Why I Love Topaz Adjust

A few weeks ago I purchased the bundle of Topaz products, including Topaz Adjust. Since then I’ve been constantly amazed at what this software can do for a bland, single-image exposure.

Here’s an example of a shot that I took while visiting at my parents’ house last week. The skies were overcast and gray, so I didn’t have much natural light to work with. I was shooting hand-held, and my kit lens is not all that fast, so I had to bump up the ISO setting to get a fast-enough shutter speed to overcome my shaky grip.  Click the images to view them larger:

I’m not sure what kind of plant this is, I just found it in the woods behind the house.  I liked the image of the green plant still stubbornly hanging on while everything else was turning brown and dying, but I felt like the shot could be more dramatic if I could recover some of the color and detail that was lost in the soft lighting from the overcast day.  I ran this shot through Topaz Adjust and Topaz DeNoise, with a little post-processing in Paintshop Pro X3 to enhance the edges, and look how it turned out:

Not All Dead Yet

Neither of the shots is exactly what my eye saw that day, so I’m not even going to debate which one is more realistic. I just know that I like the second one much better, and that is what my photography is all about–producing images that I enjoy viewing and sharing.

Here’s another example of a Topaz before-and after.

Before:

After:

Fall Color in Detail

West Fork Revisited

I revisited some of my shots from West Fork tonight, to see what I could do with some of the single images in Topaz Adjust. Here are the results (I really should remember to make notes of the presets and sliders that I used).

Be sure to click on the image to view large on black:

West Fork Revisited 001

West Fork Revisited 002

However, this next one just cried out to be processed as an HDR, with the shadowy details of the rock wall and the sunny highlights of the gold leaves. I just couldn’t resist running the bracketed series through Photomatix to produce this:

West Fork Revisited 003

Next stop with the Nikon will be back in North Mississippi as I travel home for Thanksgiving. Hoping to get some great shots while I’m there, and also hoping I can get through airport security without being forced to baggage-check my gear. Have a great holiday everyone!

Autumn Stream at West Fork in Oak Creek Canyon

I only processed one image tonight, but I’m extremely happy with how it came out. Click on the small version below to view it larger in the lightbox:

West Fork in Oak Creek Canyon

This is an HDR created from three bracketed photos in Photomatix V4. Amazingly, I can find no obvious ghosting in this image, even though it was a breezy that day. This shot was taken deep in the canyon, which offered some protection from the wind….plus, I think I just got darned lucky.

After merging the photos and tonemapping them in Photmatix, I adjusted the image using the Curves tool in Paintshop Pro X3, and then bumped up the saturation and sharpened it slightly (Overlay).

I love this shot….it’s so peaceful and serene, and totally Zen.