Archive for the ‘HDR Efex Pro’ Tag

Bemis Brook Falls (NH)   7 comments


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While sweltering in the heat and humidity of summers in NC, I sometimes go back through my library of images to remind myself of what autumn in New England is like: Cool, serene, colorful, playful, usually clear, sometimes moist, always gorgeous.

One day in 2010, the weather was socked in, making summit attempts pointless. Really… why work that hard in order to see nothing? So, we decided to hike up to Arethusa Falls in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Along the way, we descended to Bemis Brook Falls, a worthy side trip.

During wet weather, you have to be very careful with your footing on these rocks. The algae can make them very slippery. Don’t ask me how I know this. 🙂

You can see a different view of these falls in portrait orientation here, if you’d like.

Sunrise at Otter Point   2 comments


A beautiful sunrise at Otter Point, Acadia National Park, Maine.

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If one has never been to this place, one should visit, at least once.

Of all the places we travel in New England in the fall, Acadia National Park is one of our favorite stops. The conundrum is that we appreciate solitude and wilderness, but ANP in autumn is anything but empty. Over the years, though, we’ve found a rhythm to visiting, and know of a few small spots where you can spend the day with very few signs of human activity. Despite the popularity of ANP (one of the most heavily visited of the National Parks), the natural beauty is, I think, unparalleled, particularly on the east coast.

Feel the warmth of the sun by viewing larger. Just click on the image to open a new window.

This image proved fairly difficult to process, and I went through several iterations. Whenever I got the sun flare to show up as I wanted (i.e., not blown out), most of the HDR processing programs created serious halos, especially around the tree branches on the left. Trying to merge in original exposures or sky-enhanced layers proved to be too difficult because of the varying intensities of light in the sky. It turned out to be a tug-of-war between a good sun flare and excessive haloing, with neither really winning. In the end, although I merged the brackets (+/-2EV) with HDR Expose, Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro turned out the best preliminary result, although some fixing up had to be done: Denoising filters used to knock down HDR Efex Pro’s noise levels wound up overly softening a few elements. Once again, Topaz InFocus, my new favorite plug-in, came to the rescue to bring back the detail in the rocks. I also have to give a nod to the Content-Aware Fill feature of my new Photoshop CS5 for taking out some lens refraction spots… nothing could’ve been easier!

Big Back Yard   2 comments


Sunrise over Whiting Bay from Cobscook Bay State Park, northern Maine

Big Back Yard

With sunrises like this, it’s hard to leave the place. This was taken one morning at Cobscook Bay State Park in northern Maine, not far from Lubec.

Our tent is just a few feet behind this point of view, making morning shooting very convenient. We often joke about our new campsites having a much bigger back yard than we have at home, and we find no greater pleasure than to just sit and watch nature do its thing, or to capture it in the process.

On a side note, I often think twice about posting in portrait orientation due to the limits of today’s monitors, but in this case, I think it suits the subject well, although I may next try a vertical panorama.

Click on the image to see it larger in a new window in the Waterscapes Gallery.

Once again, this image was composited in Photoshop by layering outputs from seven brackets in Photomatix Pro 4, HDR Expose/32-Float, and HDR Efex Pro. Each had something interesting and unique to offer to the final image, and none really created what I wanted in and of itself. Beyond that layering and masking, there was very little done in the way of color or saturation. In fact, I knocked back the saturation a bit using Topaz Adjust ‘Neutralizer’. In the end, this image represents what I saw that morning, but sometimes you have to coax it out of the brackets.

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