Thank you for your feedback. The subject was quite mundane, but the light was wonderful. I don’t think that I did use a vignette on this one, but from memory there is a grad in the sky. The vignette tool in LR is really very powerful, and yes I think I probably have got a little bit carried away with it in recent times. It's the kid with a new toy syndrome, I expect. Ideally, if I do it well, the viewer should not be aware that it has been used – it’s a bit like HDR in that respect. We don’t want the viewer to see the effect, just the picture. All my old Zeiss lenses vignette quite a lot, anyhow, the amusing part being that now we have software lens corrections to take this out, and here I am busily putting it back in.
As I said, the vignette tool in LR is now very powerful, and it is well worth exploring it in some depth. All we are doing, really, is an edge burn as Ansel explains in “The Print”. The best way of getting this right is to apply a strong vignette and take all the feather off. Then we can see the exact shape of the mask, and adjust it to affect just those parts of the image which should be darkened. One does this by altering midpoint and roundness. The highlight priority allows us to reduce or eliminate the darkening in highlight areas, which is something we could not do in the darkroom. Then adjust feather to spread the effect across the picture to taste, and finally back off amount until you can barely see the result. Another useful tip is to remember that you can neutralise the vignette in a specific area of the image by using a reverse (lightening) grad filter.
The whole object of the vignette is to concentrate the viewer’s attention in the centre subject of the picture, and to prevent the eye “falling” out of the frame. But sometimes we can use it as an end in itself, to create mood, as in my Pier shot.