Posts tagged “efex

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaeltuuk/7162405578/in/photostream

Fenway Park in HDR, 17mm, f/13, 3-exp, ISO 100

Here’s another view of Fenway Park which I processed as an HDR.  I took a bunch of pictures around the place a few weeks ago and am only now getting around to looking at most of them.  The back of the scoreboard provides a nice main subject IMO.  Ideally I would have gotten the foreground people at full height (i.e. head-to-toe) in these shots but my lens wasn’t capable of that at this tripod height (and I didn’t like the perspective with the tripod all the way down near the ground). I took lots of exposures (range of 7-9 stops…can’t remember) but only used three of them for this image.  Why only three?  Because I don’t mind a few blown-out highlights where “appropriate” and I certainly don’t mind shadows without detail.  In fact, my number one criticism of HDRs is that many people process them in a way which brings out far too much detail in the shadows and eliminates too many of the blacks.

Processing…After running the three exposures through Nik HDR Efex Pro I brought the image into Photoshop with the three original exposures.  I only ended up using two exposures: One for partially blending in the sky to help keep the colors reasonable-ish and the other one was masked in for the street and people (after an exposure tweak).  As always I used several masked curves adjustment layers (in luminosity blend mode because this image had plenty of color saturation already).  The jet contrail bugs me but I’d make a mess of it if I tried to clone it out.  Since I was standing below the sign and using a wide-angle lens the perspective (tilt on the sides) was rather extreme.  A quick free transform was used to stretch out the top corners of the image somewhat.  I didn’t attempt to eliminate all the distortion of course.  After this type of stretching with a free transform, the height of things (the people in particular) gets a bit squashed so I used a reverse crop and another free transform to stretch the image vertically and bring the people back to normal.  Maybe I’ll do a poor-man’s tutorial (the only kind I have the skills for) showing those steps in an upcoming post.


Trying Out Nik HDR Efex Pro

http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaeltuuk/6866574467/in/photostream

Kauai Coastline (Nik HDR Efex Pro) 17mm, f/22, 7 exposures, ISO 400

I recently downloaded a trial version of Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro.  I’d been semi-disappointed in many HDRs I’d created in Photomatix and had heard many people say they’d made the switch to Nik.  If you’re hoping for a complete review of Nik HDR Efex Pro I apologize in advance — I’m only going to give some impressions here.

First, a bit on Photomatix.  It’s great software in many ways and I’ve used it to make many cool (IMO) images.  However, in many of my HDRs of late I’ve ended up doing so much masking in Photoshop after tone mapping in Photomatix that I’m practically producing a composite of the original exposures.  Photomatix often doesn’t handle motion to my liking — leaving way too much work to do afterwards.  I’ll readily admit that it could be the user — I’m no wizard with Photomatix.  It could also be that I’m getting pickier as time goes on.  On the plus side, I find Photomatix to be much faster than Nik but I don’t process all that many HDRs so that’s not a huge factor.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaeltuuk/6866428629/in/photostream

Pictures in Glass 24mm, f/2.8, 3 exposures, ISO 100

I used Nik HDR Efex Pro to process all but one of the images in this post.  For my own comparison purposes I processed another Hawaii coast photo — similar to the one at the top of this post — with Photomatix.  It’s not completely apples-to-apples since I didn’t process the *same* photo but I ended up having to spend a ton of time in Photoshop fixing up the Photomatix image (basically ending up with a composite as I mentioned above).

http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaeltuuk/6866594001/in/photostream/

Horse 30mm, f/11, 6 exposures, ISO 100

As for the mechanics of using Nik HDR Efex Pro, it’s quite simple.  In each of the images (5-ish?) that I’ve processed with it I’ve started out with a preset and tweaked from there.  Of course I’m still learning all the sliders, etc. but I’m happy with it so far.  I find the “control point” concept useful (it defines circles in which you can separately tweak portions of the image) but I would prefer that it worked more like the adjustment brush in Lightroom where you can choose exactly where the effects are applied.  The final images here aren’t completely to my liking (some spots would get fixed if I were to spend more time on the images) but are illustrative enough for this post.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaeltuuk/6866431907/in/photostream/

28mm, f/14, 7 exposures, ISO 400

http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaeltuuk/6866568557/in/photostream/

Kauai Coastline (Photomatix "composite") 17mm, f/22, 7 exposures, ISO 200