Notes : Daniel Ridings

March 19, 2007

Learning LightZone

Filed under: Photography — at 8:54 pm

I have seen how photographers I respect have had good things to say about Lightroom from Adobe and I started doing a little research.

In the course of that, I ran into LightZone from Light Crafts. Their webpage is at

I use Linux and Light Crafts is giving away the version for Linux for free. So there was nothing to lose.

Turns out that there was a lot to win. The program is inspired by the zone system instead of just curves and levels. It offers a more intuitive way to work for a photographer.

What I appreciate is the possibility to mimic split filter printing, that is, one filter to bring out details in the highlights and another to create some deep shadows.

I tried it on a jpeg (I didn’t have the TIFF scan available when I did this test … on the train) that is from a shot I took this week.

First proof with only Photoshop.

I did fairly well (needs some touching up, but otherwise I was fairly satisfied as a first proof.

Then I processed the image in LightZone. LightZone works with layers without pains (and non-destructive editing). When you adjust contrast, you can put in stoppers so that your adjustments only affect a certain part of the scale. So I could work with the highlights and the shadows separately.

An amateur’s first attempt at LightZone.

I think I am going to be able to learn this … and like it.

I’ll be ordering the Windows version and paying, no doubt about it.

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