Tag Archives: Topaz

The “Scape” part of “LifeScapes”… Spring Tree at Red Rocks

I took this image while exploring Red Rocks Amphitheater (and here, the entrance drive in) with my new wide angle lens. I was struck by the lovely, bright leaves and the lines in the rocks and sky, so I took a few images for a possible HDR. This ended up being a single image HDR (handheld was a bit blurry in some of the exposures). The extreme sunlight made some unavoidable color problems, though- I got rid of the red lines around the branches, but was stymied (or too lazy) to clean up every green outline), I removed as much as possible without going into each single line. So I did the best I could. I still like it but I don’t like cutting corners, dammit!

I love landscapes and haven’t gotten out with my camera to catch the beauty around here lately, so it was nice to get back to it.

See more at http://www.kelleybard.com, or facebook, flickr, etc (links to the right).


Spinning Spring Flowers

And now for something completely different…

Really, the whole idea of a daily photo blog is to force you into more creativity and finding opportunities for photographs beyond the usual. This was a good example of it. I set my camera for a relatively long exposure (1/8th of a second) and spun the camera (handheld) while I took the picture. I tried it a lot, and came out with a few decent, interesting images. I then processed it in photoshop with some fun tricks- OnOne PhotoTools to get some glowy blur, and Topaz Adjust to get some color “pop”. Like I said, it was an experiment. But one I like the results of! Maybe next I’ll try spinning it on the tripod…

See more at http://www.kelleybard.com, or any of the links to the right. Enjoy!

Colorado Plains

Taken while driving across Colorado. New photo with my new wide angle… in some ways, it’s a very bland photo. But I’m very impressed by the beauty, the emptiness, and the SPACE that is visible! Gorgeous. This state is amazing.

See more at http://www.kelleybard.com, or on the links to the right.

First with the Wide Angle Lens! 2 Versions “Tree and Mountains Wide”

I planned this to be a color image, but I liked the black and white version so much that I included it. I guess that goes to show that you can’t always plan out a photo… there is always an unexpected element to it!

My first published image using the wide angle lens. Like it!?? I’m loving it, although I am still learning what works with it and what doesn’t.

Single image HDR- it had to be that way because it was a very windy day (see the snow blowing off the mountains?) and the branches were blurred in the normal and light exposures. I did the HDR thing on the normal exposure then brought in the darkest image’s tree to get the focus right and blur to a minimum. I also had fun running this through Topaz Adjust twice, to get a different look for the clouds and for the ground and tree. Fun times in Photoshop!

See this and others on my website http://www.kelleybard.com, or the links to the right (facebook, flickr, twitter, buzztown, etc.).

Colorado Mesa Roadwork and a Mini HDR Tutorial

Here’s an HDR for all of you hungry for HDR images. To review: HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. HDR images are technically HDRI (if you want to sound like you REALLY know what you are talking about). HDR allows more light options to be shown in the image because you take several different exposures of the same shot, essentially allowing for a dark, light and normal version of the image (3-9 is the usual amount of shots taken)- that are then combined in a computer program (I use Photomatix Pro 4) to create your image. You can tone map the photo from there, which allows you to control the amount of detail in shadows and in highlights. Tonemapping also can give you the look of a realistic image, or a SUPER CRAZY OVERCOOKED HDR, depending on your settings. So play cautiously. Sometimes an image needs the overcooked look (I tend to get my slider as close to the left as I can get away with on the “micro smoothing” tab, which definitely adds noise and the grungy HDR look I like. But I try to temper it with sanity. Really I do!). I’ve found (and the vast majority of photographers out there with HDR tutorials seem to say as well) that you need to take that noisy image into Photoshop and play with it there before you have a clear final image. I will sometimes take parts of the original images and mask them into the HDR image in spots where the HDR didn’t work so well. I also play with the colors of my images A LOT- in this, I desaturated and darkened the blues to get the sky look I like, and changed around the yellow and rust colored equipment until I liked it better. I think noiseware of some kind is a must with HDR, and I always use either Noiseware Professional or Topaz DeNoise (both have their positives and their negatives, look up my reviews of each in this blog if you are interested in pros and cons… but know that as I’ve learned how each works, both have become very usable and friendly). Noiseware desharpens the image, so sharpening of some kind is needed to finish the picture- either in Photoshop or Lightroom. But be careful, as sharpening brings back some digital noise if you aren’t watching!

This particular image was finished with a hard light layer added over the main layer and mixed in. But that’s just my work… and a recent obsession (adding lighting layers to change the look). Totally not HDR-specific.

I’m not the best out there with HDR, but there are several places and people you can check out to see and learn from the real experts. For me, Trey Ratcliff at stuckincustoms.com is the master for HDR landscapes. I’d also look at Rick Sammon’s work at his blog site. Trey has a great HDR tutorial for free on his site, and Rick might also have something. Finally, to be inspired I go to HDRspotting.com. The featured images on the home page are always well done HDR, and the editors picks are amazing. If you can get invited to join, then share your work there. They rarely deny submissions, but to get on the featured page or editors picks requires a great image (and sends TONS of people to your website or flickr page, which is a plus). Contact me if you want an invite code, I have one free, or go to the HDRspotting facebook page and show your work there- maybe you will get a code from that. I suggest contacting artists directly from the HDRspotting website, complement their work, and ask for a code then. I am sure there are many more great HDR artists out there- I’d add Laurie Shupp, Brian Matiash, RC Conception and Scott Frederick on the short list of photographers that I really admire.

For other programs to create HDR, I’ve heard great things about the Photoshop CS5 program, and also Nik Software’s HDR Pro. It’s becoming more common, so look around and see what you can find. Photomatix has been around a while (Pro 4 just came out in 2010 though) but does quality images- and is fairly cheap. You still need Photoshop to really finish the images, though, and I heard that the Nik Software works well even without Photoshop… haven’t tried it though and so I can’t vouch one way or the other.

If I get comments on this, I’ll be glad to go back in and add more detail to any sections you want- well, more detailed. So feel free to comment good or bad on it! I’d also love more “go-to” people to suggest out there, so if you know a great HDR artist, let me know who he/she is! I have a “Check This Out” category on this blog where I suggest great artists I admire, so this could work into an article there in the future!

I wouldn’t say this is the best of my HDR. Here are some others which have gotten good comments or view counts:

To see more of my work, head to www.kelleybard.com and enjoy. I have a whole gallery just for HDR at www.kelleybard.com/hdr. There you can see my good images (and some of my bad HDR, I’m sure). Lastly I love to get connected with you on flickr, facebook, buzztown and twitter. Links are above to the right… and you can always search “Kelley Bard” or “Kelley Bard Photography” if you want to find me on one of those sites!

Snowy Wheelbarrow

Interesting… I start to switch to a balance between landscapes and portraits as my output, and suddenly I’m choosing a lot of vertical photos for my blog. Hmmmm…. We had some snow last night (a fun pic or two of that coming in the future, I think) but this wasn’t from the evenings festivities. I’ve been sitting on this image for about a month now. I knew I liked it but wasn’t sure if I wanted to do some crazy finishing or not. I’m glad I keep it pretty simple. The original was a bit darker in the tree branches and I did a quick adjustment with Topaz Adjust which lightened that up while adding contrast overall. I masked some of the original image in and used Topaz DeNoise to clean it up- I think I’m really getting the hang of Topaz DeNoise now, I use it on most images but I’m starting to use the “add grain” feature more now, which I surprisingly like.

My favorite part in this image (well, two): how the orange wheelbarrow matches the orange leaves on the tree (natural, not photoshop) and how fluffy the snow looks!

See the best of my work at www.kelleybard.com, or on flickr or facebook. Remember, a new April deal will be coming out soon, so keep checking back on the social networks and here on the blog to see what it will be!


Lines and Organics

Here is a black and white HDR… so I’m hitting all bases (strict photo/art purists vs. photoshop using radicals). 🙂

I saw this while exploring around a nearby elk farm a month ago or so. The lines vs. organic, flowing shapes caught my eye immediately. I liked a lot about this and wanted to show off the details in the wood, the lines going every-which-way, the delicate tree limbs in the mid-ground, the great clouds and how they seemed to mix the line and organic shape phenomenon. HDR was the obvious choice for the wood detail, the clouds, and the snow detail to be properly represented. I processed this with Photomatix for the HDR, then hit Photoshop for some tweaking with Topaz Adjust and Topaz DeNoise. The black and white look seemed perfect from the start and more so by the end. If nothing else, this has that feeling of “college art project”, so I got that going for me. Which is nice.

This went into my seasonal gallery on www.kelleybard.com. I’m not sure if I’m overwhelming people with the number of galleries I have… I was able to finally move all my proofs into a secret folder so they aren’t clogging up the “all my photos” area… anyone have thoughts, tips, suggestions from your experiences with varied photos and how to show them?

See this also on flickr or facebook or buzztown, links are at the right for all. Enjoy!