I have been offered the opportunity to test a landscape preset editing package, created and commercialized by “Sleeklens“, a Danish growing company specialized in products for Lightroom and Photoshop, such as presets and brushes. In particular I tried the Through The Woods bundle, designed especially for landscape photography.
I have to say that I wasn’t familiar with the use of preset bundles, and that I generally love editing my pictures myself as much as taking them, and the idea of a tool doing it all for me wasn’t so appealing. I was therefore sceptical when I approached this bundle, but I had to admit to myself that I had not posted any new picture in a while, due to lack of time. The little time I could find, I preferred to dedicate it to spot scouting and shooting, rather than to staying at home and editing.
As this was the case, my hope was to find a tool that could speed up the editing process, leaving me at the same time “in charge” of it. And I have not been disappointed.
After the initial download, thanks to clear and simple video-tutorials, in a few minutes I was ready to go. Around 50 presets were added to the presets list in the develop window and 30 new brushes were available with just one click.
My first impression has been in line with my most positive expectations, and even better.
Some of the presets are “all-in-one”, which means that applying them you’ll be able to give your picture that particular look or mood for which they have been designed. Since I like to take my pictures at dawn or sunset, I’ve particularly loved those presets dedicated to bringing out their warm colours, together with that golden glow typical of these moments of the day.
The great thing is that once you’ve applied the preset that works better for your image, you are free to “fine tune” it, operating on the single sliders, as you would have done normally. In this way you can benefit from the immediacy of the presets, without renouncing to give your images that personal touch you like.
An additional characteristic I have appreciated is the fact that you can also use “stackable” presets instead of the “all-in-one”. In this way you can apply presets that modifies just a few sliders each, and stack them one on top of the other. The result is that you operate more selectively on definite aspects such as exposure, colour, tint and vignette, mixing them as you prefer and being more in charge of the whole process.
To conclude, it has been good fun to start playing with Sleeklens bundle, trying different presets gave me some idea about how to edit an otherwise much duller image and in a few minutes I was able to finish off the process getting a new picture ready to go.
Location: Lough Gill, County Sligo, Ireland.
What to shoot: You can play with natural elements as you like. What I have done here is looking for a simple, minimalistic composition, as suggested by the stillness of the lake. Autumn leaves in the foreground, two symmetrical rows of trees in the background, and a few surfacing rocks in the middle.
Ideal time to shoot: Sunrise is my favourite. The stillness of Lough Gill at this time is something worth getting up early in the morning.
Gear: Wide angle lenses to standard zooms.
How to get there: From Sligo Take the N16 signposted Enniskillen, at the traffic lights adjacent to Sligo Institute of Technology take the R286 to Dromahair. Follow the road for approximately 3km and then turn right at the crossroads signposted Hazelwood. After about 1km turn left into the wood and continue until the road ends in a car park, where walking trails start.
Coordinates: 54°15′29″N 8°25′35″W