Category: Topaz Plug-in

Carpenters Working On Concrete Forms (Gallery)

The images in this gallery are of the Carpenters working on concrete forms on the Indiana Approach for the Downtown Span of the Ohio River Bridges Project. The carpenters are installing cooling lines that will carry water from the river through the concrete after it sets in order to keep it from overheating as it cures. Concrete cures due to a catalytic reaction between the cement and other chemicals in the mixture. If the concrete overheats during the curing process it may not be strong enough to do it’s job which is why it is crucial that some way to transfer the heat from curing out of the mass of material.

I processed the full color versions of these images using Adobe Camera Raw using a series of steps that i learned from reading Scot Kelby’s book on using Photoshop CS5. Rather than use my usual method of creating HDR images from three frame bracket sets I instead decided to work with the “normal” exposure alone and see what I could accomplish using ACR.

After creating the color images I decided to use [thirstylink linkid=”13827″ linktext=”Topaz” class=”thirstylink” title=”Topaz”] B&W Effects to produce versions that have an antique feel to them. I used various adjustments to create my own preset that desaturated the colors and added a vignette of faded edges. I then applied a border from Topaz that I thought fit the idea I had for the final images. I saved this preset to use later on other images that may benefit from similar treatment.

Click on any of the images to open a lightbox and slideshow of all these images.


Exploring and Building Presets In Topaz B&W Effects and NIK Analog Pro Plugins

This post looks at using Topaz Software with various NIK Software to create your own plugin presets for HDR photography.

Pattern and Texture Closeups

Closeup of Rusty Retaining Straps
Closeup of Rusty Retaining Straps

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Whenever I’m on a job site I keep my eye open for interesting patterns and textures to shoot as closeups or macro images. On this particular day I was on the job site to capture a large crane that had been brought in for a pick that night. I was scouting for good vantage points to capture the crane at work that evening when I came upon these retaining wall straps in the material storage area. I was intrigued by the surface texture and the undulating pattern that they revealed so I took a few bracket sets to work with later.

I almost always work in HDR and I decided to merge three frames in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and experiment with them. For this first image I applied the Balanced Preset and then boosted the definition to enhance the texture of the oxidized steel and reinforce the pattern. I included the long shadow in the upper left of the frame and the short shadow in the lower right side to create a sense of depth and movement in the final composition. After returning the merged file to Aperture 3 I adjusted the mid-contrast and boosted the  saturation and luminance in the red and yellow color channels. I then applied sharpening and a small vignette to complete the image.

Retaining Straps Closeup
Retaining Straps Closeup

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I used a similar workflow for this image of the same straps that had been opened up and stacked for use. In this case I also worked in the blue color channel to contrast the blue and orange colors.

Closeup of Retaining Straps in Black and White
Closeup of Retaining Straps in Black and White

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The final image is a Black and White version I created using Topaz B&W Effects and a Platinum preset. I also applied a white vignette and a frame from the same software before returning it to Aperture 3 for final contrast and sharpness adjustments.



Merry Christmas

Night scene at a christmas tree stand in Waterfront Park in Louisville KY.
Christmas Friends

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This is one of my favorite Christmas images. It was late one evening and I was out looking for something to shoot that spoke to the season when I came upon these guys working at the christmas tree stand in Waterfront Park. I liked the way the wet street was reflecting the lights in the stand and the strong colors that were present in the scene.

Whenever I can I like to include the people who work behind the scene to enrich our lives. These guys looked so comfortable with each other and for me their friendship showed in the way they walked and talked as they went about their job tending the stand. I hope those of you who stop by here today enjoy this photo and that it speaks to you as it did to me.

With that I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas; I hope the day brings you joy, friendship, happiness and lots of egg nog, cookies and fruitcake. 😉

BTW for those who are interested the image was processed in Topaz Adjust and Aperture 3 from a single exposure.