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  • John Patota

Sanford Sunflowers - Using LightRoom Presets

Found this field of sunflowers in Sanford, NC along Highway 15/501 at the White Hill Presbyterian Church.


As a documentary photographer, I seldom use any creative filters - preferring to show the colors the way the natural eye sees them. That works for my sports, magazine and newspaper work.


For my own work, I've recently been experimenting with making LightRoom presets and using a bundle I bought from Jamie Windsor. Like a lot of us, I started using Kodachrome color slide film in the 1980's and wanted to get that look with my digital photography. Nostalgia? You bet!


My YouTube research came up with JW LightRoom Presets 3.1. Come to find out, Jamie has several preset bundles, but the one that drew my attention draws on the style of 3 famous photographers that have a style that I admire: Ernst Haas, Saul Leiter and Steve McCurry.


If using a preset cheating, then call me guilty.


Not very photo you take will lent itself to using a particular LR Preset. It depends on the photo and the look you are going for. Here's where your creative side can come out.


For these photos, I used Steve McCurry 3 Kodachrome preset. I though it knocked down the bright green of the leaves and added a Fall look to the yellow. You may know Steve McCurry as a National Geographic photographer. He is famous for his "Afghan Girl" photo taken in 1984. According to one source, the image was named as "the most recognized photograph" in the history of the National Geographic magazine.


Of course, Steve McCurry didn't shoot digital or use LightRoom. But to me it's a nice look, and different from my normal work, so I like it.


The shallow depth of field brings attention to this sunflower isolated against a partly cloudy sky. 1/8000 sec, f/1.8, ISO 200 Nikon Z 7, Nikkor Z 85mm, f/1.8





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