Tag: exposure value

Building a Template

Untitled
 Building a Template

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Not much I can say about this HDR image of a tradesman at work on a template that will be used to guide steel columns when they are driven into the river bank. I liked the texture of his work clothes against the rusty steel and the way the scene composed itself for me. I merged a three frame bracket set of -2, 0 and +2 EV exposures in NIK HDR EFex Pro 2 and finished the image in Aperure 3.

 

 

Spaghetti Junction Sunrise

Spaghetti Junction Sunrise (Topaz Clarity Version)
Spaghetti Junction Sunrise (Topaz Clarity Version)

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Today I’m sharing two versions of the same image to show how Topaz Clarity and Topaz Restyle can be used to create different feeling images from the same exposure. In the each version I worked the underexposed frame from the bracket set I shot for HDR processing. I opted to use this frame because I liked the way it emphasized the sky and obscured the foreground. The Clarity version allowed me to bring out the colors in the sunrise sky and the reflection in the foreground while still keeping the equipment subdued yet readable.

Spaghetti Junction Sunrise (Topaz Restyle Version, Fiery Night Preset Version)

Spaghetti Junction Sunrise (Topaz Restyle Version, Fiery Night Preset Version)

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In this second version I used Topaz ReStyle and selected the Fiery Night Preset to really change the sky colors.As you can see it has an entirely different feel from the first image The only difference was the Topaz program I chose to use on the original image.

I intentionally allowed the exposure to be dark in the foreground to lend an air of mystery to the final image. One of the things I like about how ReStyle worked was the way it didn’t create or amplify any noise in the dark areas of the image.

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I have an affiliate relationship with Topaz Labs, and earn a small commission on any sales that are made by using the Topaz Labs link below, which helps support this site. Even if you aren’t ready to make a purchase you can use the link to access a Free 30 day Trial of Topaz Labs products to determine whether or not they will fit your own digital workflow.

http://www.topazlabs.com/705.html

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Using Topaz Adjust to Process Vintage Tin Photos

Rusty 1940 Chevrolet Detail
Rusty 1940 Chevrolet Detail

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On my motorcycle ride up US 31 yesterday I came across a 1940 Chevrolet sedan sitting outside BABBS Auto Collision Center in Sellersburg Indiana. It was around 12 o’clock and the sun was pretty high in the sky which is almost always regarded as a poor time to shoot anything. I decided to stop anyway and shoot some rusty vintage tin for processing with Topaz Adjust. I knew from experience that the Spicify preset in Topaz Adjust would reveal a rainbow of iridescent colors in weathered dark paint that is streaked with iron oxides from the rust around it. As you can see I was well rewarded and captured some incredible textures and colors in this image. I finished it with a small black border that just felt right to me when I applied it.

Rusty 1940 Chevrolet Detail #2
Rusty 1940 Chevrolet Detail #2

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Here’s another version of the same car from another frame that I captured with a normal exposure value. The previous image started out as a 2 stops underexposed frame and this normal exposure produced even more iridescence when the Spicify preset was applied in Topaz Adjust. As with the previous image I added that small black border I have come to like for these sorts of images.

Rusty 1940 Chevrolet Detail #3
Rusty 1940 Chevrolet Detail #3

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Same basic processing as the two previous images using Topaz Adjust and the Spicify preset.

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I have an affiliate relationship with Topaz Labs, and earn a small commission on any sales that are made by using the Topaz Labs link below, which helps support this site. Even if you aren’t ready to make a purchase you can use the link to access a Free 30 day Trial of Topaz Labs products to determine whether or not they will fit your own digital workflow.

http://www.topazlabs.com/705.html

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Exploring Topaz and NIK Plugins

Crane Operator Silhouette (Topaz Adjust Version)
Crane Operator Silhouette (Topaz Adjust Version)

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Last week I was shooting in the eastern approach section of Spaghetti Junction to create a record of the work going being done by Walsh Construction as the Ohio River Bridges Project progresses. Currently there is  a lot of preparation going that is primarily focused on the foundation work for the overpasses and ramps that will make up the revamped Spaghetti Junction portion of the project. There are several cranes in this section that are driving piles to anchor the new Spaghetti Junction overpasses and ramps.

On this particular morning the sky was very dramatic and I wanted to capture the sunrise and the clouds. As I walked through the area I came upon this crane operator who was clearing the windows on his crane of the morning dew. I thought he would make a good silhouette against the sky so I shot my customary three shot bracket set of +2, 0 and -2 EV in anticipation of creating an HDR image of the scene. As I was preparing to edit the bracket set I decided instead to use only the 2 stop underexposed frame and experiment more with some of the Topaz Adjust, Topaz Clarity and Topaz ReStyle plugins.

For this first image I decided to use Topaz Adjust to see what I might discover. I like the Spicify preset so I used that as my basis for this image. As with most of my plugin use I began with the preset and then started adjusting the sliders to get just the right combination for my concept of the image. I seldom simply apply a preset and move on since I consider the presets to be starting points not end results. After using  Topaz Adjust to get the shadows and highlights where I wanted them I returned the image to Aperture 3 for final adjustment and finishing.

Crane Operator Silhouette  (Topaz Clarity Version)
Crane Operator Silhouette (Topaz Clarity Version)

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For this second image I decided to use Topaz Clarity to see what result it would give me. I used the Color and Contrast 1 preset as my starting point and then went into the color channels adjustments to bring out the sky and the faint glow of the crane’s windows. I made some small adjustments to the contrast to reveal a small amount of detail in the silhouette of the crane and the operator. I didn’t take the image back into Aperture 3 for any additional adjustments, like I usually do after applying a plugin, since it looked like it was as saturated and defined as I wanted it.

Crane Operator Silhouette (NIK Viveza Version)
Crane Operator Silhouette (NIK Viveza Version)

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Finally I decided to try out the NIK Viveza plugin to see what results it would produce. As you can see it produced an entirely different coloration of the clouds and sky and left the crane operator rendered as a full silhouette without any indication of detail in the shadows. I also used a slightly different crop on this image because of the lack of recognizable detail in the shadows which threw the larger composition out of balance with too much black space in the lower right hand side.

I like all three versions for different reasons but my main takeaway is that through the use of different plugins it is possible to take an underexposed image and still create something that is pleasing and acceptable. In the future I will probably continue with merged bracket sets and HDR processing for most of my work but on occasion I can always apply Topaz and NIK plugins to create powerful images from a single frame.

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I have an affiliate relationship with Topaz Labs and earn a small commission, which helps support this site, on any sales that are made by using the Topaz Labs link below. Even if you aren’t ready to make a purchase you can use the link to access a Free 30 day Trial of Topaz Labs products to determine whether or not they will fit your own digital workflow.

http://www.topazlabs.com/705.html

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Saturday’s Sunset on the Ohio River

Saturday Sunset
Saturday Sunset

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This HDR image was taken from the Big Four Bridge in Waterfront Park Saturday evening just after sunset. I shot my usual three frame bracket set of +2, 0 and -2 EV which I merged in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 to create a HDR image. I started with the balanced preset and from there I built my own preset for this image as well as several other bracket sets that are from the same shoot. After merging the three images I adjusted contrast and exposure sliders. I then added a  -2 stop gradient filter to the sky to lower the brightness level there. I then returned the image to aperture 3 where I made a few small adjustments to contrast and adjusted the red, yellow, blue and magenta color channels. Finally I applied sharpening and cropped it to give it a more panoramic feeling.