Looking out the window yesterday morning, I saw a solid wall of gloom to the west. Pikes Peak was completely obscured by clouds, and it looked crummy for photography. By 9am, though, the clouds were breaking up just enough in the east to let light poke through once in a while. So I figured I’d take a chance and shoot in Garden of the Gods, my favorite local spot to “get away” to.
Normally, I have a pretty steadfast rule about overcast days. To make the shots work, you avoid getting sky in the shots as much as possible. But yesterday, I took a different approach. Since I was set up on my Gitzo tripod, I went ahead and made exposure bracket sequences. For the uninitiated, that’s when you shoot 3 or more shots of the same scene, each at a different exposure. By doing so, I had at least one underexposed and one overexposed version of the same image.
When I got back home, I ran the bracketed image sequences through Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro plug-in to combine the exposures into a single high dynamic range image. The results were quite pleasing! Textures in what would have been a completely washed out sky gave my images a dark and moody feel.
Clearing storms in Garden of the Gods
Yucca and Kindergarten Rock
Juniper on Rattlesnake Ridge; processed in HDR Efex Pro and Silver Efex Pro 2
Low clouds behind Gateway Rock take on new textures with HDR
I’ve posted some excerpts from Mastering Silver Efex Pro 2.0, my 2+ hour video companion to The Photographer’s Guide to Silver Efex Pro 2. You can find the excerpts (and more videos) over at my YouTube feed. Note that these videos are presented at lower resolution than the downloadable version of Mastering Silver Efex Pro 2.0, which is presented in 720p HD format.
The Photographer's Guide to Silver Efex Pro, by Jason P. Odell, Ph.D.
I’m pleased to announce the immediate availability of two new educational products from Luminescence of Nature Photography that will allow you to quickly master the art of black and white digital conversion using the Silver Efex Pro 2 plug-in from Nik Software.
The Photographer’s Guide to Silver Efex Pro 2 is a 200-page PDF guide (eBook) that covers every tool, slider, and feature in Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro 2 plug-in. Here’s the manual that you’ll want to use to learn all the new features in Silver Efex Pro 2.0, including Dynamic Brightness, Soft Contrast, Fine Structure, and Selective Colorization. The book is delivered in electronic (PDF) format, and is readable on Macs, PCs, and iPads (to view on the iPad, you’ll need to transfer the PDF file from your computer using iTunes). I’ve also included a set of custom style presets that you can load into Silver Efex Pro 2: Continue reading →