13 Aug 15. Going out on two limbs tonight, so this mailing will likely have a limited audience. The first limb is that the image is one for Theatrical Thursday, and it is fairly creative. The second is that I'm breaking from my position of no product endorsements and doing three. So for those of you who don't enjoy the technical side of things, skip the last paragraph
Just down the road from us, actually walking distance - perhaps 2 miles - is one of my favorite nurseries. It has recently closed it doors due to excessive over government intrusion into private enterprise via over regulation and penalties selectively applied especially to those who don't vote for the incumbent party. If my grandparents and their like were still living here there would be a revolution! But the nursery has closed and is now reconfiguring itself as a location for outdoor events such as weddings, parties, and the like under the watchful eye of county government. Today the roof beams were being placed on the main "building" and I happened to be there when it occurred. So of course I just had to snap a few images and one of those is what I'm sharing today.
While it has been my position not to promote specific pieces of software, there have been a number of significant applications released of late and I thought I would share some of that with you. I am limiting my discussion to just three items, all of which I use and all of which have recently been greatly improved. I'll start with the simplest to use and end with the hardest of the three, although none are HARD to learn. The easiest of the three is actually a product line made by a company called Topaz Labs. Their products are plug-ins for graphic editors and work with several different programs. The software offers you two approaches, first a simple click on a preset and have it applied to your image and be done, or if you are more inclined, you can use a full control panel to adjust your image to your hearts content. I always use the latter as it gives me amazing control over the image. Their products go on sale all the time so you should NEVER pay full price for any of the 16 programs. I am a beta tester for the company. The second group of programs come from a single individual, Blake Rudis. He has a set of three different programs all based on Ansel's idea of a zone approach to photography. He does not discount his programs except on introduction but does offer discounts if you buy them as a collection. He has a couple of web pages that offer lots of free advice and shares material on a weekly basis for those who subscribe for same. Blake is a former painter and print maker and brings that background to his photographic software. All of his material comes with extensive video lessons so it is not difficult to learn. I frequently review his material for him. The final item is a single panel built by Tony Kuyper called TKActions. It is by far the most challenging to learn but provides for far greater image control to my way of thinking. It would take several hundreds of words to explain so you can watch his videos to get an idea of how his software works. I have absolutely no connection with his material except to use it. Both Tony and Blake have recently introduced new versions of their products that have greatly improved how they function as well as their affect on your image. Topaz Labs has recently updated some of their programs, and is about to begin a new product beta. When I can tell you about it I will. I write all this to suggest that you might well find each of these pieces of software worth your investment in both $$$ and time. While all work in Photoshop, the Topaz products also work as stand alone programs, and with several other graphic editing programs, and on both mac and windows platforms, Blake's programs work on both platforms and only Photoshop, and Tony's actions work on windows for sure and I think mac as well. If you decided to purchase any of these products I'm always available should you have any questions.
I took the base image and adjusted for max tonality, added a small amount of micro contrast adjustment, and then ran a Topaz filter - glow - on it to get the look you see. Nikon D300s; 18 - 200; Aperture Priority; ISO 200; 1/320 sec @ f / 8.