NIK HDR Efex Pro vs. Photomatix 4.0 (Round 1 of 3)

NIK HDR Efex Pro – version

Photomatix 4.0 – version

Ok, HDR artists….game on!  The new NIK HDR Efex Pro trial is out and it is time to compare vs. the current HDR Software champ Photomatix 4.0.   This is the first photo I have processed using NIK.  You can see both NIK and Photomatix versions above.   I will go 3 rounds in this battle and the winner gets my processing rights!  My original thoughts before I processed the photo in NIK was that they could not compete.  I processed the photo and WOW!!!  NIK HDR Efex Pro impressed me!!  Sharp!!!   Compare the crosses….kudos NIK!!   Pictures are worth 1000 words…you can decide on your own by looking above.  In this 7 exposure shot….my opinion….WINNER ROUND 1 = NIK HDR EFEX PRO   (Score 1-0 NIK).  I have a feeling I may be ordering NIK HDR Efex pro this weekend!!

Stanford, CA – Stanford Memorial Church (HDR)

If you are ever in San Francisco, take a drive down to the beautiful Stanford University (about 30 minutes south).  Here you can find the lovely Stanford Memorial Church.   I had never visited the campus and this day I visited with my buddy Horace Kwan (Horace Kwan Photography).   We arrived real early one AM and walked around and took a few shots.  When the church opened (this was out target), we went in and grabbed a bunch of photos.  The architecture is amazing.  I can imagine a great spot for a wedding!   If you are ever going to shoot a church, stop by as soon as it opens.  I usually luck out and have no issues with using a tripod.   I think photographers need to compile a book with a list of locations that allow tripods.  Now that would be a book I would buy in a second!!

Info from the web:   Stanford Memorial Church (also known as MemChu) is located at the center of the Stanford University campus in Stanford, California, United States. It was built during the American Renaissance by Jane Stanford as a memorial to her husband Leland. Designed by architect Charles A. Coolidge, a protegé of Henry Hobson Richardson, the church has been called “the University’s architectural crown jewel”.

Designs for the church were submitted to Jane Stanford and the university trustees in 1898, and it was dedicated in 1903. The building is Romanesque in form and Byzantine in its details, inspired by churches in the region of Venice and, especially, Ravenna. Its stained glass windows and extensive mosaics are based on religious paintings the Stanfords admired in Europe. The church has four pipe organs, which allow musicians to produce many styles of organ music. Stanford Memorial Church has withstood two major earthquakes, in 1906 and 1989, and was extensively renovated after each.

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 12-24 f/4
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 12.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  HDR 5 exposures (+2 to -2)
  • Aperture:  f/8
  • Gear:  Tripod
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Viveza, Color Efex Pro
  • Las Vegas, Nevada – The Venetian Hotel (HDR)

    From the fun and party filled Las Vegas…here is an HDR of the Venetian Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip! Las Vegas is a paradise for adults that like to get away and have fun…but it should also be noted as a key spot for HDR photography!  I must admit, there is probably an HDR every step you take in Vegas!  Colors, Lights, Hotels…its all there to photograph.  The big issue is people.  We just came back from a 3 day visit and it was the peak of summer holidays!  My only option is early morning photo time!   This shot was my target.  I had been to the Venetian and knew it was perfect for HDR.  I set my alarm this Saturday for 4:30 AM.   I awoke and looked outside…wow!  The streets were packed and filled with people…time to go back to bed!  I gave myself another hour of sleep and was up now at 5:30 AM.  The sun was coming up and I figured all the party people will be passed out or asleep at this time!  I looked outside and it was getting quiet.  I jumped in a cab and hit the Venetian.  I asked the cabbie was is the quietest time in Vegas….he said 8 AM.  …although I thought 6 AM was not bad!

    This location at the Venetian is located right next to the registration.  Here you can find this amazing hallway and meeting area you can see ahead with a beautiful fountain. All just waiting for HDR photographers!!  LOL  I had to people dodge many times, but it wasn’t too bad.  Some exposures were long and any people involved…just disappeared!   I shot the hotel for about 90 minutes and made my walk back down the strip.  I post a few more shots from here soon.  I’d say any shot here was a great one.  If you have been here and photographed it…you know well!   Viva Las Venetian!!

    Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 12-24 f/4
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 14.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  HDR 5 exposures (+2 to -2)
  • Aperture:  f/16
  • Gear:  Tripod
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Viveza, Color Efex Pro
  • Las Vegas, Nevada – Bellagio (HDR)

    One of my favorite hotels in Las Vegas is the Bellagio.   This shot was form early AM one morning while all the party people were sleeping.  It was only me and the Garden Caretakers.  They were working hard on exchanging flowers…keeping them fresh and beautiful.  This little garden is located right next to the reception and through each season, they have different exhibits.  Very lovely!

    Some info from the web: Brilliance abounds inside our breathtaking Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. The attention to detail is astounding. The passionate display of nature in all its awe-evoking glory – quite simply, sensational! Let your imagination wander as you assume a leisurely stroll amongst rare natural finds selected distinctively for Bellagio from all over the world.

    Admire the essence of every season recreated with exceptionally gorgeous plants, flowers and trees thoughtfully arranged to inspire full splendor. Specially designed lighting spotlights every flower to accentuate its best features. To ensure the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens maintains magnificence 365 days a year, 140 expert horticulturists theatrically arrange gazebos, bridges, ponds, and water features uniquely for each season. Treat yourself to this unrivaled attraction’s ever changing personality for the Holidays, Chinese New Year, spring, summer, and fall!

    Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 12-24 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, Photomatix, Viveza, Color Efex Pro
  • Laguna Beach, CA – HDR

    laguna Beach, CA  - HDR

    NIKON D300, Nikon 18-200 VR, HDR in Photomatix

    Here is a nice shot from one of my favorite places to visit – Laguna Beach!   It is so beautiful!  Whats funny is that we went a few months ago and since I had not traveled this past month, I was going through my older pics last nite and saw that I had yet to process my HDR’s from Laguna!   This was my first one processed and I will get to the rest later tonite.  If you read my last post on Laguna – this shot is from the Montage Spa and Resort.  If you are in Orange County make sure you stop by to visit.  Walk the grounds and the beach in the back of the hotel…the views are amazing!!!!    Since Laguna is beachside, it can get chilly at nite…even in the summer.   This location offers some wonderful views of the sunset!!   The Montage is right on the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway).   Laguna is an artsy town, so you will find many shops that have paintings and hand crafted items.    Walking downtown is a fun experience  and the main beach has a famous basketball court that overlooks the ocean.

    I took this shot hand held while walking around with 5 exposures and post processed in Photomatix and some touchup in Photoshop.  If you look over the bushes inthe middle of the picture you can see a hole in cliff.  Just beyond that area there is a beach to walk on.  Probably the most photographed family portrait area in SoCal!   I think when we were there this day I saw about 5 families gettting their portraits done.   Maybe I will be one of those photographers in the future??   Let me know and I will meet you there!   Enjoy!