Periodically, I like to go through my old images and re-process them; it’s one of the great benefits of shooting in RAW. Being able to work with my old images in new software really opens up some options that I didn’t even consider at the time I made the shot. I captured this image in 2005 while on a photo safari in South Dakota. At the time, I was shooting a new Nikon D2x camera and I had just gotten my 17-55mm f/2.8 AFS DX zoom Nikkor lens. I also had just upgraded to Photoshop CS2, which had a new feature: “Merge to HDR.” I thought HDR could be a cool thing to learn, so I shot a lot of bracketed exposure sequences during this 5-day trip. Many of them were uninspiring. Others, I found difficult if not impossible to process, and so I just processed the best exposure in the sequence with traditional techniques (that’s the nice thing about bracketing– you’ll always have at least one “normal” exposure).
The one thing I didn’t do, however, was delete the other exposures from the bracketed sequence. They’ve just been sitting on one of my 1TB hard drives, waiting for me to give them a second chance. Fast forward to 2011, and now HDR tools have progressed to the point where you can get great results quickly and easily. So, yesterday I went back and re-processed the HDR sequence in HDR Efex Pro and Capture NX 2, and I was quite pleased! Here’s what was in the new technology that I couldn’t get in 2005. Continue reading Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow→
I had the chance to visit the USAFA Chapel yesterday. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get inside due to a funeral service. However, I did have fun with shooting some HDR brackets in extreme back-lit conditions. Other than a little lens flare from the 14-24mm f/2.8 AFS G Nikkor, I thought these came out kinda cool. The HDR shots were processed in HDR Efex Pro and then finished off in Capture NX 2. Click on any image to see a larger version.
It’s sometimes easy to forget with all this writing that I’m supposed to be a photographer. So I got out of the studio today and went off in search of a good HDR subject. I found one; Miramont Castle in Manitou Springs, CO. This “castle” was built between 1895 and 1897, and is a true Victorian masterpiece in Colorado. If you go, bring your tripod and try to go on a weekday in the winter, when crowds are minimal. I was the only one there (except for the spirits, who are known to wander the halls). I didn’t find any spirits, but I did find a wonderful subject for HDR photography. All my images were shot in RAW, converted to TIFF in Capture NX 2, HDR tone-mapped in HDR Efex Pro, and then finished off in Capture NX 2. Enjoy.
If you use Lightroom, Aperture, or Photoshop, I highly recommend using Silver Efex Pro for black and white. It’s just that powerful. But as you can see, Capture NX 2 users need not fret about the fact that SEP isn’t available for them as a native plug-in. You can do very well with Capture NX 2; even better if you have Color Efex Pro 3.0 installed.
Here’s another one that I converted to black and white in Nikon’s Capture NX 2. This time, I used Color Efex Pro 3 Tonal Contrast to really get the textures in the rocks to pop out. Normally, the main attraction at Mesa Arch in Canyonlands is the arch itself. But it gets crowded there, and there are other cool spots nearby. Like right to the right of the arch. The overlook is amazing and the drop-off is stunning. I thought these rocks had great texture for a black and white image.