Posts Tagged HDR

Downtown LA Sunset

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Downtown LA Sunset

iPbone Photography by Robert Lachman © 2013

True HDR app and Instagram

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My New Photo & Mac Podcast

Subcribe to my new podcast on iTunes

I just posted my first podcast on iTunes. It will be my  weekly thoughts on the world of photography, Mac, iPhone and iPad. The podcast will feature my reviews, the latest and greatest, plus an occasionally an interview.

It’s probably not going to be too groundbreaking, but I’ve always wanted to give it a try. I plan to produce a 15 to 20 minutes a show. If you have any suggestions for topics, be sure to send me a note.

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OK, I Guess it’s HDR Weekend

Check out more of my HDR photos on LA Times Framework

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Photographs by Robert Lachman © 2011

buildingsfountains1I found a few of my HDR (high dynamic range) images hiding on my laptop. The top photo from the Bolsa Chica Wetlands in Huntington Beach, CA is an example of a more natural HDR photograph using Photomatix and keeping the slidet at a lower level. The lower photo taken during one of my lunch break walk of the Bunker Hill California Plaza in downtown Los Angeles is more pedal to the medal HDR effect with the same software. I did give it an extra kick with the Topaz Labs’ Adjust 4 plug-in for Photoshop. Have a great weekend. :-) RL


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HDR From Calico

More HDR on my latest post on LA Times Framework

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Photographs by Robert Lachman © 2011

CalicoCandleCoHDRHDR (high dynamic range) photos of the Calico Ghost Town on a recent return trip from Las Vegas. It’s just a couple miles off the 15 freeway between Baker and Barstow. The photographs were taken with a Canon 2ti camera. I used Photomatix to combine the three differently exposed images before processing in Photoshop CS4.


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Downtown HDR

downtownhrd

Photograph by Robert Lachman © 2010

Just drinking some coffee this morning, playing around with a little HDR. I used my Canon Rebel 2ti shooting three exposures (+2, 0, -2) of this downtown location during my walk. I didn’t use a tripod, it’s always recommended, but at this location security tells you to stop taking pics if you have one.

I used Photomatix software for processing to combine the photos for the (HDR) High Dynamic Range. This bring the best of each exposure to the final image. The final touch was the artistic edgy touch added with the Adjust 4 plug-in for Photoshop from Topaz Labs.

It’s time for work for me. Have a great week. :-) -RL

 

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More HDR: Before & After

newporthotel

Photograph by Robert Lachman © 2010 – Newport Beach, California

It seems like I am getting into the “I need to find a sunset, time for 3-exposures, what’s my next HDR photo mode?” Could it be an addiction? It’s not a surprise when you see the results. Lets face it, one single image just doesn’t reflect what your eyes see. When you take a close you look at this image of the Doryman’s Inn in Newport Beach (above) at sunset, the ability to meld three different image exposures into one starts to close that gap. Of course, you need a tripod, so it really isn’t going to work for your kid’s soccer or party photographs.

It’s pretty much the same settings from my last HDR (High Dynamic Range) post, which included combining three image exposures taken with my Canon G10 camera and a tripod. The photo was first processed with Photomatix software. Next, I imported the photograph into Photoshop to make a few levels adjustments and then moved on to the FocalPoint plug-in by onOne Software to add a dark vignette and soften the focus around the hotel.

FocalPoint is on my short list of favorite Photoshop plug-ins and is on sale at onOne software website until April 30, 2010. The price is down to $100. You can read my review of the software by clicking here. A great resource for learning HDR is photographer Trey Ratcliff’s website Stuck in Customs.

Below is a photograph from a single correct exposure of the scene without any adjustments. Let me know what you think. -RL

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(BEFORE) A single correct exposure of the scene without any adjustments.

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A Little Extreme HDR

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Photograph by Robert Lachman © 2010 – Huntington Beach, CA

It was full-tilt HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography during my walk this morning which included combining three image exposures taken with my Canon G10 camera without a tripod and processed with Photomatix software. Next, I imported the photo to Photoshop and pushed the envelope with a hit of Topaz Labs Adjust 4. Below is a photograph from a single correct exposure of the scene without any adjustments. Let me know what you think. -RL

hdrbeachbefore(BEFORE) A single correct exposure of the scene without any adjustments.

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My First Attempt at HDR

BridgeHDR-Photomix

Photograph by Robert Lachman © 2010 - Huntington Beach, CA

By Robert Lachman

This is my first attempt at HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography. The result was pretty good considering I have no idea what I was doing. I shot three images on a tripod with a Canon EOS Rebel T2i with the exposure on auto bracketing set at at: +2, 0, and -2. That’s 2-stops over-exposed, one right on and the other 2-stops under-exposed.

I used Photomatix, the HDR software from HDRsoft for the the first time to combine the 3 images into one. I saved the image as a .JPEG file, opened it in Photoshop CS4 and made a few final adjustments with the levels adjustment.

I was a little confused trying out the HDR settings. Ok, I was very confused, so many setting and not enough documentation or instruction for me. I need a simple tutorial video to spell it out for me. There were setting for “Generate HDR image and Fuse exposures” for example, and I know there’s a difference, but I’m not sure what. I like the result so I am going to dig in and give it a few more tries.

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My three exposures which combined to make the image above.

 

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Topaz Detail Software Review

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Topaz Detail interior strong detail preset with a little added saturation

By Robert Lachman,
Topaz Labs always seems to be working hard to keep new Photoshop plug-ins at a reasonable price. One of my main complaints about most plug-ins is the high price, but Topaz seems to make them at a more modest cost.

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Topaz Detail bold detail preset

So what can Topaz Detail, the latest offering from Topaz Labs, do for you? Let’s say you just have a photograph that looks flat, maybe low on contrast or you need the subject to pop off the page. Maybe you want that new-school, HDR, specially-lit composition. You know it, the Dave Hill or the Lucis Arts look.

Topaz Detail interior strong detail preset They’re the portraits that have the grunge look that just flies off the page or landscapes or interiors that are 3D masterpieces.

According to the developer, “Topaz Detail is uniquely designed to give the user full creative control over all aspects of detail enhancement without creating edge artifacts. It internally separates the image into three detail sizes – small, medium, and large details – and offers exceptional control over the precise manipulation of each detail type.”

Ok, let’s try and break it down into what this means. Topaz Detail lets you add sharpness and contrast without adding the noise usually associated with the process. While the Detail software is similar to Topaz Adjust it does a much better job of creating the enhanced effect without the increasing edge artifacts or over-sharpening.

Topaz Detail uses the normal Topaz Labs software interface with presets down the left side with examples, a large window for the preview of your photograph and sliders at the bottom to make adjustments.

I usually click on one of the presets and then make minor adjustments from there. Presets include: creative detail accent, micro-contrast enhancement, edge softener, soft looking, deep-blue sky, black-and-white contrasted, bold detail, and interior strong detail.

Topaz Detail softlook preset

Topaz Detail softlook preset

With the Topaz Detail software, you do have a choice of making the images more contrasty, softer or even changing to black-and-white, so plan on spending some time working with your photographs. This is one of those software programs that gets addictive, once you get started, it’s hard to stop.

Topaz Detail works on Intel-based Mac OS with either 10.4 or 10.5, older PowerPC processors are not supported. It works with Photoshop CS3 and CS4 and Elements 6 and 7. They do support Aperture 2 by Apple but not Lightroom.

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Topaz Detail bold detail preset

They do offer a free 30-day full function trial on their website or you can buy it for $39.99. They are offering the newsletter subscriber price at $19.99 until August 31st with the coupon code “SODETAILED” so check the Topaz Labs website to see if it is still available.

I think Topaz Lab has really come up with a fine piece of software at a great price. The software is comparable to others that cost over ten times as much. I won’t mention any other names. Topaz Detail is a little slow when working with large files. I tried it with a 41M Photoshop file and it took Detail about 2 minutes to load on my older model G5 Intel iMac. But, once it’s loaded, it works very quickly when you click from preset to preset or make adjustments.

It does look like Topaz Labs has a winner with Detail at an affordable price. Also available on their site is a bundle price for a limited time which includes, Adjust, DeNoise, Simplify, Detail, Clean and DeJPEG for $149. (It works with Windows and Mac OSX)

Topaz Detail interior Strong detail preset

Topaz Detail interior Strong detail preset

All photographs by Robert Lachman © 2009 taken with the Canon G10 camera

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Topaz Adjust Review

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After Using Topaz Adjust

Before Using Topaz Adjust

Before Using Topaz Adjust

By Robert Lachman

This week I’m going to review Topaz Adjust software by Topaz Labs, a plug-in for Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.

It’s a little hard to explain what this software does, except it’s fun to use and adds a lot of pop to your photos.

According to the company line, Topaz Adjust uses advanced algorithms to achieve unique exposure effects and adjustments in seconds. It offers the user full control over creative exposure, color, and detail effects, and has the ability to save and reuse presets for maximum convenience.

I always love when the software companies say they use advanced algorithms. I can barely pronounce it, how am I going to explain it.

This software takes your boring low-contrast photographs and gives them an HDR end result with added color saturation or the David Hill effect on your portraits.

It makes things a little more contrasty, brings out the color and just adds a different look to your photographs. I really recommend you try it just to see the different outcomes which can be achieved with Topaz Adjust.

The software is very easy to use. It’s a plug-in and I tested it with Photoshop Elements 6. It’s nice when the software will work with both Photoshop or Elements so more people will be able to use it.

It couldn’t be simpler to use. Just open your photo, go to the menu item filter, scroll down to Topaz Lab, then select Topaz Adjust.

The program opens your photo into a new adjustable size window. You can then decide the magnification of your image.

Now the fun part begins. They do have some presets which includes, vibrance, color blast clarity, photo pop, and enhance contrast. Double click on any of these to give you an idea of some of the effects which can be achieved.

The presets give some nice examples but move on to the sliders. This is where you can experience the power of the software. Work in a left to right order as the tutorial on the website recommends.

The first manual setting is is Exposure which reveals six powerful sliders. The important sliders here are adaptive exposure and regions. Give these a try first. A little goes a long way.

Next  try Details which includes the strength and boost sliders. Move to the right and pick Color for added saturation. You may start to see some grain and noise as you work with some of the sliders.

The Noise option will smooth out the grain. It does take the computer time to work out the computations so be patient.
With  large photographs this will take some time. You may be used to blazing speed with your high-powered computer but you’ll need to relax and let the software do it’s work

One important note, this is an experimental and artistic process so it doesn’t work with every photograph.

Topaz Adjust from Topaz Labs is just one of those programs that’s very enjoyable to work with, especially since you only use one photograph and unlike HDR software which relies on multiple images.

You just need to fire it up and start working the sliders. Find a photograph which needs some added pop and color to the clouds or sky or a building which doesn’t have enough saturation.

It can almost make your photographs look like stylized cartoons as you ramp up the effect. It gives your simple photos a super-graphic look.

It’s not for every photograph.  A lot of times you might not want this, but for so many flat boring-looking photographs an extra-cool boost may just be the ticket. Be sure to check it out.

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