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ReWorking Scraggy and Craggy

Scraggy, Craggy Tree - Silver Efex 1

For those that have been following me for a while might remember this tree.

Scraggy, Craggy Tree I took this image on a trip to Daylesford with my daughter.  I first saw it when we were going, and on the way back I stopped to take photos of it.  The image was first posted in June.  I also had a couple of goes workings with it.  The image was a HDR that was processed in Photomatix, and turned into black and white in Photoshop.

Since getting Silver Efex Pro 2 from Nik Software I have been playing with it quite a bit, and I thought today it might be fun to try some images, or one anyway, that I had done in black and white previously and do it using Silver Efex.

First of all I had to redo the HDR, so this time I used HDR Efex to do the HDR conversion.

Scraggy, Craggy Tree - HDRThis is the image straight from HDR Efex, I didn’t do any other processing to it.  I am quite happy with this.  I have tried some other images and got the horrible halo, but it isn’t here, and even the areas around the branches have been processed well, something that Photomatix can struggle with.

Scraggy, Craggy Tree - Silver Efex 1This was the first attempt in Silver Efex.  I did use the Add Control Point tool to give more detail around the tree trunk, but I quite liked what the preset did to the sky.  I used Low Key for this, it is becoming one of my favourites.  Once it was back in Photoshop I used the gradient tool to do some vignetting.

I like the darkness and the scariness of this one.  I went back past this tree when my daughter and I were coming back from the Daylesford Market, and I stopped to take some photos, but it didn’t look as good any more  it had leaves on it.  It was beautiful, but it didn’t have that scariness about it any more

Scraggy, Craggy Tree - Silver Efex 2This attempt was done using the preset High Structure, and a little Add Control on the trunk as well.  I also used the gradient tool, but not as heavily on this one.

I do like the Silver Efex ones more.  Though, if you didn’t have Silver Efex you could probably do a lot of this stuff in another editing program.  I think Topaz Adjust would help a lot too, you can get some detail in that.

While I was looking for this image I found a lot of photos that I could rework, I couldn’t believe that I had once thought they were so good, makes you question lots.

Disappointment and Nikon

The D5100 is being picked up today, sometime.  It was nice having a go at it.  I also found out today that Nikon is not going to sponsor me, not for anything.  I am so disappointed, but then again, most of my dealings with Nikon have been disappointing.  They are terrible at responding to emails, and you are often left in the dark with no idea what is going on.  The first email I sent them, actually the first two, got no response until I told them that Canon were lending me cameras.

I did ask about sponsorship, and I will admit I thought there would be more discussion than simply getting a no.  I thought they would want to know more information about the blog and what my plans were for it.  I don’t think they even looked at me or my blog seriously.

When I got the email, my first thought was “I knew it”, then I got really angry and disappointed.  They sponsor some crap things, and things that can’t possibly help them, so why not me.  They sent me some crap merchandise the other day, and I will admit that all I wanted to do was throw it in the bin.  Here is a brand that I have been using and talking about for over 15 years, and this is how I get treated by them.

I even started considering how I could sell the gear I have and jump ship to Canon, which at this point I would really consider, except that I can’t afford it.  So, from now on, when people ask me what brand of camera they should buy, they will get an honest answer and consideration will be given to other brands as well.  I will have to start doing research.  I am no longer a Nikon girl, and Nikon no longer deserve my loyalty.  In my book loyalty works both ways.

Disappointment is a terrible thing.  Would I buy a D800 now, no, my research into the camera has led me to believe it would probably be a disappointment.  I would probably be better off staying with what I have right now.

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72 Comments Post a comment
  1. Interesting and annoying at the same time about the Nikon situation. Sorry to hear. Have you done any work with the Panasonic Lumix cameras? I’m interested in how their new mirrorless cameras perform…

    December 7, 2012
    • Thanks Screaming Monk, no I haven’t had anything to do with those cameras. That sounds interesting, I should take a look into them, it is good to know what is out there.

      December 9, 2012
      • Check out what Timothy Price has to say, his comment is below.

        December 9, 2012
  2. Sorry to hear your story, My last camera, the Nikon digital I dropped and broke. My new one is now a Canon and I think has better resolution. So, for right now.. “I’m a Canon girl”…

    December 7, 2012
    • Haha, I love that last part Mary, it is a shame, I think it was the no communication thing that got me, I wonder if they are all like that. I should have asked why. Thank you.

      December 9, 2012
  3. I’ve often gone back to take a photo of something interesting I’d see driving by. A fascincating tree! I like the first Silver Efex image, it gives life to the sky with the textured depth. Cool!

    December 7, 2012
    • I really wish I did it more. I see things, and think, no I can’t stop now I will come back, then I forget, or never get around to it. I am loving Silver Efex and what you can do with it, thank you Michael.

      December 9, 2012
  4. That tree has a lot of character. I would have stopped to take a picture of it too!

    Sorry about your not so good experience with Nikon’s customer service.

    December 7, 2012
    • Thank you RoSy, I couldn’t believe how different it was with leaves.

      Thanks also for the second part, it has been a strange experience. Confusing really.

      December 9, 2012
  5. I agree with you on the 3rd image. A certain dark emotional tone definitely comes out of it. Definitely my favorite version.

    December 7, 2012
    • I think I agree with you allthingsgeography1, thank you.

      December 9, 2012
  6. bubblytee #

    You do beautiful work and what’s amazing is how you are able to tell us what all you did to each image to arrive at the final impression. I would forget how I did it…lol :)

    December 7, 2012
    • That is part of the reason why I write here, because I would forget, I find it is a great record of what I do. Thank you bubblytee. :)

      December 9, 2012
  7. The tree and different treatments of the photo are superb. It looks like a tornado hit it. I guess I’ve been really lucky, because I just realized that in the 35 years I’ve done photography and of all the different cameras, flashes, tripods, enlargers, etc. I’ve owned in the past and now own, I have never had to deal with customer service on any of them. But I can certainly understand your disappointment and frustration.

    To Screaming Monk: I love the Panasonic/Lumix and Olympus four thirds systems. The only problem I have with them is the images fall apart at ISOs higher than 400. The manufacturers claim to have improved the ISO issues, but the reviews I have read on the newer systems generally have similar complaints about noisy files at higher ISOs.

    December 7, 2012
    • We don’t get tornadoes here, but I completely understand what you are saying, certainly helps with the look.
      I have been constantly amazed at bad some companies customer service is. I would never purchase a Lowepro bag again, I have sent email after email and got no response.
      I told Screaming Monk to look at what you had to say.

      Thank you Timothy.

      December 9, 2012
  8. Thank you for your sharing.

    December 7, 2012
  9. I’m a Nikon girl, ah well. I’ve used Canons, and I prefer the Nikkor lenses over the Canon. I’m sorry they treated you thusly, of course.

    December 7, 2012
    • I have always felt the same cgiovanniwrites, it is a strange, they weren’t horrible to me, but I did think there would be some discussion about sponsorship, not just them slamming the door, so to speak. I think it is the idea of a blog. Thank you for your support.

      December 9, 2012
      • Of course! Maybe next time they will be more open? My husband just bought me an amazing Christmas gift…I almost died! Nikon D3100 with TWO lenses! A case! Memory card! I am the luckiest girl alive!

        December 10, 2012
  10. Sorry to hear about your trials Leanne … sounds like you need to cool down. Today is another day … go out and take lots of good pictures, it’ll take your mind off your troubles with the ‘corporate suits.’ On the other hand … your Nikon rejection may have simply come at the hands of someone that didn’t know any better. Perhaps if you made your case to them again – it might be handled by another of the folks in their sponsors office and you might get a better shake the second time around? Just a thought. D

    December 7, 2012
    • Thanks Dave, I wasn’t really angry when I wrote, I was venting, but I had calmed down a lot, apparently you could tell. I can handle the “no”, what I find hard to understand is that there was a discussion, I wasn’t given a reason, just told no. I don’t think I would ever try again, and it has made me realise that now I don’t have to be loyal to them, if I think a Canon camera is better, then that is what I will say, like for example, if I were buying a compact camera, I would probably most definitely get a Canon one, I have always had Canon compacts. You know what I mean. Sometimes I think that people don’t understand how big blogs are getting, and apparently one of the things that is bad about blogs is that the people who write them speak their minds, so I did. LOL. It did feel good.

      December 9, 2012
  11. Sorry to hear your experiences with Nikon. I have heard quite an opposite that people jump ship to Nikon. The late models especially D600 & D800 have better prices and better sensors than the similar Canon’s lines.

    December 7, 2012
    • It goes both ways YellowCable, people go back and forth. They are both good cameras, but they aren’t for me. I don’t really need anything like that right now. The experience has been a very strange one, though it is good to know where you stand. Thank you.

      December 9, 2012
  12. Nikon is a company in crisis right now, and treating customers badly isn’t going to help. So sad…
    That tree, on the other hand…Wow! Love the sky in the first Siver Efex rework! So…brooding!
    Have a good weekend, Leanne – don’t dwell on the jerks. :)

    December 7, 2012
    • Thanks Marie, it has been the strangest ride with Nikon, they seemed to be falling all over themselves to help me, then they slammed the door in my face.

      I love that tree too, it is so wonderful. I like that one too. Thank you. The weekend has been going well, hope yours has too. :) I won’t dwell too much.

      December 9, 2012
  13. Bad PR is a disappointment for sure and finding out your just another number to them is worse. However, I’m happy you will try out new camera things(sorry no photographers lingo here). Can’t wait to see what you come up with now.

    December 7, 2012
    • Great comment cookie5683, I don’t think they will be letting me try any more of their cameras now, I am probably not technical enough for them. It was fun for a while. Thank you

      December 9, 2012
  14. Wow…I love gnarly, craggy trees…they have so much character! Both the scary and beautiful are wonderful. I’ve only begun visiting your blog but your work is amazing, it is obvious to me you love what you do and put your heart into it! I’m so happy you stopped by to see me, otherwise I would never have known what I was missing!

    As for the Nikon people…I tend to agree with Pairodox Farm…perhaps if you talked with someone else you might receive a more favourable response. Dealing with customers on any level, whether it is customer service or potential sponsorship, should be a top priority for everyone at Nikon…doesn’t seem to me you’ve had the opportunity to deal with someone who feels this way.

    Today is Friday…have a wonderful weekend!

    December 8, 2012
    • They are so much fun to turn into something else, aren’t they. Thank you Heather, what a lovely thing for you to say.
      I feel like I’ve been appeased, if that is the right way of saying, you know the maybe if we let her try a camera, give her some merchandise she will be happy? It has been a strange experience. I haven’t enjoyed it, it has been hard work. Though I don’t feel that I need to be loyal to them any more, Nikon isn’t always the best and this dealing with other companies has made me realise that.
      As I write this, my weekend is almost over, but I did go out and take some photos last night, got a lovely surprise, you will see them soon.
      Thank you Heather, I do this blog for people like you.

      December 9, 2012
  15. David1985 #

    The B & W images are great, expecially the Silver efex one. Sorry to hear about Nikon’s treatment–one of those commenting above suggested that Nikon’s decision was made by an empty suit. Try someone at a higher level.

    December 8, 2012
    • Thank you David, I love what Silver Efex can do, I can’t stop using it.
      I don’t know about Nikon, it has been a bit like banging my head against a brick wall with them. I don’t feel compelled now to be so loyal, if they aren’t loyal to their users and treat us as though we mean nothing, then we don’t need to be loyal. I do get asked a lot about cameras, so now I can be honest, Nikon aren’t always the best.

      December 9, 2012
  16. I really like some of your editing styles, but am of the old school that the ‘original’, be that of the ‘thought’ or ‘sight’, is the best; editing seems to be something different, entire.

    I love the finish product on ‘scraggy’, and this goes to show what a real process can accomplish.

    Well done.

    December 8, 2012
    • It can be, but it can also be something simple, you should look at the post I did last Monday on tweaking images.
      I do like to push my images though and I like to see what the possibilities are. If you saw the original image of the tree, you wouldn’t think it was great, it was just a tree.

      December 9, 2012
  17. Love the looks you’ve given to the trees. My favorite is the last one. Sorry about your experience with Nikon. Maybe you should get a paper bag full of dog poop and set it on fire on their doorstep and when they come out and stomp on….nevermind, enjoy your weekend.

    December 8, 2012
    • Oh Hutch, what a thing to say LOL, :). The weekend has been surprising. Thank you so much, glad you like the last one.

      December 9, 2012
  18. I like the really foreboding sky in the second one. It conveys the sense of “not wanting to be there”. And, the final version, it’s the tree that’s ready to reach out and grab you. :)

    It must be disappointing to have that kind of reaction from Nikon, especially for someone like you that has invested heavily in, and use, their camera gear. Brand loyalty is a big plus these days with the level of competition in the camera business (really any kind of business). With new gear introduced every 6-12 months, it behooves a company to broaden its appeal through their most loyal users.

    December 8, 2012
    • Thank you David, I love your descriptions, it is one of the things I enjoy the most is hearing how others describe my work. :)

      Loyalty seems to be something that many companies don’t care about anymore. I have been using Nikon for so long and have always recommended them to other people, if someone wanted to buy a Canon, I would do my best to talk them out of it, but my recent experience with both companies, I wouldn’t do that now, and I don’t feel that loyalty anymore. I get asked all the time for advice on cameras, so it is going to be interesting from now on.

      December 9, 2012
  19. That’s a shame about Nikon – more fool them – I think they’re missing a trick. Great work on the shot though.

    December 8, 2012
    • Thank you Richard, it is probably for the best, I know where I stand now. Glad you like the shot.

      December 9, 2012
  20. Lovely photos! :)

    December 8, 2012
  21. Hi Leanne, regarding the picture, could you get rid of the “corrugated stuff in back of the tree?” The image of the tree as a stand along would add to the drama. Regarding Nikon, I had a lens problem and had to make a lot of noise before it was resolved. Once I got their attention, everything went smoothly. I wouldn’t discard them yet, but write them again, giving reasons for their sponsorship. I would be happy to help you with the letter

    December 8, 2012
    • I don’t know about removing the stuff behind the tree Anne, I quite like it, helps add to the abandoned, isolated feeling, or may be I am being lazy. :)
      I should email you Anne, I don’t know if it would help, I don’t think they are interested in blogs. I was just so shocked at the lack of discussion. I thought I would be given a name and then I could contact them and put my case forward. I certainly wasn’t expecting what I got.

      December 9, 2012
  22. Unfortunately there are thousands, nay, probably millions of photo blogs in the world. Yours is one, mine is one… there’s a bucket loads of others. Nikon would be INCREDIBLY selective about what they sponsor, and simply asking for sponsorship isn’t going to make a big company start handing over goods and or cash just for a good word here and there. You’ve got to give them a value proposition – what are THEY going to get out of it?

    And really, if you’re going to petulantly change to canon just because Nikon won’t sponsor you, that’d probably not going to help your cause with Canon OR Nikon. Personally, if I’m reading equipment reviews, I wouldn’t take much notice of a Nikon sponsored blogger reviewing a Nikon camera. If I were you, and wanted to be an independent reviewer, I’d avoid aligning myself financially with a company that would ultimately mean reviews lose integrity.

    But stamping your feet won’t get the job done if you want sponsorship. A solid value proposition (summarise your circulation, the demographic of your subscribers, the content of your blog, what your plans are for the future… all that sort of stuff) will at least get your request read and assessed.

    good luck.

    December 8, 2012
  23. They’re really losing out on their decision.

    December 8, 2012
    • Perhaps, but perhaps you are winning, now no one owns my loyalty.

      December 9, 2012
  24. Wow, I get it now, from your comment to me, re: just how ‘pukey’ Nikon has been to you! I’d be damned angry, too! What fools…perhaps I’ll drop them a line, as I’ve had Nikons on and off for over thirty years.

    The Silver Efex are so fine, Leanne…it’s all those little things that happened in the processing that made a real difference in quality! Kudos…and still saving my US dollars here! Hope your weekend is going well…and a cheery hello to the ‘two beauties’!

    December 8, 2012
    • It has been an interesting journey. I suppose now, I know where I stand and my loyalty is not to them and to my followers, I can be a lot more honest now about what I think about stuff. I still love my Nikon, but I would recommend other cameras, like right now, I keep hearing really good things about the Sony a99.

      Thanks 1000, I am just loving Silver Efex, it really is good software, a lot of the presets I would never use, but others, I can’t stop using.

      December 9, 2012
  25. saymber #

    Leanne I’m sorry to read this and your latest post about how poorly the Nikon company as treated you. Their loss – not worth any more of your personal power or thought. I love this tree and how you played with different versions – the darker clouds version is definitely more dramatic! Your recent post with the school graphitti was interesting . I know you’ve probably explained this a long time ago – the school is abandoned yes?

    December 9, 2012
    • Thank you saymber, the tree is great. It has been a great tree to play with, I have enjoyed seeing what I could do to it. Yes, it is, actually it was closed, in the last few years.

      December 9, 2012
  26. I enjoyed your processing discussion regarding the tree. Of course the images (all of ‘em) are worth viewing. Well done. And thanks.
    RE: Nikon. I have never requested to be included in their stable of photographers. Even if by some chance in hell they would want me, I don’t like to do reviews. That they ignore you seems to be standard with them. Any time I have asked for some interaction other than repair info, I have been ignored. I suppose that’s how Nikon operates. I like the product….maybe not so much the company. Oh, well.

    December 9, 2012
    • Thank you enmanscamera, I like to do that, it provides me with a record of what I have done with the image. I like to think of my blog as a visual diary.
      I like that, I still like Nikon gear, but the company does suck big time. I have had similar things happen, send emails and get nothing back. The only reason I got anything from them was because I mentioned Canon and how helpful they were being. Loyalty begets loyalty, I think that is gone now.

      December 9, 2012
  27. it is such a shame about how Nikon has missed the opportunity in working with you. After so much faithful usership over the years, and the following and influence you have worldwide, it is their loss.
    Hope that the competitors consider and recognize the value you can provide for their products.
    On the photo side, I’m really liking how your ‘look’ is developing over all with the B&W photos. They really stand out and are really are stunning photos.
    Thank you Leanne for sharing your wealth of information and experience.

    December 9, 2012
    • Apparently all that doesn’t matter to them Emily. It has been very disappointing, but now I can say what I like, which doesn’t mean it will be bad, but they don’t own me.
      Glad you like the way the work is developing, I really enjoy that part and love what is happening. Thank you so much for support. I really do appreciate it.
      You are very welcome.

      December 9, 2012
      • Always my pleasure Leanne, and always amazed with 7,000+ followers that you can keep up with little ol’ me.

        December 9, 2012
      • I love people like you, you are so generous and I enjoy hearing from you.

        December 9, 2012
  28. Hi Leanne,

    Sorry for your disappointment with Nikon. Brand loyalty should go both ways, I agree.

    I like the silver efex version of that tree with the foreboding skies and brooding feel. Really enjoy your walks through how you treat your images. Although it’s a separate entry, I liked the school stairway in black and white and your description of the graffiti and the old school art on the wall. :)

    December 10, 2012
    • Thank you gimletsandfilm, I appreciate the support.
      I think Silver Efex did a great job with it. Thank you, I like writing down what I do so I have a record of what I did.

      December 11, 2012
  29. I’m beginning to think (see) that you’re a bit of a magician! You wave your various wands and voila, you leave us sighing or gasping! :)

    December 10, 2012
    • Haha, no, no magician, just someone who probably spends way too much time working on the computer, I really do love it. Thank you :)

      December 11, 2012
  30. I’m guessing Nikon will find out no publicity is better than bad publicity… I know price mainly counts, plus performance and name but many people prefer brands they feel good about. If Nikon continue their trend, they will find that out the hard way…

    December 10, 2012
    • I don’t quite understand it EllaDee, I don’t know what they are hoping for, perhaps they haven’t seen how popular my blog is. Oh well, I keep telling myself it is probably all for the best. Thanks for you support.

      December 11, 2012
  31. I’ve been a Kodak/Canon girl for around 30 years. Never got the appeal of Nikon.

    That said, when dealing with ANY company’s customer service department and getting an undesirable/useless result regarding an important issue, it’s always best to contact them again and speak to someone else. Nine times out of ten you will get a completely different response or outcome.

    Gorgeous tree.

    December 11, 2012
    • I have to admit, I am pretty gutted, I think it is because it is a blog, and they think blogs have no place and are written by people who know nothing. I don’t know, right now I am going to have a meeting with someone that I hope will help me work out how to approach these companies and what to ask for. Thank you Mirella.

      December 11, 2012
      • I think the problem might be because every man and his dog now has a blog and it’s hard to weed out the amateurs from the professionals when there’s just so much out there. Good luck with your meeting.

        December 12, 2012
      • I think you might be right Mirella, I did think they would ask some specific questions though, how many hits I get, how many followers, that sort of thing. I have a feeling they went blog and that was enough for them. Thanks

        December 12, 2012
  32. Oh Leanne! I feel awful about how Nikon has treated you. It’s amazing how stuck up they were when you were so faithful to their product. I’ve considered for years which camera is best, Nikon (which I’ve never owned) or Canon (which I’ve been using for 10 years now) and this blog has made up my mind that’s for sure. I’m really sorry and I hope that they are able to do something for you soon.

    December 30, 2012
    • It has been an interesting experience Amanda, I didn’t think I would just be dismissed out of hand like that. I thought I would get a chance to put forward a case. It is probably for the best, now I don’t have to feel loyal to any one and I say what I think. I have asked Canon if I can try a 60D to see what it is like, that is what you have isn’t it?

      December 31, 2012
      • Yeah I do! It’s pretty nice, but I don’t have much to compare it to lol! It’s the only digital one I have, I really hope it works out for you!

        January 1, 2013

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