First and Last and Always

New in my black & white seascapes gallery. Lightroom tip below.

Waves washing over rocks at Humboldt Lagoons State Park, near Trinidad, California.
First and Last and Always — Waves crashing at and washing over rocks at Humboldt Lagoons State Park, near Trinidad, Northern California.
Click to open on Fine Art America (in a new window/tab).

I confess: I’ve been converted from mostly rejecting artificial vignetting (originally a shortcoming of lenses, often when used wide open – it leads to darkened corners of the frame) to actually liking the effect, and applying it… a lot. 🙂 Where it makes sense, that is. It’s useful to direct the viewers eye, but it doesn’t have to be applied to each and every image “just because”.

I often wished that it was possible to apply the vignetting effect only to a certain part of the frame though – most often, the upper one, to darken a sky – one could use a graduated filter in Lightroom for that of course, but the graduated filter is always straight, while the vignette is a nice curve. I also wished it was possible to add an “off center” vignette in order to add emphasis to the center of interest in the frame – which is most often not in the center of the frame.

Enter Lightroom 5 and the new radial filter tool! It’s not exactly new anymore of course, but since I only recently updated to Lightroom 5, it took me a while to appreciate the full potential of this new feature. The “trick” is zoom out to 1:16 and apply a really big radial filter, which you then place so that only its upper part actually affects the frame. This screenshot hopefully illustrates it much clearer and simpler that my explanation could:

Partial Vignette with LR5's radial filter tool.
Partial Vignette with LR5’s radial filter tool.
Click to open larger, in a new window/tab.

I hope you find this little trick useful. The radial filter tool is incredible powerful. I’m actually using no less than five radial filters for the image above!

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