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Moody Swamp

I’ve got a lot of self imposed knitting deadlines to meet lately, and so I tend to approach my weekends with the expectation that there will be copious amounts of time spent watching britbox and making progress on my projects. And yet, the days have a way of filling up with other things. I still get some crafty time, but it’s definitely not the two full days of my imagination! This weekend, for instance, I found myself hanging around with the 15 year old more than usual, and on Sunday, we went to the Great Swamp together in the rain. His idea. “Bring the camera,” he said.

It was wet, unsurprisingly, and we had the entire place to ourselves. I don’t think that has ever happened to us before. It was nice. And a tiny bit creepy.

If the measure of a good weekend is how many nice photos you have at the end of it, then I would say this was a good weekend! (I even managed to bind off one tiny sweater and knit my way through half of another, so bonus!)

I processed all of the photos with a single new preset I am calling, rather appropriately, “Moody Swamp.” It will probably appear as a part of a larger preset collection in the shop’s photography section someday, but for now I’ll just tell you how I did it, so you can make your own, if you like.

The Moody Swamp Effect in Lightroom

I used Adobe Lightroom Classic CC (7.4) for this, but since I’m giving you all of the settings below, you should be able to replicate the look in any software that allows you to adjust the same settings.

I selected all of my photos together and enabled Auto Sync so that the settings I applied to one would then be applied to all. That meant they would have a cohesive look. This is what I did:

Basic Edits

The images were all fairly dark – I leave my camera on a setting that underexposes a bit. So I bumped up the exposure like so:

  • Exposure: +0.50
  • Shadows: +25
  • Whites: +25

The Moody Look

  • Tone Curve: I created a “flat contrast” kind of look, by making a gentle “S” shape, like so –
    1. Add 3 points to the RGB curve where the lines intersect, making 5 points total, including the one at each end.
    2. Drag the leftmost point to up a bit less than halfway to the next line.
    3. Nudge the point next to that one down just a smidge.
    4. Drag the rightmost point down to a bit less than halfway to the next line.
    5. Nudge the point next to that one up a little bit
  • HSL: Set Green Hue, Saturation, and Lightness all to -10.
  • Split Toning: Set Highlights > Hue to 56, Saturation to 15, Balance to +100, Shadows > Hue to 227, and Saturation to 50.
  • Effects: Set Post-Crop Vignetting > Style to Highlight Priority, and Amount to -10.
  • Calibration: Set Green Primary > Hue to +10 and Blue Primary > Hue to -10.

After that, I turned off Auto Sync, and checked each image individually for any exposure tweaks they may have needed.

And that’s it! If you have any questions about this process, let me know in the comments.

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