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10 August 2016

We were scrolling through our Lightroom collection of 60,000 or so images the other day when we came across this shot from 2009 taken at a farmer's market. We previously published a Friday Slide Show of those images but this one didn't make the cut.

For some reason, when we exited Lightroom, we left it looking at this image and when we returned to Lightroom, it came up again, as if to say, "Remember me?"


We did. It was overcast and several of us who had met at the market were done shopping. We were putting our bags in our cars and this trunk beckoned, the translucent plastic bags holding their finds as their strained handles stretched upward. In a church, the bags would be angels, eyes uplifted to the heavens.

But there was also something about the image that put us off. We thought about it a while before we realized what it was.

The color.

The color made it more of a snapshot. Flattered, no question, by diffused light but still a snapshot. Of someone's trunk. With a bunch of plastic bags.

While we were thinking of angels whose thoughts were ascending into heaven.


We had to wonder what the image would look like if we dumped the color and worked on it as a black-and-white composition. We'd still have the trunk but could we manipulate the tones of the bags to show what we thought we were seeing?

We had captured this as a Raw file so we used Adobe Camera Raw to process the data into a picture. We started with the first pane, the Basic adjustments, converted it to grayscale and shifted various underlying colors into darker or lighter tones.

ACR Settings. Basic, Grayscale and Effects sliders.

By adjusting the tonality of the colors of the vegetables and fruits, we were able to see them more clearly through the plastic bag. That's easiests to see on the onion and oranges.

Then we added two special effects. We used DeHaze to increase the contrast a bit and a vignette to darken the corners, minimizing the trunk.

We also used a custom Curve to increase contrast in the shadows. We can't show that because returning to the Curve tool doesn't show the changes, sorry.


We live in a very beautiful corner of the globe and a much photographed one. People often tell us how lucky we are to be surrounded by such beauty. And having been around the world ourselves and fallen in love with many places, we can appreciate both the beauty we have found elsewhere and what we have here.

But sometimes all you need is an overcast day and the trunk of a car to see something beautiful. And with a good camera and a little image editing, beauty is in the bag.

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