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.
I shot this photo in 2007, and I just love the way it converts to black and white. I used settings from my Black & White Action Pack for Capture NX 2 to do the conversion to monochrome. I used a yellow color filter to darken the sky, and Color Control Points to adjust local brightness and contrast. I finished with an ISO 100 Film Grain effect from Nik’s Color Efex Pro 3.0 for Capture NX 2.
This was a 5-shot HDR merge that I processed in Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro. I used the “Natural Landscapes” preset that Tony Sweet and I developed for our eBook, The Photographer’s Guide to HDR Efex Pro. I finished off the processing in Nikon’s Capture NX 2 (sharpening and a little CEP3 Tonal Contrast), but the majority of the processing was done in HDR Efex Pro.
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