A few years back HDR became for many people one of the most hated terms in photography. I believe this was in part due to the overuse of techniques that produced extreme examples of HDR. It was probably also due to HDR being used to resurrect images that should have been allowed to die a natural death. In short, if you don’t like the HDR treatment and style of image you have typically seen, you may not be interested in HDR.
But by disregarding HDR techniques you are also disregarding a very useful tool that help you produce images of excellent quality. The key to this is being able to master and control the traits of HDR that we often pick up on. The image at the top of this post for example is an HDR image yet appears to be a natural photograph; the HDR treatment has been chosen to suit the image. The same can be said of the following black and white image.
My latest book which has just launched on Amazon, provides you with the tools necessary to control the HDR process and look using Nik HDR Efex. It follows the proven and popular format of marrying information with hands on practical exercises.
- The first art of the book discusses how to shoot and prepare HDR image sequences prior to merging.
- The book then covers the process of generating the HDR image as well as applying Tone Mapping techniques.
- The book then concludes with three full length worked examples for which you can download the accompanying image files from my Lenscraft website. This allows you to follow the process on your own computer from merging the initial images through to post production enhancement with other Nik filters.
The book is priced at just £3.99 (or similar in other currencies) and can be purchased from Amazon in the Kindle format.
Links to the book on Amazon UK and Amazon US are given below. Alternatively, you can search for the book title “Mastering Nik HDR Efex Pro 2”.
If you have been following my series of video posts on the Essential Landscape filters found in the Nik Color Efex software, I have uploaded the fourth in the series. This is possibly the last of these so if anyone has a particular request relating to Nik filters or other aspects of image editing let me know and I will add this to the list for future videos.
If you haven’t already visited my You Tube channel the link is below:
I hope you enjoy.
For those of you who are Nik users, you might be interested in a new video I uploaded to You Tube. I’ve had a lot of correspondence in the past where people have struggled with how to use Nik Color Efex and why it’s different from Viveza.
Generally speaking, Color Efex is all about adding special effects to your work. But there are also a few of the filters that I think are essential. These can help you improve your photography or correct problems very quickly and I use them regularly with my own work.
This video looks at the first of these filters, which was used to enhance the image above as well as correct a serious colour cast. Even if you don’t currently use Color Efex you might find the video interesting.
If you read my newsletter on Lenscraft you will know that I’m working on a new book about HDR. You might find this odd if you know me well; following a brief fling with HDR back in 2007 I decided I didn’t like the technique and have been quite vocal about it. As a Landscape Photographer, I find unrealistic techniques make me cringe.
So what’s changed? In short, my understanding and skill with some of the software tools.
The image above which is from one of the worked examples in the book is a case in point. These images were shot on a Canon 5D and at the time I couldn’t tame the dynamic range with filters. I shot the sequence in the hope that one day I would be able to produce a realistic looking HDR image from them.
Well I think that time may be getting closer. The image isn’t yet quite as I would like it but it’s certainly appealing and doesn’t suffer from some of the obvious HDR signs that make me cringe.
And the software used for this? Nik HDR Efex Pro 2 – best of all it’s free.
The trick to making this approach work is to keep the Detail setting to “Realistic” when Tone Mapping. Also set the Depth to “Normal” and Drama to “Deep”. As you process the image be sure to increase contrast selectively as well as darken shadows. Once you have completed the Tone Mapping step it’s worth the image into Viveza where you close the shadows down and apply additional contrast if necessary.
It takes a little practice and feels as though you are engineering the HDR look out of the image. It’s time consuming but I think it’s worth the effort.
I can hardly believe it but it’s true. There’s no catch and they are even promising a refund for those of us who purchased the software. Here is the link
If you haven’t downloaded the software do it immediately before they come to their senses.
The day has just run away with me again. It’s now 10:15pm UK time and I realise that I haven’t posted my Friday image. I have been hard at it since 07:00am and I’m tired. I have therefore turned to a traditional coastal landscape image from my recent holiday (which now seems a very distant memory) to cheer myself up. I hope you enjoy.
Have a great weekend everyone.
Another image with a sea theme. This was from my trip a few weeks back to the Lake District. On the way I had a stroll up Black Combe from which you can see the largest offshore wind farm in the world (at least that’s what it said on the BBC news). If you look carefully in the light area you can just about make out a few of the wind turbines.
Post processing was in the new Nik Analog Efex which is fast becoming one of my favourite creative filters for artistic and old camera effects.
Have a great weekend everyone.