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.
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.
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.
Wow, its been awhile since my last post. Time flies…
My inspiration on the coming posts comes after reading a couple of blogs I frequent regularly. It was basically something like go photograph whats in your back yard. I got nothing in my backyard to shoot, so I have decided to explore my neighborhood and my town instead. My town, Sudbury, located in Northern Ontario, is not very exotic, but there’s a lot going on. We got lots of rocks, lakes and forests up here. It’s a mining town, mostly nickel, copper and other precious metals. And of course there are plenty of heavy industry that support the mines in the area.
My neighborhood is a very typical working class community close to downtown. Small houses, most of them are old – like my house is – just a few of them are new-err. It’s all well established, not much room for new development in this area. We certainly don’t have million dollar mansions in this end of town. Reason being is probably the proximity to one of the mining companies smelter, which is just a short drive from here. In fact, I can see the super-stack from my street. I will post some images of that bad boy later.
But I choose to live and work here, so I’ll make the best of it. I have during my walks in the area discovered quite a few gems that I will return to again.
Today’s shot is from downtown. Its late evening, the stores are closed and the streets are empty. This old guy is sitting on the corner of a downtown intersection reading his book. He never looks up as I walked past him. A heat wave has been going on for a couple of weeks now, and the only time to be outside for a longer period of time is around sunset. And I’m sure this guy was just wanted to get some fresh air and escape the heat in his apartment – well, that’s the story I’m sticking to…:)
The shot is processed in LR, Nik Silver Efex Pro and OnOne’s Focal Point.
As I went through my shots, I had a couple where the sign in the back ground was sharp and it had some interesting thoughts written down on it, so I thought I would share its wisdom…
Quick post today with the second shot from the abandoned farm-house of Hwy 17, just outside Blind River, Ontario. Here is a quick link the earlier post from this place.
Every time I look at this image, I’m amazed how trashed it is. Can you tell I haven’t done a lot of UrbanEx? I do know when I go by there again, I’m going to spend a bit more time shooting. There are so many details in this house that I missed last time.
Its time for some HDR on this site. It was one of the reasons I started this blog. – to get better at tonemapping. I have watched guys like Mike Olbinski, Brian Matiash, Bob Lussier, and Jacques Gude for a while now. Since I started this “blog” my list of sites to visit has grown quite large and new ones are added all the time. There are some really amazing photography on all those sites. I will have an updated my blog roll list to show that very soon.
On to todays RuralEx image. Ghost towns or abandoned factories are hard to come by in and around my town. But on Highway 17, just outside Blind River, Ontario, is a couple of candidates. 2 abandoned farm houses, just about 100 feet from the Hwy, a couple of miles apart. The image above is the stairs to the second floor just inside the front door of one of them. I have wanted to shot that place for a long time, so a few weeks ago, I finally had a chance to do something about it. The next couple of posts will be brackets from this house.
I would appreciate any comments or hints about how I can improve. My tool box is Photomatix Pro, OnOne suite 5.5, LR 3 and PS CS 4.