Caldwell, Texas – Tracking an HDR

Here is a different type HDR for me.   I usually do not post the moody style HDR’s, but decided to give it a try.  I added a Holga preset to get to above effect.   I enjoy seeing photos of those moody dilapidated building rooms…with junk all over.  One day I will find some!   Austin is not an old industrial area….so maybe I’ll have to hit something like and old steel mill in Pittsburgh one day.    If anyone knows of an area like this in or near Austin…let me know!

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 12-24 F/4
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 16.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  HDR 5 exposures (+2 to -2)
  • Aperture:  f/22
  • Gear:  Tripod
  • Post Process: Adobe CS5, HDR Efex Pro, onOne Software Photo Tools 2.6, Viveza

Paris, France – Eiffel Tower (HDR)

One of the world’s most beautiful places…..overlooking the Eiffel Tower.  This shot is a fisheye with a Sepia Tone added to the HDR.  I tried to make this shot a bit different.  Happy Friday!!

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 10.5 Fisheye f/2.8
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 10.5 mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  HDR 5 exposures (+2 to -2)
  • Aperture:  f/11
  • Gear:  Tripod
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, HDR Efex Pro, Viveza, Silver Efex Pro

Stanford, California – Stanford University (HDR)

From the picturesque Stanford University in Northern California above is a photo from the main quad at the campus.  Stanford has many great photographic locations…the best spot is the Memorial Church….it is only about 500 feet from these pillars.  Some other point of interest are…Arizona Garden, Cantor Arts Center, Campus Sculpture, Hoover Tower, the Dish and much more!  Stanford is about 35 miles south of San Francisco, so stop by if you are ever in the area!

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 18-200 f/3.5-5.6
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 75.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  HDR 5 exposures (+2 to -2)
  • Aperture:  f/22
  • Gear:  Tripod
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, HDR Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro
  • San Francisco, CA – Cupid’s Span

    Congrats to the SF Giants in making the 2010 World Series!  Here is a shot from this great city by the bay…Rincon Park’s Cupid’s Span.  A sculpture that was added in 2003.  A great place to lay out on the grass and enjoy the waterfront views on a lazy afternoon.   The statue might symbolize where Tony Bennett left his heart?

    Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 12-14 f/4
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 24.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  HDR 5 exposures (+2 to -2)
  • Aperture:  f/22
  • Gear:  Tripod
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, HDR Efex Pro
  • NIK HDR Efex Pro – settings

    I have had quite a few people ask what settings I am using in NIK’s HDR Efex Pro.   You can use whatever works for you…my choice fav filter is

    03 Realistic (Strong)

    This filter choice makes the photo a little dark, so it needs brightening. I then play with the “Whites” slider and “Exposure”.

    I then continue with more post processing to finalize the photo. I’ll add a new HDR Tutorial for HDR Efex Pro in the next few weeks and will add it here. Have fun!

    NIK HDR Efex Pro vs. Photomatix 4.0 (Round 3 of 3)

    NIK HDR Efex Pro version

    Photomatix 4.0 version

    OK, after 2 rounds NIK is up 2-0.  This is the last and final round.  I found a tough sky/halo shot of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.    Please note, again I used basically the same steps for each processed shot.   Yes, the Photomatix shot can be improved, but I wanted to compare apples to apples.

    NIK is amazing!  It kinda makes Photomatix looks like a piece of old junk.   Check out the overall light/shadow difference….

    a) NIK handled the sky nicely…while Photomatix looks messy!

    b) The Eiffel Tower’s upper section on the NIK looks nice…the Photomatix struggles to even the light flow and is dark and lifeless.

    c) The light on the main big tree in the NIK version is fluid and eye pleasing…while Photomatix struggles with the top section light in that tree

    d) The green tones above are softer in NIK.  Photomatix must always be desaturated.

    Of course NIK is not perfect. I see a slight halo on the lower left side of the tower.  Any photo can be broken down in many many pcs…but in a quick overall visual decision….it is an easy victory for NIK.  Looks like my Photomatix will be collecting dust until they improve it.   This is great news for us HDR artists!  Competition fuels quality and it can only help us!

    I have been asked what settings I use for my NIK HDR Efex Pro….I’ll go into that next week!  Let me get some more play with the software and then I can give you some firm scoops!  Have fun!

    NIK HDR Efex Pro vs. Photomatix 4.0 (Round 2 of 3)

    NIK HDR Efex Pro version

    Photomatix 4.0 version

    Round 2 of NIK vs Photomatix.   OK, I am not a techie and cannot break down every bit of detail in a photo, I base my opinion on ease and an overall visual inspection.   I compared the above shots of the lovely St. Ignatius Church in San Francisco.  I chose the shot yesterday for tough sunny windows and today was about details and colors.  Both shots were processed using the same amount of time and steps (or as close as possible).   Yes, the PM version can be cleaned up a bit more, but I wanted to use equal steps.

    ROUND 2 – WINNER – NIK HDR Efex Pro I must say…game over…NIK wins hands down.  I am truly impressed.

    My order has already been placed for the NIK HDR Efex Pro.  I will now use this software to process my HDR’s.  In only 2 rounds, it was an easy victory.   You can download the trial all by yourself and compare.  Everyone has different opinions and that is what makes the world go around.  So see how you like it.  Some of my thoughts on NIK HDR Efex Pro:

    GOOD:

    1) Great colors – especially red tones

    2) Sharp

    3) Solid HDR Presets

    4) Seems to handle difficult light better than Photomatix

    5) After Processing there seems to be a smoother highlight/shadow transition throughout the entire photo.  If you use Photomatix you sometime have falloff in certain areas.

    6) After post processing your exposures, the photo is closer to completion than a Photomatix version…this leads to less addtl post processing time

    BAD

    1) Slow Processing – does take alot longer than Photomatix

    2) Higher pirce.  $50 more than Photomatix…search the net you can find 15% off coupon codes for NIK products all over.  I think Scott Kelby has one!   Makes it more affordable.

    I’m sure there will be many different opinions.  This is just mine.  Buh-bye Photomatix!   NIK rules!!  I will go Round 3 on Monday for fun and try to find a troubling sky shot with possible halos.