Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fall Desktop

I'm a little conflicted.  I'm sort of bummed that the best fall color here in Boise is quickly passing.  But the good news is that there is already snow in the peaks north of town.  Fall is quickly showing hints of winter, and that means it's almost time to get a fresh coat of wax on the skis.

Before that happens, however, enjoy a nice fall desktop.  October almost got away from me but I thought I'd bring out a seasonal image to download.  I've made it simpler this time, just click on the image and you'll be able to save it.

Backlit maple leaves in the fall sunshine.
Until next time!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Freestyle BMX in the park.

It's gorgeous in Boise right now, clearly fall is in the air and the foliage is about at its peak.  So yesterday morning I went out and chased down a few images of fall.  (Here's a link.)  It was an inspiring start to the day, but I realized what I really wanted to do was shake off the scenics and dig into some gnarly action.

There's a kick-ass skate and bicycle park just up the road from my house and that turned out to be the ticket.  Met some dudes who can really wick it up and we were set!  

Some of the key elements I wanted to accomplish was to set the athletes out from their environment.  There are many ways to put the emphasis on your subject, including depth of focus, careful clean background selection, contrast, etc.  But my goal was to use lights.  I love the look when you overpower mid-day light with strobes to add drama, but that's hard to do with small flash unless the working distance is really close.  It's possible, but not within enough space to allow BMX riders to pull their tricks.  In order to be able to light them and still leave room to move, I waited until the sun was low and the light levels dropped a bit.  The lights themselves make an appearance in some of the images.  Some folks might find that distracting but I left them in there, as I think they add a cool element of style.  

Know what? Enough details, let's get right into the images!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Nik's HDR Efex Pro

Spent a little time playing around with Nik's new HDR program this afternoon and had some thoughts and images to share. I'm no HDR expert by any means, but even a cursory examination reveals there's a lot going on here for everyone from rank beginner to seasoned artist.   My initial reaction is that this program is going to be a great addition to the image manipulation toolkit.  The feature set is remarkable!  You can get an idea of what's available for your image in this screenshot.

Screenshot of Nik's HDR Efex Pro

Let's start at the beginning.  How do you get started in HDR Efex Pro?  I've become a Lightroom 3 user in the last few weeks, so that's where I begin.  Start by selecting a series of images with differing exposures.  There are a few ways to go from this point, but I'd suggest hitting the export button in the lower left.  This brings up an export dialogue where you can select HDR Efex Pro from the Nik Software preset.  This is set up right out of the box, as the program is installed, with the correct parameters including JPEG or TIFF and appropriate color space (AdobeRGB is the default but you can select sRGB and ProPhoto RGB if you desire).  Just hit Export when you're ready.  Lightroom creates the TIFFs and opens HDR Efex Pro right up for you.  The HDR program takes if from there, assembling a basic image.  

Continued after the break.

Friday, October 8, 2010

A big day for HDR

Although I find myself drawn to a fairly "photo-realistic" style, with generally not much in the way of image manipulation being done, it's hard to avoid the fact that HDR-style photography can be a very powerful tool for some images.  Late last evening I got an email from the great folks at Nik indicating that their new, eagerly-ancipated program, HDR Efex Pro, was ready for prime time.  
Over the last few months we've seen some great previews of what will be possible with this program, and being familiar with other Nik products I knew that this was something I was going to want.  Well, today's the day.  If you're interested in what HDR, and more specifically HDR Efex Pro can do for you, head on over to the Nik site and have a look!
I've got some images to go process.  Maybe I can put some samples up later tonight.