Tag: HDR Efex Pro

Using Photoshop CC For HDR images

Louisville, Kentucky cityscape at sunset.
Sunset cityscape of Louisville, Kentucky as fall approaches.

With the approach of Fall, I have started photographing Waterfront Park and the Louisville cityscape as the season progresses. I am also experimenting with using Photoshop CC to merge my bracket sets because Google is no longer supporting the NIK HDR eFex 2 software. Even though I have used NIK HDR eFex 2 for nearly ten years I realize that it will eventually be obsolete due to advances in both computers and operating systems. Rather than continue to work in NIK HDR eFex 2 I know it is time for me to find a viable solution to my desire to shoot and process HDR images. Adobe Photoshop CC does an excellent job of merging bracketed images.

For these images, I am using Photoshop CC layers and Topaz Clarity as a final layer to fine tune the contrast and color in the finished images.

Abraham Lincoln Bridge in Louisville, Kentucky.
Piers under the Abraham Lincoln Bridge at sunset. The shoreline is Waterfront Park in Louisville, Kentucky.

In this image I wanted to shoot from Indiana back across the river to Kentucky under the Abraham Lincoln Bridge. I set up my tripod just before the sun dropped below the horizon and hoped to get some good light on the piers that support the bridge. I was also taken by the rose color of the light and how it lit the forms of the piers. The sky was very pastel along the southern side of the river and I wanted to capture that feature of the sunset; as an additional element I felt it was important to include the clouds on the left to balance the composition.

This image too is a three frame bracket merged in Photoshop CC and then opened in Adobe Camera Raw to make most of my basic image adjustments. Once that was done I returned it to Photoshop CC and added an additional layer that I used Topaz Clarity as a filter to fine tune the final contrast and color.

The Ohio River Bridges Downtown Span August 24-29, 2015

The Downtown Span of the Ohio River Bridges Project. HDR Version
The Downtown Span of the Ohio River Bridges Project. HDR Version

Last week the Ohio River Bridges Downtown Span grew another 180 feet in length. The cable stays on Tower Five were completed and the scaffolding to the top of the towers was removed. One of the cranes being used to build the bridge structure blew an engine but that didn’t keep the structural gang from completing the building of another 45 feet of bridge.

The photos in this post are both three frame HDR mergers and single frame images. In all cases the image was first adjusted for sharpness and color saturation in Adobe Camera Raw followed by a trip into Photoshop CS5 for lens correction when needed. I also used Topaz Clarity to bring out the texture and contrast which I applied to a separate layer; in several cases the opacity of the Topaz Clarity layer was reduced to between 25 -75%.

Surveyors William Moylan and Garran Wesseman

JNR_06_26_2015_105114_William and Garron_#2_HDR


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In this photo William Moylan is working with Garran Wesseman who is standing on the right hand end of a side girder on Tower Three of the Downtown Span of the Ohio River Bridges Project. This was the first section of the downtown span that was attached to Tower Three and marked another milestone in the construction timeline. After this section was placed all three towers were supporting sections of the new bridge.

The surveyors continuously monitor the placement of the bridge components in order to make sure that the bridge is staying true to the design specifications. Their survey equipment is all electronic and communicates the measurements to the surveyors and engineers in real time so that the decisions they make are accurate.

William Moylan talks with his partner Garren Wesseman as they measure the placement of the side girder and road girders of the downtown span.
William Moylan talks with his partner Garran Wesseman as they measure the placement of the side girder and road girders of the downtown span.

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William Moylan at work.
William Moylan at work.

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Nick Roberts – Using HDR Photography to Create Your Own Personal Style Workshop in Louisville, KY, United States Rescheduled to November 9, 2013

Entrance to the Big Four Bridge, Louisville, KY
Entrance to the Big Four Bridge, Louisville, KY

This workshop has been rescheduled to November 9, 2013.


Nick Roberts – Using HDR Photography to Create Your Own Personal Style Tickets in Louisville, KY, United States.

I will be presenting another HDR workshop Saturday November 9, 2013. If you are confused about the How and Why of HDR image making this is the workshop for you. The workshop will cover how to shoot HDR,  how to process your images using NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and how to finish them in your favorite image editing software. We will also touch on using plug-ins from OnOne, Topaz Labs and other NIK software apps.

The workshop structure is very hands on; you will be working on your own laptop using files I provide to learn how to merge and finish them as HDR images. Afterwards we will use images that the participants provide on their own to better grasp the core concepts.

Construction Cranes

Cranes are the backbone of the construction process.
Cranes are essential to the construction process.

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One of the most iconic pieces of heavy equipment on any major construction project is the crane. These monsters are essential to the Ohio River Bridges Project. Wherever I see cranes I can be sure there is some heavy work being done. They are used to move the massive steel beams, heavy timbers, sheet piling, concrete forms and other large items on the ORB. The crane operators have to be able to move their loads into very precise positions in order for the people on the ground to perform their tasks. The hand eye coordination required is incredible especially when you consider that almost all communication with the crane operator is done via hand signals. The more I am around them the more respect I have for their skills moving items that weight in the tons safely and precisely.

The difficulty I face when shooting cranes is my desire to include their long booms in the composition. Unless there is something else in the sky they can become nothing more than tall vertical elements. When I shoot them I look for mornings when the sky is filled with clouds or the sun is rising behind them. In this image I was able to include the heavy clouds for a background. I used the cranes themselves as repeating forms that provide strong diagonal lines within the composition and convey the scale of the scene.

This image is a HDR created from my standard three frame bracket set of +2, 0 and -2 EV. I merged them in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and did my initial tone mapping there. I then returned the file to Aperture 3 where I adjusted contrast, color channels, saturation and vibrance. Finally I applied my sharpening and added a small vignette to focus the viewer’s eyes within the frame.