Tag Archives: Nik Color Efex Pro

Restaurant with SOME view…

This became a very special spot for me while visiting St. Lucia. Amazing view of the Pitons and the city of Soufriere, it was also the spot I realized I forgot my Gitzo tripod and Really Right Stuff Ballhead on the other side of the city in a scenic overview stop. Thats about a $1,000 hit to the P&L as they say in finance… so very calmly I described to John our tour guide that I needed to head back over and see if it was still there.  Back we went through the city, up some hills and curved roads to the spot where it was last scene, and lo and behold it was still there on the ground where I had left it. I chalk moments like that up to being so focused on shooting, I tend to forget about everything else around me (tripods, people, cliff edges…) 🙂

Enjoy this restaurant with a view… for the moments I had prior to realizing I lost my tripod, I sure soaked it in…

btw… finished this off using NIKs Color Efex pro… a little tonl contrast, contrast color range to pop the yellow and a smear of darken/lighten center which I’ve pretty much used on every picture I’ve ever shot. Must tell you, as a photographer… NIK does an outstanding job at allowing you to finish your image with flair. (And no they don’t sponsor me, I just really like their product!)

The Giving Tree

This is one of those shots I took… just because I sorta liked it. It’s a tree. Period. But the way it was lit and the sky above it made for some interesting dynamics.  Took this shot waiting for a cab at the Cambridge Beach Club in Bermuda. Had enough time for a 5 bracket HDR, which I enhanced in post using NIK’s Color Efex Pro (which by and large is the best plug in you can buy for Photoshop, I think…).  And by the way, yes, that is the “real sky”, not doctored or touched up… The skies are so clear there that the Milky Way practically feels like its falling on top of you! 🙂

Shooting Your Own “Backyard”

Living on Long Island, NY sorta forces me to “go away” for landscape shots- Yosemite, Crescent City, Outerbanks… And yet from time to time I am fortunate enough to jump in the truck with gear and tripod in hand and venture forth… around the corner. We got snow today. Quite a bit of it here in NY (although nothing compared to my compatriots in NJ, poor things 🙂 So I ran around Setauket and Stonybrook this morning, shooting some sites I’ve wanted to shoot for awhile. This is a turn of the century farm house thats down near the “Setauket Duckpond.” Been around since the 17 or 1800’s and I’ve always wanted a shot of it in extreme weather or… a terrific sunset, with a multi-hued sky above it.

Funny thing is, I really had a tough time composing for it. Across the street there are a ton of telephone lines, behind it a modern house… UGH! Thought it would be alot easier to put this image together, it was frustrating to come up with a composition that I felt would work. I hope you like this one… have a few more I have to finish but, this is the first out of the gate. The more i look at it the more and more I like the emphasis on the tree and the snow blowing across the house… gives it a very ‘raw’ feeling (for me anyway…).

Given the “blah” light and the snow falling, I decided to shoot a few frames, and then a few GDR’s as well.  This is a  5 frame HDR combined in Photomatix and finished in Lightroom and CS3. have a few NIK filters in there like tonal contrast, darken/lighten center, and I think a contrast color range to boot.


Let the Carving Begin…

I love those “newspaper-ie” photos that have a real vintage feel to them. Timeless, grainy, black and white… as if they were torn out to be saved in a manila folder and perused at some later, unknown date.

The boys wanted to remove the pumpkin guts, collect the seeds (which were dried, salted and baked… and eaten) and well, pretty much just get their fingers all icky and full of pumpkin goo. There plan worked.

I wanted t is image that newspaper-ie feel so I ran and action named Milk Chocolate (converted to B&W) added some film grain using NIK’s Color Efex Pro and finally Darken/Lighten Center (also a NIK filter in Efex). Finally boosted the contrast in CS3 …

I like the end result!


Carving (c) Joseph Rowland 2009

Portrait: Brothers

A shot from the famous, or infamous “Bug Shoot” earlier this summer, where swarms of nasty bugs had us for lunch. Fortunately, a few snaps worked, this is one of them.

Used a Lastolite Ezybox, off camera left to provide some fill since this was shot beneath the very large branches of an old tree.  In Post, I increased the contrast a bit and used NIK’s Darken/Lighten Center to separate the boys from the background a bit more.

Brothers Portrait (c) Joseph Rowland 2009

Hide & Seek at the Zoo

Quick trip into the Central Park Zoo yesterday, the boys were begging for an end of summer trip through the Mid-town tunnel (from out house to the Big Tunnel they counted 50 plus “car tunnels).

These images turned out to be a bit of a surprise- we were in the Children’s Zoo and they have these plastic flaps to keep the animals inside a big area that is netted off, they act as the “doorway” in and out. Aidan thought it would be fun to play hide and seek behind them.

First image was finished in Lightroom with a simple Black & White preset and exported to Photoshop CS3 to complete the border. Second shot was finished using NIk’s Color Efex Pro to boost the contrast a little and make the image pop. That was it for both of them.

Hide & Seek I (c) Joseph Rowland 2009Hide & Seek II (c) Joseph Rowland 2009

Energy Building

This is a close up of the top of a thunder cell building over the ocean. I watched it form for over an hour, and during that time, the light, shapes, textures and colors were simply amazing. It seemed to soak up the energy from the ocean and sun right before my eyes… to the point where I was craning my neck to shoot the top, and mind you, this thing was miles away over the water.

It very much reminded me of those Hubble Telescope shots of star factories in deep, deep space that stretch for hundreds of millions of light years. Nature has a tendency I think to repeat herself.

Watching this “thing” form made me open my eyes to “cloud art” and the inherent beauty they holds in their abstract, yet organized manner. I could sit on a beach and shoot these guys all day…

Shot with a 70-200mm f2.8 @ f5.6 1/200 second. Very little work in post, simply added a tad of brilliance to the lighter side of the clouds using NIK’s Color Efex 3.

Cloud Art

Break in the Dunes

Sometimes you have to work for an image. Hard.

Coquina Beach in the Outer Banks is beautiful, but I found myself falling short on composing interesting images when I was there. I struggled for a few hours, until finally, during the last 30 minutes as the sun set, a few shots seemed to come into focus… this was one of them.

Mother Nature contributes a lot here- sometimes she graces you with incredible clouds, and great light. On this occasion the sky was blowing out, grey clouds mixed with white, and light was fairly flat.

Needed some help to make the images pop- turned to Topaz Adjust and Nik’s Color Efex Pro to help the images spark.

Remember, when you are out shooting and nothings coming to you, it usualy means its time to step back and reassess the situation. If the wide shot won’t work, go for detail or vice versa. I find that challenging photographic situations tends to tap your creativity, either in camera or in post a bit more. In the end the image may not work, and well, thats the cost of admission, but when it does… its magic.

Break In The Dunes