the LCD level guide in my XT2, but I don't think I like it. I spend more time trying to get that lined up than I do thinking about the shot. Sometimes photos are leveled correctly, but they look a little off because of the terrain.

Lightroom has some easy to use leveling features in the Develop module. You can do all sorts of things there to rearrange the perspective. I like using the Level feature to compare my image to the software's thoughts on what makes for a well lined up photo. I don't always use the program's advice. But I realized recently that Level affects the horizontal layer, whereas Vertical will take a shot at...you guessed it...correcting the vertical lines.

Here's a comparison of two nearly identical images (one is the JPG version, the other the RAW version). The first one uses the Level feature; the second uses the Vertical feature. The differences are subtle. Next time I'll use either the JPG or the RAW and make a copy. The Fujifilm film simulation in the JPG version makes it even more difficult to spot the differences. I wouldn't say one is better than the other. Maybe they're both bad. But it's a quick resource to add to the editing toolkit. (Note: The featured image for the blogpost is a separate HDR version.)

 Capitol Hill, Seattle, March 2018.

Capitol Hill, Seattle, March 2018.

 Capitol Hill, Seattle, March 2018.

Capitol Hill, Seattle, March 2018.