Cellpic Sunday – Cheese Ranch Park

Highlands Ranch

Highlands Ranch, Colorado.

I am gaining more experience with Luminar Neo. Since my post featuring a first look at the program here, I have learned a lot more about the program. It does have several of the promised new features, but at the time of this writing, some of the features of AI are missing in Neo (though still promised). It would appear they got behind schedule and felt the need to publish the product even though it wasn’t quite where they wanted it to be upon delivery. That’s just my opinion.

Before going any further, I would like to address the war in Ukraine. Skylum Software, developers of Luminar, and other photo processing software are based there. This post is written in early March. Here is a link to more information about Skylum and the war effort. Yesterday I bought a template set from Skylum as the proceeds from the templates are being transferred to humanitarian organizations that are helping Ukraine right now.

This week, I found a cellphone photo from a series captured in the park near a friend’s house in Highlands Ranch. I have been using older photos to learn what works and doesn’t work in Luminar Neo. If you are new to Skylum Software and want to give Neo a try, I would say, “Go for it.” They will only make it better. It has already been through two feature upgrades since version 1.0.0 went live.

If you’re used to Luminar AI and don’t want to try out the newest toys included in Neo, there’s no hurry. Luminar AI and its predecessor, Luminar 4, are nicely equipped and will work just fine until what I would call Luminar Neo’s final release. I might say, though, that if you are into portraiture, Neo appears to work better than AI, and you may want to have the current version to learn about its portrait masking features.

Highlands Ranch is one of the largest planned developments in the country and is large enough to be its own city, though mail addressed to Littleton Colorado will get delivered to the correct address in Highlands Ranch. Behind a friend’s condo, a large park beckons. Formerly part of the Big Dry Creek Cheese Ranch, Cheese Ranch Park still features a replica windmill, small pond, walking paths, and interpretive signs. I’ve featured images captured here before, but the image I chose today features a view of Big Dry Creek as it runs near the edge of the park. Houses adjacent to the park are visible in the background.

About the photo: After downloading from my Samsung S20U, the image languished on my hard drive as I had nicer images from the park to play with. Looking for something new to experiment with from within Neo, I decided to give this image a try. It was actually two images on my cell phone. I actually shot two views, one with a bit more sky than the other.

I started with Adobe Lightroom and used the panorama tool to create a vertical image. That left a bit too much foreground, so I cropped the image square, did my usual basic tweaks in Lightroom, and sent the image off to Neo. One feature I like in Neo is the ability to keep a history of individual tool edits. Early on, I used the Accent AI tool in the Enhance menu to adjust the entire image. After making further tweaks, if I were to call upon Accent AI again, all the settings are back to zero, and from there, for example, I could mask the sky and use Accent AI again to specifically address the issue that I wanted to adjust. If I specifically want to readjust my original setting, I can go to the Edits tab, find the specific instance of Accent AI and readjust it there. That’s something I couldn’t do in Luminar AI.

Another new tool in Neo is Relight AI. I used it to brighten only the foreground. I could have done that with a mask or even a linear gradient directly from Lightroom. Luminar Neo allows you to adjust foreground brightness, background brightness, and depth (demarcation point separating foreground and background.) Relight AI did a good job of adding light to the foreground images.

In WordPress, I used the Image Compare block to demonstrate the “before and after” result. The Image Compare block doesn’t allow a direct link to my Flickr images, but if you click on either the “Highlands Ranch” caption under the image or click here, you can pixel peep both images in 2K HD on my Flickr site.

I encourage fellow bloggers to create their own Cellpic Sunday posts. I never have a specific topic for this feature, and the only rules are that the photo must be captured with a cell phone, iPad, or another mobile device… If you have an image from a drone or even a dashcam, that’s acceptable as well. The second rule is to link your challenge response to this post or leave a comment here with a link to your post in the comment.

John Steiner


  1. Wow, you put lot of effort into this. I have to say, for most cell phone images, I just use the Photoshop app on my phone or iPad. You take this to a whole new level. Nice capture.

    • Something worth doing is worth overdoing. >grin<
      I haven't tried the editing tools in any of the photo apps, though just the other day, I went to crop an image on my phone and in the process, I downloaded an upgraded version of the Samsung photo editor. It's got a lot of pretty cool tools. I may have to do some experimenting with it.

  2. I’m still getting used to Neo. I think I’ll use it more when it has the full range of possibilities that AI offers. But my default is still PS Elements and Nik Efex.

    • I have used Elements for many years, but only for some of those special edits that truly require a major manipulation that only it (or it’s big brother) can do.
      I finally decided to move off of Lightroom 6 and got the latest Lightroom subscription with Photoshop. I still haven’t downloaded Photoshop yet, just keeping busy with learning the new (to me) features of Lightroom.

    • Thanks, Amy. Sometimes it’s fun to go back and find photos you overlooked and give them a fresh chance using newer tools and the set of skills I’ve learned since the photo was originally captured.

  3. About all I can say is I like the photo and the edit on the left a shade better than the one on the right.) I have not idea about any of the apps you mentioned. I use Picasa and Piklr, which are free, almost exclusively. 😦

    Happy Sunday!


      • Honestly, I’m a country girl, so Highlands Ranch never tempted me. I used to live in Roxborough south of Chatfield. We moved when they put a Subway restaurant in 2000. We bought a 35 acre ranch on the western plans about 40 miles east of Colorado Springs.

  4. […] The first picture was just after a spring shower, when a rainbow–with a natural curve!– appeared over Point Loma in San Diego, California. The sun was still rising behind me as I stood on my hotel balcony in my pajamas with my Nikon camera and cell phone, providing great lighting for photos. The moon’s curve and all of the storm clouds were highlighted by the sun, making for a peaceful start to the first day of spring; captured with iPhone 12 Pro Max for John’s Cellpic Sunday. […]

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