This is one of those days when I’m not satisfied with anything that I’m working on, in the digital darkroom at least.
Before I even started trying to process any of the shots from last weekend, I downloaded the trial version of Topaz Adjust and six other Topaz products (they have a great deal on their bundle right now). I wanted to see how Topaz might handle some of the single exposure shots that I took of the aspens. Even though I took almost every shot as a bracketed series of three, I knew there would be some issues with processing them as HDR’s because of how windy it was last Saturday. I was thinking that I might just stick to processing the single exposures, and I wanted to see how some of the presets in Topaz Adjust might render them.
Anyway, after downloading the bundle, it took me a little while to get it to work in Paintshop Pro, not because I had installed it incorrectly, but because I was testing it on a raw NEF file. Evidently, TA doesn’t play well with raw NEF files (at least in Paintshop Pro). When I fed it a JPG or TIFF file, there was no problem. But by then I had wasted an hour and was ready to move on.
So then I decided to start looking through the bracket sets to see if there were good candidates for HDR. You know how it is, you take all these shots and in your mind you imagine how great they’ll be….but then they just don’t turn out like you pictured them. That’s been my evening.
Here are a couple of HDR’s that I produced this evening, using Photomatix V4 (I’m still trying to decide if I like it or not), with follow-up processing in Paintshop Pro. These were taken on Snowbowl Road, north of Flagstaff, Arizona, using a Nikon D5000 with the kit lens (18-55mm), tripod-mounted:
I mean, I think they’re okay, but still they’re not as crisp and detailed as I would have liked. I did run them through Topaz Adjust just to see how the presets would render them–it was pretty freaky and not at all an improvement. I know I need to learn more about processing, and maybe I shouldn’t have tried to do these as HDR’s. But you never know until you try.
Let me know what you think (and be gentle!).