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Posts tagged ‘HDR Efex Pro 2’

ReWorking Scraggy and Craggy

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.

Hot Day for HDR Trials

It is hot here, 38C or 100.4F, in both temperatures that is hot.  With 2 days to go to the official start of summer, it was bound to happen.  Still, I’m not happy about it.  It is too hot to go out and take photos, so I have been going through my photos.  I wanted something cool today.  I wanted to work on some photos that weren’t taken when it was hot.

This is a three image HDR created using Photomatix Pro.  The colours are quite natural, though the sky may be a little over done.

Here is the same image done with HDR Color Efex.  This image hasn’t worked as well, it is too grey, there isn’t enough tonal range in it.  There are so many more things to play with in this software, and that may be the problem.  I will have to keep playing.  It took me months to work out Photomatix, so I am sure I won’t get HDR Efex overnight.

I have to say, that for this image, the Photomatix Pro version wins.  I should have mentioned as well, that no other processing was done to them other than combining the images into HDR’s.  I decided that it was a better test of the software if I just used that, and did nothing else.


I have been honoured with two more awards.

jmsanchezbenitez has nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.

My Travels & Photography has nominated me for the Blog of the Year as well.  I have two stars now.

I would like to thank both people, I feel very honoured.


5100 Doing HDR

There are two things I have to try out, you know the first, that is the Nikon 5100 DSLR, and the other is the HDR Efex Pro 2 software from Nik Software.  I have been playing with the HDR software, but only a little.  I decided today to take some still life images with the 5100 and then process them with the HDR software.

I wasn’t totally sure how to take bracketed shots, but I used the exposure button, did one at the correct exposure, then one at -1 and a third at +1.  I could have gone further, but I wanted to see what the results were like with those first.

This image was taken in my kitchen with the dead roses that I have.  Roses can go really lovely after the water in the vase has dried up and they are just left.

As stated earlier, this is done with three images and was processed in Photomatix Pro.  I wanted you to see an image processed in Photomatix, then you can compare the software.  I have done nothing else to the image.

This image has been processed with the same three images, but with HDR Efex Pro 2.  It is different, but not a lot.  I was quite surprised.  I haven’t really taken enough notice of what the software can do.  You can do a lot to it when you are processing it.  You can change the depth of field, that has to be good.  There are sliders for contrast, structure and many other things.  It could be really good.

I like both images for different reasons.  I should do more of these, and I think I will next week.

The Nikon 5100 was great to use for these photos.  I had no trouble working out the controls and changing the exposures for each image.  You would have to use a tripod to do it, though, I should work out if there is a setting to take bracketed shots automatically.

One of the settings that I thought that would be perfect to use for this still life set up was macro.  I put the camera on it and took this image.

This is the macro image straight from the camera.  I have done no processing to it.

I have changed the levels and curves on this, but nothing else.  Changing those has helped the image a lot.  It seems clearer.

Though I do like the macro setting and was really surprised with it.  I would like to play with it more.  The flash coming up automatically was a little annoying, and I had to work out how to turn it off.  Again, it didn’t take too long to work it out.  It was fun.

A friend asked me about it the other night, I said it would be perfect for someone like him, someone who wants to get back into photography.  It would also be a great camera for someone to learn photography with.  I am looking forward to seeing what else it can do.

I had a request, the backdrops that I use on the still life images I have painted myself, and I have been asked to show how I do them.  It is an interesting idea, so I might look into showing you how to do your own backdrops.  I hope you won’t mind.


I have been nominated for some more awards.  I have received 3 nominations for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.  That is so great, so please go and check out the blogs of those that have nominated me.

Living and Lovin


Sylvie’s Fashion Secrets

From Hoof Beats and Foot Prints I have been nominated for the

Blogger of the Year Award

I would like to thank all of them for the lovely honour of being nominated.  Thank you.


One of the things I remember most from the house that I showed you yesterday was the fridge.  Here, before I explain, take a look.

This area that was covered in is between the two parts of the house.  The water tank was undercover to keep it cool, and hanging next to it is the meat safe.

I have a closer image.

This is so amazing that this was it and this is how they kept their food.  Meat was put in the meat safe to keep the flies off it.  I don’t know if they put anything else in it.  I don’t know how long the meat stayed in it, bit funny when you think they survived doing this, and yet we are told not to let our meat defrost on the bench.  I grew up with meat being defrosted on the draining board of the sink, never got sick from it, but apparently it is bad for you.  Go figure, our paranoid world and our fear of germs plays such an important part.  Advertising companies have earned their money there.

I downloaded a trial version of HDR Efex Pro 2, by Nik Software.  I got involved in trying it out and forgot about time, but more on that later.  I knew that I wanted to do the meat safe today, though when I went to do the second image, there were problems with bracketed shots, and instead of it being a 3, 4 or 5 image HDR it was done with a single image.  Tonal mapping added and then what, well.

Sometimes I load an image up that I want to work on, and when confronted with it, I don’t know, I just can’t figure out how to do what I want to do.  I have to play, leave it, go and have a cup of tea, go back and keep playing.  This image was definitely like that.  It has been a really difficult image to work with.  Unlike the first one.

The first one, it was easy, it is a 4 image HDR, and I knew that I wanted the point of focus to be that meat safe, and next the water tank, so I made sure the lighting highlighted those.

I hope you like both, I do, and in the end I am really happy with how both came out.

I am doing a webinar in the morning, hopefully going to learn some cool tricks to use with some other software.  Also, as I previously stated I also downloaded HDR Efex Pro 2 today.  I have played with it, not sure about it.  I really like the results I get with Photomatix, and I have to wonder, do I really need to purchase more software to do the same thing, how much better can it be?  I do like the fact that you can use it as a plugin in Photoshop.  I am going to have to play with it a lot more, to be in a better position to judge.

I am going to post the original images from the first two now.

The meat safe was probably one of the hardest things to photograph.  It was rocking in the gentle wind.  Oh well, that happens.  Anyway I have talked enough.