Friday, October 8, 2010

Dying Sunflower #5, Nik HDR Efex

I was able to purchase Nik Software's new Nik HDR Efex a few days ahead of the official release on October 11th.  To give it a shakedown, I turned it loose on my first HDR effort, a dying sunflower.  The picture above is processed from three brackets.  I'm very uncertain at this point about workflow.  Because I could not find a way to launch HDR Efex from Lightroom, I had to find the pictures in Bridge, and kick off the tool from here.  Above is more or less the a default, straight processing.  Compared to Adobe's HDR Pro, there are fewer artifacts and the color is very clean.  

The saturation was a bit more intense that I'd like, so I took the shot through Nik Color Efex Pro to apply the Bleach Bypass effect.  This flower feels more wilted and struggling.

For the monochrome treatment, I ran the top shot through the new 64-bit Silver Efex Pro to convert, then applied the blue/sepia split tone in Lightroom 3.  I love the stained edges - that was an accident, but a keeper.

So I'm baffled by the intended workflow, to the point that I shot an e-mail to Nik support.  However, the tool really opens up HDR with an output that can be more subtle and satisfying than tone mapping in Lightroom.

Camera: Nikon D700 
Lens: AF NIKKOR 180mm f/2.8D IF-ED "Leni lens"
Exposure: ISO 200, f/22 @ 1.3s, tripod
Lighting: Window light 
Location: Grand Center Artist Lofts
Processing: Photoshop CS5, Nik HDR Efex, Lightroom 3, Nik Silver Efex Pro


benjamin gandhi-shepard said...

I know these are photographs, but they look more like illustrations. The Nik HDR Efex looks like a lot of fun to play with

Preston Page said...

Ben, the HDR Pro tool that comes with Photoshop CS5 provides much the same functionality. Nik HDR Efex adds something like 30 new presets, 20 controls and a way to localize the HDR tone mapping adjustments. It is a lot to get your head around, but the degree of control you have is really amazing.