If looking for a quick glance or two, a fix for the attention-deficient crowd, move along . . . here be a long post.
Before I get into my stuff, voting is now open at The Digital Lightroom for their “Fall Colors” competition. None of the photos are mine, and I purposefully am not reading comments so as to not be swayed in case I know any of the photographers on the short list. Go and vote, or at least look at the photos.
Right! . . . on with the show. Oh, one more thing; the first part of this post (all them words below) talks about the program I used to process the photos, so it’s probably of interest only to other photographers.
Yesterday I posted the Samsung Note II edition of the Frosty Solstice Eve. Not bad photos, but as I said before, they really don’t compare to DSLR photos; different animals, you see.
However, these are all photos of snow, frost, high dynamic range, and in general photos which most photo editing software have a tough time getting right. Or, I should say, users of photo editing software have a tough time getting right. Consequently, even though higher quality photos, they are not easy to present well.
Enter DxO Pro 9. I won’t spend much time talking about the program other than mentioning these few points; lots of adjustments, no adjustment can be overdone, and while it seems as if you are not doing much, the photo turns out great. Fans of the ‘natural” look in photos would be well served by this program. Those looking to really ‘punch’ up a photo need to look elsewhere.
I seldom do all my processing in DxO Pro, but I should remember to look at it more often. I think it respects the original shot more than any other program.
My typical processing uses Lightroom, and then, for individual photos, additional processing in various programs (Topaz Suite, onOne Suite, Photoshop, HDR Express, Dreamsuite Ultimate, DxO Pro, and DxO Film Pack), but the bulk of the work is done in Lightroom.
I like most of the processing options I have, but where Lightroom and a few of the other processors and filters can sometime be sledgehammers, DxO is more like a scalpel. As I said, you can push the adjustments to the max, and you think nothing has happened. Except, it has. This is yet another time I suggest people go see the full size photos in SmugMug (HERE), and yet another time most won’t deign a look.
No matter . . . perhaps these are enough. By the way, almost all have borders added, and the reason is simple; at some point in the future, I aim to do comparisons between various preprocessors, and borders are an easy way to identify where the photo comes from. Here we go . . .
This is a lot more difficult a photo to properly process than one would imagine. I had six or seven tries in Lightroom before giving up and switching to DxO.
Not to say it’s perfect. This was my first try at it with DxO, and if one does go to the SmugMug album, they will see it’s a tad over-sharpened. You won’t notice unless looking at the full resolution photo. But the color balance, resolution of light and dark areas, and overall tonality are better and with less effort than I could do with Lightroom.
I quickly learned not to overdo the adjustments, and when in doubt, to look at the 1:1 photo. Invariably, I was amazed at the amount of detail. That is an important lesson with this program . . . you need to look not only at the full photo, but also at the full resolution. The results can be amazing (at least to me – but then I’m easily amused and amazed).
Sadly, I did not do so on all the photos, so a few seem to me a tad oversharpened when looked at full resolution. But enough about my woes in life.
The advantage of DxO is it knows the camera and lens combination you are using, and it adjusts according to algorithms based on testing they have done with those specific combination, or so the story goes.
It also has perspective adjustments in there, defringing, and a crapload of other stuff one can get lost in. The only thing it does not have (or at least I don’t think it has) is a graduated filter.
Perhaps readers might want to compare this photo with the one from the Samsung . . .
Like I said, different animals. The first one has more natural colors, and despite the fact it was in full sun, retains a good balance between the bright frost and the darker areas of the photo. Yes, you can see the detail of the frost in the full size photo. Also note the perspective adjustment that removes the distortion of the wide-angle lens.
Here are a few more from the front yard, before I headed out for my drive.
Remember the aspen photos? Here’s the Nikon versions.
What? You want to see what DxO does in B&W? Tell you what; not only in black and white, but with a glass plate border.
The wind was picking up, the chill was cutting through my thin top, and I decided I should go for a drive. These next few shots are all about a half mile from my house.
Unfortunately, a cloud blocked the sun when I stopped to snap this photo of an abandoned house. Still, not bad.
You like those trees to the left of the house? Well, say no more . . .
You can’t see the details of the individual needles in these photos, but you can in the full-size photos. Even more so in these . . .
As I was shooting, a cloud was beginning to roll back in, giving me what I thought was a neat composition of tree, Bald Mountain, and cloud.
It even looks good in B&W.
Looking to the West, the sky and the air were both clear. This next tree is about two hundred yards away, and across I-25 . . . I had to catch it with no cars passing in front of it.
There are not many options for B&W renditions, but they seem to do a good job of it. My opinion, of course.
From here I decided to do one of my big loops (five miles east, a few miles north, six miles at a Northwest angle, and four miles or so back home heading south). This next one is a shot of Pikes Peak as seen from County Line Road, about two miles from my house.
This is the only photo I modified in Lightroom after importing it from DxO; I used a graduated filter to better see the mountain. I think the low-hanging cloud looks neat.
From there, I cut north on some of my favorite dirt roads.
By the way, I’m only showing about half the photos I processed. The SmugMug gallery has all of them. For instance, there is a color version of the above photo, plus a few more from that spot.
By far, the most difficult of these kinds of shots (at least for me) are those trying to capture the white of the frost, the blue of the sky, and any texture associated with the surroundings.
And then, it’s usually difficult for me to transform that into a B&W version I like.
Useless, I know, but I’m telling you . . . SmugMug.
Sigh . . . I know few are listening to me . . . but these next series might have you wanting to see the full size versions.
These guys were in a field in the middle of nowhere . . . .
One was resting and uninterested in me . . .
. . . but the other alert, and when he saw me, he started walking toward me. A beautiful horse.
Not quite at the fence, it stopped to see what I was doing . . . I think it would have come to the fence had I made any move to go toward it.
As attentive as this guy was, his buddy could not be bothered to even get up for the occasion.
Once it realized I was not going to come any nearer, it nonchalantly ignored me.
. . . but he was, in fact, still interested in what I was doing.
I actually spoke to them, wishing them a good day, and went back to my car. A good encounter, that was.
From there I continued with my loop, and ended up on the service road running along I-25. It’s a dirt road, and it heads back toward Bald Mountain and home. As I drove, I would stop as things caught my eye (the wind had picked up, and the wind chill was something fierce – I’m surprised these were sharp, what with me shivering violently).
For texture hounds, these should provide a nice few moments, especially, you guessed it, in the SmugMug gallery (HERE)
Here’s a few more to wet your whistle.
Them who read my blog might recognize some of these sights since this is a favorite stretch of road of mine.
Did I mention it’s a dirt road? Did I mention I live on the Palmer Divide?
What you are seeing is the dirt road (obviously), the outline of Bald Mountain (the mountain you can see in the second photo of this post), and the cloud that was caught and trying to get over the Divide. It was sunny where I was shooting from.
Remember the wooden posts from the previous entry?
The sun was in the process of stripping the frost from anything it hit. The trees are the last to lose the frosty mantle.
These next two photos show the view looking toward the highway (hence the cars).
The area beyond the hills is a valley, and it too was holding a cloud trapped in the low areas.
The view to the east looked like this . . .
And the view home looked like this . . .
And around me . . .
Same shot with a tad of HDR . . .
Like I said, you really can’t blow the photo out of the water, even with maximum adjustments. You can, however, show a negative . . .
These next few photos are next to Bald Mountain . . .
You can see the cloud trying to roll over the mountain.
The cloud had actually receded a bit farther down the road . . .
One more shot before heading down into the mist.
Once into the mist, my photographic opportunities were few, but notable.
From here it’s about a half mile back home . . . and my back yard.
Actually, that’s the neighbor’s gazebo.
These are my pines.
The frost lasted through most of the solstice, but by sundown of the 21st of December, little remained of the mantle of white that had covered nearly everything.
Except, of course, my photos.
Say, did I mention there is a SmugMug gallery HERE?
I think I will do a flowers post next.
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Astute persons might have noticed these doodles, and correctly surmised they hold some significance for me, and perhaps for humanity at large.
If you click on the doodle, and nothing happens, this is the link it’s supposed to go to: https://disperser.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/palm-vx-and-i/.
Note: if you are not reading this blog post at Disperser.Wordpress.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website. Could be they also torture small mammals.
Please, if you are considering bestowing me some recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so. I will decline nominations whereby one blogger bestows an award onto another blogger, or group of bloggers. I appreciate the intent behind it, but I would much prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way. That would actually mean something to me.
Should you still nominate me, I will strongly suspect you pulled my name at random, and that you are not, in fact, a reader of my blog. If you wish to know more, please read below.
Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not personally hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.
. . . my FP ward . . . chieken shit.