Tag Archives: Color Efex Pro

Get Out of Your Rut: Tips for Creative Photography

Photography is a combination of technical and artistic techniques. The more techniques you master, the more opportunities you’ll have to create your vision.

Photography combines technical and artistic elements and allows me to express my creativity. Today, just about anyone with a cell phone has a camera on-hand. So how do you go beyond just taking pictures of your food and your cat?

As with all things, you should have a grasp of the basic fundamentals of exposure. Sure, you can put your camera into Program Auto or “Scene” mode, but doing so can sometimes restrict your creativity. Program Auto mode is great when you’re just looking to get snapshots, and it is well-suited for those just starting out to allow the user to concentrate on composition. But at some point, all your photos will start to look the same, and you’ll probably want to expand your horizons. Here are some techniques you can experiment with once you have the basics down. Continue reading Get Out of Your Rut: Tips for Creative Photography

Photo of the Day: Old & New

Brooklyn Bridge, NY
The new World Trade Center building rises from lower Manhattan behind the Brooklyn Bridge.

I was in New York last week for Photo Plus Expo, and I had some opportunities to shoot around the city. I was fortunate to get out before Hurricane Sandy devastated the east coast. My thoughts and wishes are with the people struggling without power and whose homes were damaged from the storm.

This shot is of the Brooklyn Bridge (foreground) with the new World Trade Center Building (Freedom Tower) rising in the background. I processed the RAW image using custom WB adjustments to get the hues interesting, followed by Color Efex Pro 4 for the final touches and contrast enhancements.

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I’m not that tough, really!

Don’t try this effect on your mom (click to enlarge).

Part of being a photographer is finding ways to express your creativity. I thought I’d experiment with a “selfy” shot that I did a while back to give it some more character. Ok, those of you who know me are probably saying, “dude, you don’t need any more character.” But I digress. Let’s have a little fun.

The original shot was done using my Nikon D3s and 105mm f/2.8 AFS G VR Micro-Nikkor lens (a very good portrait lens). I used a single SB-900 Speedlight off-camera on a stand, controlled by the Nikon SU-800 commander. The out of camera result was this:

I used a single off-camera SB-900 speedlight for the original image.

I brought the image into Photoshop, where my goal was to apply plug-ins effects via layers for complete control. Now it was time to get down and dirty! I duplicated the background layer and I used single-image tone-mapping in Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro 2.

Single-image tone-mapping in HDR Efex Pro 2 creates quite an extreme look.

Yes, this is extreme, but hang on… Continue reading I’m not that tough, really!

Color Efex Pro 4: Vignette Effects

I used the Vignette filter in Color Efex Pro 4 to darken the corners in this image.

A vignette, or corner-shading effect, is an age-old technique used to draw attention away from the corners of the frame and towards the center. In standard photography, vignetting could be created in one of several ways:

  • Light fall-off: A natural optical phenomenon where light at the edge of the frame is less intense than in the center of the frame, causing darkening. You’ll often see light fall-off when using your lenses at their widest aperture.
  • Vignetting: Caused when a filter or other object on the front of the lens protrudes into the frame. This is especially true when placing filters on super-wide lenses.
  • Dodging/Burning: In the darkroom, a standard technique was to either darken (burn) or lighten (dodge) the corners of the frame to accentuate the subject.

Continue reading Color Efex Pro 4: Vignette Effects

Photo of the Day: Fountain Motel

Fountain Motel, Wall, South Dakota. Nikon 1 V1 with 10mm f/2.8 1-Nikkor lens. Processed in Color Efex Pro 4 and Flypaper Texture (Click for larger image).

Here’s a snapshot (literally) from my recent workshop in South Dakota. My students and I had returned from our early-morning shoot and were walking to town to grab some breakfast. This old motel was on the corner and had a vintage style, so I grabbed a quick shot with my Nikon 1 V1 camera and 10mm lens. Read on to see how I processed this file. Continue reading Photo of the Day: Fountain Motel