Tag Archives: Topaz Adjust

Chutes & Ladders, err, Bridges & Buildings

Going through some of the images from the DUMBO walk in Brooklyn and came across this one. Sometimes a second glance is necessary in order to imagine the ‘finished image’- I’ve been using the Topaz suite of software, and tonight I downloaded Topaz Detail, it’s a sharpening app that when applied, “crispens” an image. I’ve been using Topaz Detail quite a bit on my photos to bring out the contrast and add a bit more pop to them, not always, I think in post-production you begin to identify which tool is applicable to the type of finishing you want… there are times I’ll apply a NIK filter like Darken/Lighten Center (one of my favs!) and that’s it. Image finished. Other times, I’ll stack up the layer masks with level and curve adjustments and various filters… not too often, I don’t like to overdo it.

I’m a firm believer that the “photoshop” portion of the entertainment should be transparent to the viewer (unless you are going for that surrealistic HDR look)

SO, back to the bridges and buildings… I like the lines, the detail in the Manhattan Bridge and how it looms over the buildings. Also like the color of the buildings (thanks Topaz Adjust… oh, just a reminder, be sure to apply Adjust on a separate layer mask and turn the opacity down, most time the colors pop too much!)…


Bridges & Buildings


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

Ocean View

Prior to heading out to the Outer Banks I wrote down a quick “shoot” list so I would be ready to grab an image I wanted if it presented itself. Shoot lists can be very specific, or broad in nature. I encourage you to make one before heading out to a location because the act of writing it down helps you pre-visualize a shot, especially when you are venturing to a place you’ve never been before…

For the OBX shoot I had jotted down things like:

1. Interior of lighthouse (didn’t get this one) ~ was thinking of those winding stair type shots with the windows allowing in a bit of light…

2. Sunset (got a few of those) – specifically an interesting foreground object, and great color

3. Beach scenes: waves, dunes… (lots of those)

4. Clouds over the beach…

So… when I was standing at the entrance to a public beach and saw this great sunset starting, I also noticed this long wooden staircase winding its way down to the beach. Something about those wood staircases and beaches- they go together like Peanut Butter & Jelly I think. They give you a feeling of wanting to run down, leap of the last step into the sand and run into the surf (seems to have happened here by the number of footsteps in the lower sand). Those wooden staircases also seem to me to be an “icon” of summer, when you see one, you think warm temps, sun and sand.

Couldn’t help but “snap” this shot… crossed off the beach scene and the clouds from the shoot list, this one nicely captured both 🙂

Ocean View In post I wanted a warmer feel to the image, used Topaz Adjust to pop the detail, and Color Efex Pro’s tonal Contrast at about 10%bon the sky- draws out the vibrance and detail in the clouds.

The Last Frame

Always interesting to see what the last frame you took on location turned out to be.

Sunlight had just about faded below the horizon at Coquina Beach in the Outer Banks and the Moon had risen in the sky. That twilight feel had set in, and honestly, I was a bit tired of shooting (we had also been up at 4am that morning). Turns out as I scrolled through Lightroom looking at the images snapped, this one made me pause. I thought when I took it the moon would be too washed out, too distant, but upon closer inspection, it seemed to be ok.

Into Photoshop it went, used Topaz Adjust to Umph! the exposure a bit (then slid it down using the opacity, too much and it becomes overdone), and left it as you see it now. Enjoy!

Moon over the Dunes

Fence & Dunes, Outer Banks

Been going back to the DLWS Outer Banks pictures for a “second look.”

Found a bunch of images I had debated on finishing, and now I’m glad I did. Worked through a bunch- popped them in Topaz Adjust, tweaked them in Color Efex Pro and some were adjusted using curves and levels only. A few I converted to Black & White, and they really look stunning. Capture the beauty of all that sand… and the beach barrier fences. This is one of them. It’s very “smiley” I think ! 🙂


Fence & Dunes