Lucas Gilman: Going to Extremes
“I’m always working ahead of the curve, using the next generation of digital cameras,” says Gilman. “The fast browsing feature in Aperture really shines by making the preview images instantly available while I’m downloading very large RAW images onto my Mac. This allows me to scroll through my images almost instantly.”
In his first-pass edit in the car, Gilman focused on culling top images from more than a thousand captured on his three cameras. “I give each image two or three stars, and the three-star images are the selects. In very short order, I had a hundred selects.” Back at the hotel, Gilman further refined his edit, assigning four or five stars to the final candidates. “It was really helpful to be able to use the Aperture Loupe tool to closely compare those four- and five-star images,” he says.
All in the Details
When he had his final selects, Gilman used the editing tools in Aperture to enhance them. “Shooting white water is really tough because it’s so high-contrast,” says Gilman. “A lot of times the whites will blow out because with sunlight on white, there’s basically no data there. But Aperture is really good at holding the highlights and recognizing nuanced detail. The Highlights & Shadows tool let me go in and pull out that detail, which really improved some of the shots.”
When he was satisfied with his take, Gilman transferred to his client 50 finished pictures from the 1420 he’d originally shot. The Palouse Falls images have since been published in more than 200 magazines and websites around the world.
A View to a Better Workflow
Since completing the Palouse shoot, Gilman has introduced a MacBook Pro with Retina display into his Aperture-based workflow, with spectacular results. “It’s my favorite Mac ever,” he says. “Although it’s just slightly bigger than a 13-inch MacBook Air, it lets me power through any edit with ease. And the Retina display is so rich I can almost feel the texture in my images.”
Faster image processing and enhanced viewing would help any photographer, but they’re essential for Gilman, who regularly produces high-volume streams of pixel-heavy images from whichever exotic location he lands in. “I traveled 125,000 miles last year, so I’m on the road a lot,” he says. “I don’t have a bunch of assistants, and I don’t have time for hours of digital editing. Because my business model relies on creating a large and constant flow of content to the people who hire me, I’m chiefly interested in getting my best images edited and out the door as quickly as possible.”
With his augmented workflow, Gilman reports that he is getting unprecedented image throughput in the field, where he does so much of his photo prep: “Aperture and the MacBook Pro with Retina display have worked seamlessly to provide the most fluid image workflow I’ve ever used. So whether I’m in the middle of a jungle in South America or in the back of a car traveling across India, I can manage my daily selects more efficiently and move on to shoot other locations because I’m confident I’ve nailed it. At the end of the day, I’m producing more content and more well-rounded stories — just a better body of work.”