Adventure Photos with Dark Matter Preset

You know what makes a great social distancing activity? Editing photos. I’ll often play with old images from time to time but now it feels like its one of the few options I have to entertain myself while I try to spend more time in the house and away from other people.

I’ve tried applying my new “Dark Matter” preset to a several non-Winston photos and the results speak for themselves. With the right image, this preset is just awesome for creating a moody, artistic feel that’s a little bit old film but still contemporary, and I’m totally digging it!

John hiking along the top of Cascade Mountain in the Adirondacks last summer. Ricoh GR III, 1/1000s, f/5.6, ISO 200, handheld.
John riding in a local “Bike for Bovines” xc mountain bike race fundraiser two summers ago.

First New Preset of 2020: Dark Matter

I have been doing so little photography lately. Winter in southern New Hampshire has been pretty pathetic so far, and we’ve been busy putting time and energy into other things. I really wish I could work a full time job that is only four days a week.

I did manage to create a new Lightroom preset I’ve been enjoying. Dark Matter is a high contrast matte black and white preset with heavy vignetting. It works really well for darker colored subjects on a light background (ie: Winston). I built in some exposure compensation, so its also ideal for scenes that are overall dark where you want your subject (more or less towards the center of the frame) to stand out.

RAW photo SOOC.
With “Dark Matter” preset applied and some selective radial filters.
SOOC with zero adjustments made.
Dark Matter preset applied, no other adjustments.
SOOC, hence the flying mosquito that hasn’t been cloned out.
With Dark Matter preset.

I’ve really become a fan of presets as a way to expedite my editing and post processing. I tend not to use them very much on nature images, but for portraits they can be super helpful in helping me decide which direction to go with processing. If I’m shooting assignments or otherwise in a situation where I need to bulk edit a lot of images at once and want them to have a consistent feel, presets are huge time savers.

Photography is no longer my livelihood, but I always consider it a fallback skill if I ever become miserable with my work or we need to relocate and I can’t secure a job in my professional field right away. After focusing much of my photography career on nature and sports photography I’ve learned that those are really difficult genres of photography to make money in, and I could see myself gravitating towards a career as a pet photographer or maybe even photographing couples and weddings (gasp) in the future. Should I ever go that route, I think presets will become a valuable part of my work.