Tag Archives: national park

Stay Close To Your Friends

An oldie but a goodie… well, shot 9 months ago but I couldn’t decide how to finish it. I have always liked it, though, and I’m glad I finally worked it out well.

VERY similar to an earlier photo of mine (one which I did finish in a timely manner) but this was on the other side of Yosemite Valley and down a bit towards Half Dome.

More at www.kelleybard.com.




Mesa Verde.


I am lucky enough to live relatively close to Mesa Verde National Park. Such a gorgeous, interesting place in our world. A place where the structures were ABANDONED 700 years ago. Unheard of to have that kind of depth of history in America… almost anywhere. These were just some of the structures I visited on my most recent trip there. Hopefully it won’t be long before I go again.






Bryce Canyon Tree and a New Use for HDR


Have you ever taken a landscape image you liked in theory but it just didn’t have great or interesting lighting? Here is a way I’ve found to create a better image from a good one:This was a tree I found on the way to Bryce Canyon National Park. It was in a gorgeous area of these red rock formations, and I looked up and saw this tree and fell in love. The sky was more blue, and the rock wasn’t as vivid or well lit (it was solidly overcast, so the light was nice and soft but not interesting), so I chose to process it as an HDR. I took 3 images (my normal landscape protocol so I can pick and choose HDR’s in the future) and processed them in Photomatix. The result I liked best left the tree and rock dark. So I processed it a second time with the same images, this time making the light on the rock brighter and lightening the tree area as well. I followed the process discussed below and mixed the two .tif’s to create the rock lighting that I wanted. Then I finished the photoshop creation with some cleanup touches and here you are!


1. Take 3 or more shots (for me, the Canon can take -2, 0, and +2 exposures every time I shoot an image) whenever you might possibly use a photo for an HDR.

2. Process the set of exposures in Photomatix, the Nik HDR program, or Photoshop (any HDR creation program). Process it once as your ideal sky and save it. Then undo tone mapping and re-create it with your ideal rock lighting. Save that one as well.

3. Put both images into Photoshop, layer the images (shift and drag one onto the other) and mix them however you find best!

4. Finish it with noise reduction, sharpening, saturation and hue changes… whatever you wish for your HDR image.

5. Save it as a final image and enjoy!

So, a new option to use with good photos that I want to turn into great photos. Nice to find.

See this at www.kelleybard.com. Thanks for viewing!



Lower Yosemite Falls and Nik Class Review

Here is a photograph (well, a series of them, since this is an HDR image) that I took in the early morning at the base of Yosemite Falls, in Yosemite National Park. I absolutely love how the water is falling in these undulating ribbons, and how it contrasts with the textures and solidity of the rocks. The HDR process helped to bring out some of those textures, as well as my use of Topaz Adjust (I think I chose the “clarity” setting and only altered it slightly to get this look).

The original images were a bit more misty and soft, but photoshop and unsharp mask (plus the already discussed software) helped bring out the rock details again. I also desaturated the image a bit, as the browning rocks were distracting.

Love to hear your thoughts on this one! I personally really like it.

Posted to my website, www.kelleybard.com, as well as flickr and facebook. It will be interesting to see if the feedback I get on this corresponds to my feelings about the image… lately I’ve been following what you guys say a lot more, and I think my website is getting more quality images placed there as a result.  Let me know, if you take a moment to check out my redesigned site: what do you think of it?

Nik Software Class Review:

“Enhancing Scenic and Landscape Images” was a really good class. If you look back over this blog, you will notice that I have favorably reviewed many Nik products. I currently don’t own any, and I cover why that is in my previous discussions (basically, they all work well and have some neat ideas… but they are also some of the more expensive photo software that I’ve found out there.  So money has kept me from purchasing the products).  I have always felt, though, that I would purchase something like “Color Efex Pro” when I had the money and the time to learn it well.

I sometimes get emails from Nik Software, not tons spamming me unmercifully, but every once in a while, to let me know of goings on in their company and with their products.  I have heard good things about HDR Efex Pro as well, and was eager to see it in action.  This class seemed to be a good chance to learn their software and maybe a few tricks that would help, even without Nik Software currently on my computer.  It was my first class of this type, and was free to sign up for, so I took the chance.  (I did find out, though, that there is a limit on how many people can attend the online classes, and it sounded like they frequently have to “close the doors” with people still trying to log on.  So if you take one of their classes, it might save you aggravation to show up a few minutes early).

The class used Nik Software on 6 or 7 different images, showing various photographers work from start to finish.  It was taught by Laurie Shupp, who is a fantastic photographer in her own right (I was pointed to her website www.imagesbylaurie.com a while ago, and it’s one that I check out fairly often). Even with only using Nik Software, the class gave many tips that were useful for Photoshop, so it wasn’t a waste at all.  Laurie also gave some composition tips, and other ideas came up which made me glad to attend.  I also feel that I’ll be more comfortable with Nik Software next time I get a go at it, which will be very helpful.  I was really glad to get to see HDR Efex Pro put into use on one of the images, and it seems to work as well as Photomatix Pro 4, which is what I currently use for HDR images.

My only complaint was that the questions didn’t get addressed until the end of the class.  I know I had one photo-specific question that didn’t get answered at all, and I’m sure that was because once the teacher got to it, it made little sense without the photo as context.  It sounded like she was a bit rushed, trying to get through questions at the end, as well.  It was probably due to the set up of the class, or perhaps she isn’t the normal teacher for these classes, but otherwise it was exemplary.  I felt like I learned some tools and I got to spend an hour looking at glorious photographs… how could that be bad?

See www.Niksoftware.com for more info about their free classes!  Oh, and the nice part is after the class, or even if you don’t end up attending, I got a discount for my troubles.  So I learned stuff AND can get their software for cheaper!  How’s that for win-win?