I’m sure you have heard about the Google Nik software suite offer by now. …no? well then, get this… It turns out that Google has reduced the price on the entire Nik software suite to an affordable $149. The Suite includes all the famous and popular plugins: Define 2, Sharpner Pro 3, HDR Efex 2, Silver Efex Pro 2,Viveza 2 and Color Efex Pro 4. Works with Adobe Photoshop CS, Adobe Lightroom and Aperture.
Even better, if you already own a earlier version of the suite or just one of the 6 plug-ins, you can get the entire suite for free. If you have registered your product, you should have a mail from google by now in you inbox with a download link. If you don’t, check your spam folder, that’s where i found my email from Google.
I really look forward to take some time and play with the different plugs in from Nik.
Most of my images takes a trip through this suite in one way or another. I use Perfect Effects for the final tweaks and stylization. I particularly like Tonal Contrast, the Big Softy and HDR look Natural. I have used Perfect Resize with greats success a few times. And Perfect Black & White is quite amazing if you ask me. This version works of course with Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture. But even better, this suite also is a stand-alone collection of software, meaning you can use this with out Photoshop etc. Just launch Perfect Layers and you are good to go. It’s a great plugin to have and I recommend you at least give it a trial – free of course. Prices starts at $79. Actually, now you can download Perfect Effects 4 for free!! And a bunch of cool presets as well. No charge. Gotta love that!
The last plugin I use is one I found recently. Its made by the good folks at HDRsoft who makes the well-known and highly recommended Photomatix HDR software. This little plug-in is made for Lightroom 4, and what it does is combining your selected brackets to a 32 bit tif file, that you can edit in Lightroom, making your Lighroom 4 software a great tool for HDR shots. It does that without going into the main Photomatix program or Photoshop for that matter. Lightroom 4 has the ability to work with 32 bit files. The advantage of a 32 bit file is that it gives you a +10/-10 f-stop range, that you can control in great detail by using the brush adjustment tool in Lightroom. It’s quick to use, and gives a result that looks better than what Photoshop CS6 can do in my opinon.
The plugin costs $29 but if you already own Photomatix, you get it for free.
Click the headings for a link to the download site.
- It’s time for the 3rd season from the falls in Kagawong, Manitoulin Island, also known as Bridal Veil Falls. If you missed the other two, click here and here. The opening shot is taken in early June – well both are actually. Again this time, its has a snapshot look to it, but thought it was worth putting up here on the blog.
As I mentioned in my last post, I usually stop here for lunch when I go by on my way to Gore Bay. (A well-informed source has told me that the chip stand across the road from the falls should be pretty good. I’m gonna have to try that this year). Anyway, this shot is taken basically at noon. Not much sunlight down at the bottom, huh? But plenty at the top, on the bushes and the crest. It can be a bit tricky to get a good shot here when the sun is out, with out using bracketed exposures. The shot above is combined with 5 frames , and I was lucky that the couple under falls didn’t move much during my exposure. I left them in there to get a sense of scale. The shot is taken from the same vantage point as the two previous posts.
As you can see in the shot, the water that is going over the edge has slowed down a bit compared to the spring shots. At the end of the fall it gets even worse, as you will see in my last segment from this location on my next post.
The falls goes over the edge in two places. The main one of course, and then a smaller to the right of it. If you remember the winter shot from a couple of weeks ago, that’s why the crack in the ice fall occur But at this time of year, it’s just dripping from small one, and in the shade from the big trees there are some very saturated green colored moss which I couldn’t resist to shoot as well.
We had a “short” heat wave up here last week. Temperatures around the 5°C /40°F. That got things melting, but sure enough, it didn’t last long, so now we are left with some extremely dirty looking snow piles, black and brown from the salt, sand and exhaust. It’s not very pretty to look at. But of course being in Northern Ontario, we probably still have a snowstorm or two to deal with before it’s all said and done. Currently we are back below freezing but its going the right way. It is so nice to feel the heat from the sun as it gets higher in the sky.
Last week I posted a winter shot from Bridal Veil Falls. I thought I would keep going and post some pictures I took in the spring of 2011. They are not exactly fine art shots, but I thought they would tell a story of the spring thaw anyway. They are shot in May, and I’m sure by then the spring thaw has peaked, but it was still a cool to see the amount of water that’s going over that edge, especially when you compare that to a shot taken in late…which I’ll be posting next
weekend ehm.. time.
The opening shot is taken from one of two viewing platforms that over looks the falls. I think this particular one is the lower one. This time of year, I would not go any closer to the falls, because my equipment and I would get absolutely soaked. As you walk down the metal stairs towards the trail, that by the way goes from the falls to downtown Kagawong, you will feel the cold mist coming from the falls on your face. Standing at the bottom of the stairs on the trail looking back, right around that corner are the falls and a spring shower if you get to close… The mist is clearly visible, and even standing here, you can feel it. The trail is borderline muddy, the stairs are wet and slippery, so hang on to the rail and wear practical shoes if you go for a peak your self. And you should…
The Kagawong River or creek runs out in the big Lake Huron, and I found 4 shots in my library that was taken from the same spot right in sequence I put them together in PS and saved it as an animated gif. You may have to click on the image to view the animation. It kind of gives you an idea how this little river or creek really comes to life when spring arrives.
Thanks for stopping by.
Just about once a month, I have the pleasure to go to Manitoulin Island which by the way is the worlds biggest island in a freshwater body. My last stop there is Gore Bay, and to get there I drive right by the beautiful Bridal Veil Falls in Kagawong. It’s a very popular place and guaranteed visited by every single tourist and local that has ever been on this island.
The fall is about 2 hours from my office, and depending on the time, I usually pull over here for a quick lunch, and of course a peak at the falls. So by going there between 12-15 times a year, I get to observe the changes that happens there. The spring thaw, where it’s almost impossible to be at the foot of the falls because of the spray. During the summer where there almost no water is going over the edge. In the fall the salmon comes up-stream to spawn and die right in the pool at the bottom of the falls. That is the end of the
road river for them as there are no way of getting further up. And then of course winter where the 35′ tall fall freezes solid. It looks amazing, so i thought i would share a shot from that location. You are actually able to walk behind the falls through the opening on the right, and you will come out on the other side of the pool. Getting wet is a possibility because water is still running behind the ice build up.
On this trip, i did not bring my boots, so I did not venture down the stairs to the bottom of the falls. But the viewing platform was accessible, so this is what you’ll get this time.
Getting a decent lighting in this location is tough because the river runs north out into Lake Huron, so it’s not a sunrise or sunset location. On both sides are steep hills with tall trees, and to get any light down by the pool, you will have to wait until noon, which is not really a good time to shoot landscape. As always with fast flowing water, I prefer a cloudy day at this location to get a sense of moving water using slow shutter speeds.
To give a sense of size, I included the picture on the right, shot in mid March 2012. At this point the spring thaw was well under way, and the whole scene was not as pristine as you can see on the brownish colors of the snow and ice. Where I’m standing is right at the entrance to walk behind the falls as mentioned above.
Shortly after returning home from my holidays, I was going on a trip that would take me deep into the bush. Well, deep is probably an exaggeration to some, but about 20 clicks up an unknown gravel road is far enough for me at this time of year. I have to say that this road was an extremely well maintained one of the kind. In fact that particular day, this gravel road, – this snow-covered gravel road, was the best road I drove on that day.
Highway 11 which is a main 4 lane high way had a lot icy sections mainly in the right hand lane. Which made it a bit of a dicey drive especially when other cars and trucks were passing. A couple of cars had indeed ended up in the ditch due to the road conditions. The reason for the icy roads was due to a bit of a warm spell a couple of days before – thaw, freezing rain, and then some flash freezing and just to make it really interesting – a nice dump of snow to cover it all up. This day, the temperature was well below -25°C / -13°F, so road salt wouldn’t have made any difference what so ever.
After finishing my call at my customer, I headed back down the gravel road. The sun was higher in the sky, and some ice fog or mist was forming between the trees. I was so happy i had brought my camera that day, because it was absolutely gorgeous in there. Extremely cold, fresh snow on the trees, well-groomed road, no wind, blue sky and sunshine – perfect conditions for a winter shot. I made a few different shots on my way back to civilization, and this is one of them.
Now, I can’t really decide which one I like the best. Black & White or color. Scroll down to see the colored version. I like both, but I chose to feature the black and white – in my opinion it has a slight edge over the other one. The reason for trying the black and white conversion was the almost given due to the almost colorless scene, even with the blue sky, and I think it turned out pretty good. B/W conversion was done in the Perfect B & W module of the OnOne Perfect Suite 7. Final tweaks done in LR4.
Feel free to click on the images for a large view.
Oh, one more thing before I forget. As you probably have noticed, my blogging is not exactly regular, (some would say very irregular, but I’m trying…).
Please know that I really do value your visit, your comments, input and critiques, so please consider subscribing to my blog and you will get a reminder in your inbox when a new post is up. The subscription box is on the bottom of this post.
I wanted to show you this 4 image panorama I made from this location. Kind of gives you a nice view from the vantage point under the highway bridge. Gorgeous place. I hope to find time to go there again one morning and to find more mist on the water. Of course, this time of year, it’s a totally different image. Colors and leaves are gone, so it’s a bit sad to look at right now to be honest, but i think with the right light and a bit fog, it can be quite interesting. A reminder for next time, a slightly longer lens (this is shot with a 35mm), and perhaps shooting the panorama with the camera vertical. It is a wee bit narrow…
My good friend Ken Bennison asked me to come with him on a trip up the West Branch this past weekend. But before I get to that, I should explain the title on this blog post. It came up as we were waiting for the light to be in the perfect spot, and for the wind to die down a bit.
Extremist is (what I learned on this trip) more or less what his own family affectionately calls him, and it refers to the way he approaches his photography. There is a very good reason why Ken is an incredible artist/landscape photographer. He does what a lot of other people wont do. He gets up at an ungodly hour, drive,hike or canoe for hours, (obviously not at the same time, but most of the time he will have to do all three to get to his location of choice.) And when he gets there he will explore the area, figure out what he want to shot, and wait for the perfect conditions to happen. Ken is not afraid to wait for hours for his shot. He knows exactly what he wants in a picture, and if the conditions aren’t there, he wont even take the camera out of the bag, because he wont be able to use the shot anyway, so if he doesn’t get the shot, he will simply return to the same spot again and again until he gets the shot he has in his mind. And the results speaks for themselves. Check out his website. I should mention that Ken’s is shooting with a Canon 7D, one lens (28-135mm) and his trusty SLIK tripod. Yes, Ken only use one lens.
Anyway, so this past weekend we were up at the West branch north of Webbwood, Ontario. A place I haven’t been to in 2 years, so it was nice to go there again, and revisit some of the places I have shot before. Examples of previous posts can be found here, here and here. We are about 80 km (~50 Miles) in the bush, driving on a gravel logging road. The weather was perfect. No wind, sunshine and frost in the air. After having shot at a couple of locations, we wound up at the little lake where I had taken the Moonshine shot a couple of years ago. All of a sudden the sunshine starts to come through the trees, and lights up some grasses in the lake. Being the extremist that Ken is, gets up and wades out into the shallow waters. Ankle deep in loon and beaver crap he sets up his tripod and starts to compose a shot. I thought this would be a good time to get a shot of him in action, so I took a few of him shooting this sunlit grass, with some mist in the background.
The shot below is my shot from this location. Not being an extremist, I of course did not go into the water.
One more from the Hwy 17 over pass. Same location as this shot, but this vantage point is from under one of the bridges looking south, as you can see on the google map. It’s definitively an area ill will revisit again.
I got a few more fall shots I would like to share. (My first Fall shots post is here). Still on Hwy 17 west of Sudbury in Northern Ontario. It’s always a treat when the water is calm, and the reflections is like mirrored perfectly.
Fall in Northern Ontario lasts approximately 3-4 weeks by my understanding – if we are lucky. This year it started a wee bit early too, probably due to lack of moisture, so the trees started to turn even before the summer was over. Yes, fall time is nice, but as soon as the colors are gone from the trees, it only becomes a reminder whats coming. -Yes, the white stuff….uggggg. The ‘S’ word is a bad word in this house.
Anyway, fall time – time to get out and get some colors at my regular locations. So here we go. First shot is from the Hwy17 bypass. I drive on this highway quite frequently, and I have been witness to the amazing color change during a period of a couple of weeks, so it was a must have shot. Shot on a chilly and cloudy morning around 8 am.
I had a really cool experience last weekend. I had got my hands on some tickets to the annual Rodeo show. It was my first time at a rodeo, so I didn’t really know what to expect. I have seen it on TV a few times, but it’s not a sport I follow religiously. I brought my D300 and my longest lens, the 70-300mm, and it turned out to be a the right choice. Of course, if I have had the 70-200 f2.8 it would have been better, but I don’t own that lens…yet
The rodeo is a cool way to see cowboys and girls in full gear, riding beautiful horses, wearing great outfits (that category belongs to the girls only) and of course the atmosphere. Lots of spectators were sporting a cowboy hat as well. The southern state accent from the announcer was very fitting and of course the rodeo clown. It was all a lot of fun. I would definitively go again, just because of the atmosphere.
Now, there’s something I don’t get. How would anyone in their right mind get on the back of a 1500+ lbs. bull with testies the size of baseballs, put a strap around the said area of the bull, and then let it out of the pen. The object is to stay on the bull for 8 sec. The amount jumping the bull does is also a part of the final score. At the same time try not the stomped on when one can’t hold on to the bull anymore. One guy got hurt badly and had to take a trip to emerge.
This guy took awhile to get up. I think he had trouble breathing properly right after he fell off.
Anyway, I’ll start of the Rodeo image fest with the shots above. – there will be more…
Be sure to click on the images to view a larger version.
I surprised my self, and got up early this morning in search for a picture at High Falls in Onaping. I think I got a few keepers that I will share in a later post. After the sun was getting higher in the sky, I decided to explore a bit above the falls. I found what looks to be a good sunset location so ill try to get back there later. On the way, I came across the image you see above, and i thought it was too good to pass up. High Falls is unfortunately littered with graffiti on the rocks because it’s so accessible, especially in the summer where the water levels are low. There are several marriage proposals, X loves Y, and Z was here. To be frank, I wish people would respect the falls beauty and stop painting on the rocks. That said, the graffiti on the rocks in the shot above stood out, so I had to shoot it.
This guy went all out and poured his feelings for his sweetheart out on the rocks, just above the falls. I’m not sure if its readable when it’s scaled down so here is the text letter for letter.
“So here it goes
I’ll try my Best
to explain to you
whats on my chest
I know I can LOVE
when I see the world in you
And your eyes everywhere in the world
Your important to ME in every way
I would tell you that Everyday
To me your the one
your my modivation
our potential to be together
feels as though it would last 4 ever
I want to be ur man
I can to assure u’ll
be a happy
It looks like he was running out of space at the end. That would make sense if he wrote this in the spring, where the water level would be just off the bottom of the frame.
Of course it’s not the most inspiring poem ever written, but he definitively put an effort into it. Who knows if his sweetheart read it and what happened after.
I think an apology is in order. A while back I upgraded varies plugin’s on my blog, and for some reason the commentLuv plugin did not get re-enabled after the upgrade. I just realized yesterday that something was missing from the comments – the link back to the commenter’s own blog.
If you have commented on my images, please know that I appreciate them all, critical or not, and at the very least I should offer a link back to your blog. It didn’t happen, for that I’m really sorry.
Today’s shot is from an old limestone mine in Denmark. The mining ended in 1953, but the kilns were still producing burnt lime from other quarries all the way up to 1978. The mine is now part of a museum. Lots of tourists take the tour underground, guided or not. The constant temperature in the mine is perfect for storage and maturing of cheese, up to 200 tons of it. Just try for a second to imagine the smell… yeah, I know.
Besides being a bat habitat, the mine is also home to an underground concert hall – the acoustics are amazing.
TGIF! What a long week. I thought I would end this week with another shot from a World Wide Photo walk. This time it’s from 2009 in Odense, Denmark. The walk was in and around the area of Hans Christian Andersen’s birth home, now museum. This shot looks really good in large print. Looking at the screen now, I’m not so sure… I was going for the patterns on the cobble stone and the bricks in the round wall.
This shot is from the 2011 World Wide Photo walk in Traverse City, MI. The walk was divided up in three parts. About an hour on the harbor front, and then you could choose to do either a downtown Traverse shoot or a drive up on the Old Mission peninsula for some spectacular views over the vineyards. I chose the latter and in hindsight, I should have done the city part of the walk instead. Now I know for next time. I got my bests shots from the harbor, and I choose to submit this one – and I’m glad I did.
I’ll kick this week of with a shot from the Scott Kelby’s 2011 World Wide Photo Walk. I sure hope you got to do a walk near your location, if not, try to make time for next year. I had to pleasure to do two walks that October weekend, the unofficial one in Glen Haven, MI and the official one in Traverse City, MI. I have already posted one shot from the Glen Haven walk on this blog (click here), and here is another one. It’s the path from the old Coast Guard Station, (now a museum) down to the beach.
It’s definitively a place I would like to go back to sometime next year. Beautiful place.
Second round of my “post & run” week.
The shot above is from an outing up the West Branch behind Webwood, Ontario last year I believe, with my good buddy, Ken Bennison who is an exceptional and award-winning landscape shooter.
By the way, the flower from my last post was just a common lily. Pretty amazing huh? (well, not the photo, the flower of course )
Greetings. This week will be a “post & run” week. A shot, and very little text. Hopefully there will be 3 shots put up here this week. We’ll see..
Starting with a close up of a beautiful flower. Bonus points if you can guess what kind of flower it is.
It has been a tradition of mine to go outside the country to take part in the World Wide Photo Walk events. I have done that in 2009 and 2010, (both Denmark) so why should 2011 be any different. This year I went to Traverse City, MI. Traverse City and area is an absolutely gorgeous place this time of year. The fall colors are just about peaking, and the landscape is very inviting with lots of hills, beaches, dunes, wineries and orchards. Traverse City claims to be Cherry capital of the world – and that’s probably very true. I urge anyone within driving distance to check it out. Beautiful place.
I had the opportunity to attend two walks. Yes, I know you can only register for one, but that does not prohibit any one for tacking along another group, as long as you notify and get the OK from the leader of the walk. You can of course not submit photos for the competition. Well, I had no problem getting the OK from Ken Snyder, who was the leader of the walk in Glen Haven, MI – Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
This place is just gorgeous. Incredible beach and the dunes are just spectacular. I wish we had more time to explore the area and check out the Coast Guard museum, but that will have to be next time.
Above is a 8 frame pano from the Dunes overlooking the lake. Very strong winds that day, but thankfully no rain.
Another very distinctive piece of art that calls the ARoS art museum home is the art work “Boy”, and oh-boy it’s pretty amazing. The sculpture is made of glass fiber, is a whopping 15 feet tall. It is incredible life-like and the artist has put an incredible amount of attention to the small details such as the small veins in the skin, the redness on the knees and feet – it’s just spectacular to look at.
The artist’s name is Ron Mueck and has made several extremely life-like oversized sculptures of men, woman and children. Try and google him, and you’ll see.
The image above is my pick of the series i shot at the museum. Given the huge window behind the sculpture, the lighting was a bit tricky on the shadow side. I attempted a HDR, but it turned out quite soft due to the noise I had to get rid of, (camera operator error of course, ISO was way too high). It’s in the thumbnails below among other details of the “kid”. The sculpture sits on the museum’s lower floor, and walking down the stairs gives you a great first visual of the size of this piece of art when looking over the stair rail. I’m sure several jaws has dropped at this point, including mine. 15 feet tall - imagine the size of pants and shoes….
Please feel free to click on the thumbnails for a full screen view.
In case you missed my first post from the ARoS museum in Aarhus, here’s a link.
During my recent trip to Denmark, I had the chance to visit the art museum called ARoS in Aarhus. It’s huge, apparently one of the largest art museum’s in Northern Europe. The museum displays all kinds of art on its 10 storeys and I’m sure it would take several hours to explore the museum in details, so our main target with our visit was the art work called “Your Rainbow Panorama” by Olafur Eliasson, a Danish-Icelandic artist who is known for his large-scale color, lights and water art works. This particular artwork sits on the roof of the museum, and is a 360° view of Aarhus, but viewed through tinted window panels in all the colors of the rainbow. It is truly a spectacular experience. Once inside the ring, the color changes as you walk around the art work, and your perception of colors changes dramatically. It was very weird feeling to see object that you for sure knew what color it was but was shown in a totally different hue. An absolutely spectacular experience – (did I say that already?). Should you be in the neighborhood, take an afternoon and explore this great museum. It is an art piece in it self.
Since the artwork is called a panorama, I attempted to shoot a pano. The pano above is combined from 5 shots through the clear glass of the entrance to the ring, so you might see some reflections in the pano. Below is a view of the art museum from the out side, and a few shots from inside the ring. The images from inside the ring are straight from the camera without any adjustments at all. You can click on the thumbnails for a larger view.
The next couple of posts will be from this, to me, extraordinary museum, which among other things is the home for the largest boy you can imagine. Stay tuned.
I have looked at this image a lot. I don’t know why, but every time I go through my shots, I tend to stop for a second at this one. There is something very simple and pleasing thing about this shot IMO, and that is as close as I can get to explain what is does for me. It is one of those shots that will end up on one of my walls as a gallery wrap at some point.
It was shot during a World Wide Photo walk in Odense, Denmark in 2009.
Speaking of forest fires, (see last post), I was on a service call at the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) at our local airport here in Sudbury. After the service call was out of the way, I had the opportunity to take some shots at the water bomber, a Bombardier 415, which was being prepped for take off the next day. The sun was, as you can see, in a really bad spot and I only had about 3 min to shoot and couldn’t really go on the other side of the plane, so I grabbed some brackets from this side to make sure I just didn’t get a silhouette of the plane. I knew there were gonna be some sun flares, but this was my chance so I ran with it.
About the 415. It’s a Canadian built water bomber and is one of MNR’s work horses in the fight again forest fires. Used mainly in Canada and the US. A fair share of the 76 ever built is also flying in different countries in Europe, such as Italy, France and Croatia. This plane is a further development of the older Bombardier 215 which the Ontario MNR is still using. The 415 is capable of scooping up 1620 US gallons or about 6140 liters of water in 12 seconds by skimming the surface of a lake. For that reason, this model is also called the SuperScooper. It has a range of about 1500 miles or 2400 km so on a tank of fuel this plane can deliver around 100-130 loads of water, depending on proximity of water such as lakes or rivers of course. There is no question that this plane is invaluable in the fight against forest fires.
About 2 weeks ago I was walking around downtown looking for something to photograph, and as the sun was setting, it became so red like I haven’t seen in a long time. I believe last time was on a MC trip in Portugal, and it was more or less under the same circumstances – smoke pollution from forest fires. This time of year is fire season up here, and as the vegetation and soil dries out in the heat, it just takes a lightning strike to start a fire. There was about a 100 or so fires going a couple of weeks ago, and it turns out that the smoke from some of these forest fires in Northern Ontario was moving south and causing these amazing colors.
I underexposed the image quite a bit to get the deep red colors, it is also cropped very tight in post to eliminate power lines, communication towers and other junk that obstructs a clear view.