Recently, I mentioned a few programs in a comment. Program relating to reducing noise in photographs.

Those programs were Lightroom CC, DxO PhotoLab 3, DxO Nik Collection 2.5 (Dfine 2), and Topaz DeNoise AI, Topaz Sharpen AI.

It should go without saying that I have no financial, personal, or emotional investment or stake in any of these products. I own them all, but most have free trials for anyone interested.

This post aims for a quick comparison between the tools using this photo (as shot, no adjustments)

Last month, on a clear night, next to a gently lapping lake, the moon offered up a visual treat as it danced on the uneven water surface. 

Click for a larger version in a new tab or window.

I had a particular version of this image in mind . . . I wanted the details of the moon to show up in the reflected image. 

Click for a larger version in a new tab or window.

Here’s a long post of (possible) interest only to (amateur) photographers and the rare people who like either my writing voice or my photography (or, in rarer instances, both). If you don’t fall into either category, move along; there’s nothing for you here. 

Not to give myself airs (I’m nearly bald) or toot my own horn (I don’t even own a horn) but I occasionally get complimented on my photos. 

The compliments are immediately followed by the usual insult . . . 

“What kind of camera do you use?”

An unintended insult, to be sure, but  . . . Look, I’ve said it before; you don’t hear people asking authors what kind word processor they use or asking chefs what kind of pots they use or asking artists what kind of brushes they use.   

I mean, yes, they get asked those questions in the context of people wanting advice about the tools they should use and I too get those questions as in “What kind of camera would you recommend?

The second is a genuine question I’m willing to engage with because I have opinions. 

The first question — although similar — has other implications and it’s usually asked by people who want similar results to photos I share and think it’s the equipment that matters and not the user of the equipment. 

Note: due to the nature of this post (comparing large files) it may load slow. Go get a coffee or something after reading this; it’ll give the images a chance to load (unless you have a fast internet; in that case, read on).

A few days ago I received an e-mail from Topaz announcing their newest stand-alone program, Topaz A. I. Gigapixels.

I’m normally receptive to anything Topaz offers because I like their free upgrade policy and I find a lot of what they offer useful and therefore, I want to support the company. 

But . . . $99? For one program? A program that does only one thing? I mean, all it does is enlarge photos.

I almost blew the e-mail away but then curiosity — and trust in the company — got the better of me. So, I downloaded the free trial. And, I used it. And I had to write about it.

As the title says, it’s about frames. The whole thing started when I saw THIS POST. And then I saw THIS POST. If you happen to click on either of those, you notice that the photo is “framed” by itself. 

After exchanging a few comments with the author, I tried a few things and explained the process in THIS post. 

But, what I really wanted was to do wood frames. The opportunity came up to go to an art center and take a few photos of Koa wood pieces. I’ll do a short post about that soon, but meanwhile, I took this photo . . . 

Then, I took this photo . . . 

. . . and I wanted to see if I could use the method described in the post about framing to put a nice wood frame around the photo.

This is a first one for me since I’m not an expert at Photoshop. I mean, I use it, and I get useful stuff out of it, but I usually learn on the fly . . . as I did for this How-To. 

As the title says, it’s about frames. The whole thing started when I saw THIS POST. And then I saw THIS POST. If you happen to click on either of those, you notice that the photo is “framed” by itself. 

After exchanging a few comments with the author, I tried a few things. First, I tried this . . . but I didn’t save the work. 

Then, I took this photo . . . 

I know, I know . . . everyone is tired of these kinds of posts. Sure, there’s my witty writing, and sure, there are amazing photos, but, honestly, can’t we just forego all of this and get on with life?

No; no, we can’t.

All these photos were snapped at the Old Kona Airport Park showcased in many previous posts. I would link them — the posts — but it’s just as easy to use the search box on the sidebar and find them all. 

I debated how to do this and what I decided is to show the P900 photos first, and then show the Note 8 photos. The gallery at the bottom will have the photos in a random order, and the SmugMug Gallery HERE will have them in order that they were shot. 

All of the photos here are a maximum of 1280 pixels at their longest side. If you want to see the original size, you need to go to SmugMug. The P900 outputs 16 MP photos while the Note 8 sports a 12MP camera (actually, twin 12 MP cameras). 

All of the P900 photos have a border similar to the first photo above. All of the Note 8 photos are as they came out of the phone and have no border, like the second photo. That, by the way, are the two plants I used to water every day. They are doing fine without me. For new readers, read about them HERE

I occasionally get bored . . . wait, check that. I occasionally have things on my mind and need to indulge in mindless and yet engaging activities. Some people might remember the October Flowers posts, one in color and one in B&W. Don’t worry, you don’t have to remember it or even look at it before engaging with this post. 

Well, I up and Topazified . . . or is the correct term Topazed? Maybe, Topazinefied? Whatever, the point is I ran some of the color photos and the corresponding B&W photos through various Topaz plugins and filters. 

For instance:

I didn’t bother writing all of the filters down but, mostly, Glow, Impression, Simplify, Restyle, and Textures. 

Here’s the B&W version of the same photo run through a different filter. 

You can click on each photo for a larger version or go to the gallery at the bottom of this post. There is no SmugMug gallery because there is no advantage to looking at these at the pixel level. 

On any given year, readers of this blog would be treated to a slew of flower photos in posts that span the timeframe between June and October. That was the case for most years of this blog’s existence with the majority of photos coming from the flower beds at what used to be our house in Monument, Colorado. 

Those who miss my regular flower posts can easily find them either by clicking on the category that’s under the “Photography” topic on my menu (right under the header photo) or by making use of the calendar function on the side and picking any summer months or by choosing “flowers” from the category cloud on the sidebar. 

With a few exceptions, most of the flower shots were macros shot with my D7000 and either my 70-200mm f/2.8 or my 105mm f/2.8 macro lens. The exceptions are shots from my phone, the Samsun Note II (yes, I’m way behind the times; the Note 8 just came out, but I tend to resist the temptation to own the latest and newest when what I have still works). 

Of course, I now also have the Nikon P900, and I once again went out to test it out in the midday sun, here in Hawaiʻi.

There is a SmugMug gallery for these shots HERE where one can get down to the pixel level. The gallery at the bottom of this post or clicking on any photo will get you a version with the maximum side length of 1280 pixels. The galleries (either one) is probably the best way to look at the 101 photos I took. 

Don’t worry, I won’t put all of them in the body of this post . . . probably. 

We were gone from August 30th to September 16th and — as mentioned in THIS post — of the 8,859 photos I shot, 4,273 were shot with the Nikon P900. In fact, up to the very last, I had considered not even bringing my D7000 and associated lenses. 

I compromised by bringing only a couple of the lenses. I did use the D7000 and the individual lenses mostly to compare their photos to those of the P900. I’ll explore those comparisons in future posts about the trip, but this post is about photos that while taken on my way to, or while in, Alaska, are not necessarily tied to the Alaska experience. 

All of the photos on this post are from the P900 (116 photos in all) and they are presented as a service to those who might — as I am — increasingly consider using “less capable” equipment than the prosumer offerings out there. 

Each section will have its own gallery so as to “split up” the onslaught of visual goodness. It should go without mention — but it won’t — this is not a short post. 

Let’s get to it.

This is a post about photography software, specifically, a comparison between Google’s Nik Collection and On1 Photo 10.5. It probably won’t be short. Proceed accordingly. 

Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness — a weekly offering of monochrome images submitted by multiple photographers — once a month has a theme. For the first Thursday of September, it’s “Tree or Trees.” 

I thought that would be a great opportunity to do a comparison between my normal go-to software — On1 Effects 10.5 — and two of Nik’s modules, Color Efx Pro 2 and Silver Efx Pro 2.

As it turns out, both programs are free. On1’s latest version is On1 Photo Raw 2017 but I can’t recommend something I have and don’t use. Version Effects 10.5, I use on nearly every photo. 

So, trees . . . 

Well, I immediately thought of this photo from the Place of Refuge, here on the Big Island. 

That’s a JPG of what the RAW file looks like. I ran it through Color Fex Pro 2 (CFP2 from now on) specifically with the intention of prepping it for B&W conversion. This is what I got:

I’ve written before about my Workflow and general Post-Processing of my photographs. Just yesterday, I read a post by Leanne Cole about a hands-on trial of ACDSee Ultimate 10.

I was severely tempted to buy it, but then I looked at the tools I already have:

Lightroom/Photoshop
ON1 Raw and ON1 Photo 10
DxO OpticsPro 11 (including FilmPack and ViewPoint)
Topaz Studio & Adjustments Pro Pack
Topaz Plugins Suite
Nikon View NX-i and Capture NX-D 

I have a few other stand-alone programs but they are aimed at specialized editing like HDR Express or PortraitPro Studio 15 or PortraitPro Body Studio.  Also the now discontinued but still available Nik Collection (recommended as a Photoshop and Lightroom plugin). By any metric I can think of, I’m awash with tools and not likely to need more . . . but, that might not be the case for everyone.

This post will concern itself with stand-alone editors and post-processors one might use to edit photographs and prepare them for publication on a blog or for printing. 

I’m going to use a photo I took in 2010 with my Nikon D200 and Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR. Why that photo? Well, I’ve never used it because I didn’t think it was worth sharing. 

I should also mention I have no association with any of the companies and products I link to below. They don’t even know I’m alive and everything I say is unsolicited and my own unpaid-for opinion. 

Before I proceed with the processing, let me show you the photo as output from its unedited RAW capture.

Warning . . . long post ahead.

Yesterday, we drove to the Volcano National Park. The only camera I used was the Nikon P900. Got me some photos to share. I’ll post some, but the full gallery and associated video playlists are at the bottom of the post. 

We start out with macros shot at and near the Visitor Center.

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Wait, these next shots are not macros . . . 

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There is no SmugMug gallery of these shots. You can get a larger version by clicking on the individual shots or going to the gallery at the bottom, but these are not “original size” shots. The Nikon P900 takes a different mindset — or so I concluded — than the photos I take with the Nikon D7000 and my assorted lenses. 

Namely, present the photo as it is. If I want a “larger” or “closer” shot, I just zoom in and take the shot. 

Continuing, these are macros . . .