Thoughts on Photography

In Master Photography Roundtable by Jeff Harmon3 Comments

Lightroom Classic 8.3 Update

I don’t want to spend much time on this.  In the last episode I told the listeners that I couldn’t quite give my Photo Taco seal of approval for the latest update to Lightroom Classic, version 8.3.  I wanted to give it another week to see if anything else came up. Now that week has passed and I can give the all clear for photographers who depend on Lightroom for their business to update.  

If you update here in early June 2019 you will go to version 8.3.1 of Lightroom Classic. While I can’t guarantee that you won’t have any problems if you update, it is looking really good for most people and you shouldn’t have much difficulty.

Fix A Drone Shot

In an episode a few weeks ago that Brent did with Brian called Round-A-Bout the Art, Brian talked about a project he is taking on this summer (2019) to photograph the round-a-bouts that his home town are very proud of. He is going to create the images using a drone and he has already had a completely different client show interest in purchasing one of his drone shots. The trouble is the shot has some issues.

The image looks really good on social media where it can’t be inspected too closely and is seen on small screens. When you look at it on a larger screen or print it there is pixelation in the sky that is really obvious. So how would Jeff fix this issue using Lightroom Classic?

Use an adjustment brush to lower texture, clarity, and sharpness then raise noise reduction in just the sky without impacting the trees at the horizon or the clock tower. Here are the steps:

  1. Choose the adjustment brush in the upper right, it is the right most tool (or hit the “k” on the keyboard)
  2. In the panel that opens up on the right find the “Auto Mask” checkbox and check it.
  3. Double click on the word “Effect:” to reset all sliders to default positions.
  4. Hit the “o” (the letter oh, not zero) key on the keyboard so that as you paint in the sky you see red where you are painting the adjustment your are about to make. To help you remember this, think “overlay” here as in Lighroom will show you an overlay of where you are painting the adjustment.

    Bonus Tip: if the red coloring showing where the adjustment is being painted doesn’t mesh well with your image hit shift-o and you can cycle through other colors!
  5. Paint the sky and being careful not to have the red on the trees at the horizon nor on the clock tower. May have to zoom in to 1:1 in order to do a more detailed job at the edges.
  6. Hit the “o” key again to turn off the mask overlay
  7. Lower the texture slider -20, the clarity slider -20, the sharpness slider -20, and increase the noise slider +50. These values should smooth out the sky pretty well without making it no longer look like a sky with the clouds and colors that are there, but you should play around with the values until it looks like you want it.

WWDC 2019 Reaction

Brian, I know tech specs put you to sleep, but I think it might be interesting to get your reaction to some of the things that were announced here in early June 2019.


When updates come later in the fall, iPad will now have iPadOS instead of iOS which will be reserved for phones. This brings two big changes that should be important to photographers and make the iPad a far more compelling platform for digital photo editing  

  • Changes to allow better file access including connecting to external storage devices and allowing applications to access it without bringing the files to the local storage! This is HUGE. Probably the single most important change announced at WWDC thus far for photographers.
  • Use of a USB mouse. Jeff is excited about this prospect as he hasn’t liked editing with your finger or even the pencil (some photographers LOVE the pencil). Having some options to make it more like a desktop computer only make the iPad a stronger tool for photo editing.

Mac Pro

  • Apple announced that they are going back to their roots on the original Mac Pro from way back in 2006.  It looked a lot like a cheesegrater back then and the new one announced does again.
  • It is a modular Mac which means it looks a whole lot more like a PC desktop as far as being able to open it up and change out hardware (though far more beautiful of course).  
  • Super powerful options available.  Entry level machine offers 8 core processor, 256GB SSD, and 32GB of RAM for a WHOPPING $6,000!
  • This machine is NOT for individuals really. Not meant for those using iMac machines or even iMac Pro machines today. This is for the movie studios and content creators who have significant production budgets.

Lessons Learned From Indy 500

Brian has shot the Indy 500 for about 10 years now. He benefits significantly from knowing the event very well now. He knows the shots he needs to get and where he needs to be to get them. This allows him to


Brian: A nice gimbal to help get stable video, don’t have one yet.

Jeff: Black Rapid RS-Sport Strap ($90)



  1. Hey Jeff!

    This is a repeat of last weeks backup episode, seems you uploaded the wrong audio file haha

    1. No problem Jeff and looking forward to hearing the correct episode haha.

      It sounded so familiar at first and then when you mentioned talking about backups I realized I had definitely heard it before!

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