Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Before and After - Nik HDR Efex Pro

I got a copy of the Nik HDR Efex Pro HDR software for Christmas.  Since then I've played around with it just a little trying to learn all the ins and outs of this package.   This evening I used it on a photo I took when we were in the Grand Tetons back in June of 2009.  

This was a frustrating image for me from the beginning.  First, this is one of the most beautiful spots to get a picture of the Tetons reflecting in the Snake River at Oxbow Bend.   I had anticipated taking this picture for months before going.   The clouds swallowed these magnificent peaks and ruined the image I had in my mind.  I never imagined it cloudy and rainy.

When I got home I tried to make this image a bit more interesting.  I cropped it down to a panoramic to get rid of those uninteresting clouds.  That helped a bit but it was still pretty flat and uninteresting.  

I then tried to add some contrast to make it more interesting by increasing the exposure, pulling some blacks back in, and then increasing the exposure of the dark areas using the Tone Curve in Lightroom.   It was better,

but still not what I was hoping for.  After a while I gave up and moved on.  

This evening I ran that image through the HDR Efex Pro software.   Most of the time your feeding HDR software multiple images taken and various exposures to capture a wide range of light.   In this case, I passed it a single photo that just needed a little more drama.   Not the over the top look of many HDR images, just something slight so the image still looked realistic.   Here's what I came out with.

I think I now like this photo of Oxbow Bend.  I still wish the mountains weren't covered up in clouds.  In hind sight, I wish I had taken several shots to stitch together into a panorama that could be printed large.  Even with the clouds, I wouldn't mind this one on the wall in the den.

If you would like a print of this photo it can be ordered on my website   You'll find it under the Earth, Sea and Sky gallery, then Grand Teton National Park.   It can be printed up to 10x30 inches on photo paper, canvas or as large as 12x36 on aluminum.  Now that would be cool!  If you want something in a non-standard size let me know.

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