Nota Bene: if you are reading this on the Reader, and if you are using a Dark Theme or Dark Mode, AND if you are on an Android device . . . well, then, you’re likely not able to read this post (or many of my previous posts). Let me repeat this using a white font color in case that will show up: if you are reading this on the Reader, and if you are using a Dark Theme or Dark Mode, AND if you are on an Android device . . . well, then, you likely won’t be able to read this post (or many of my previous posts).

So, landscapes. I like landscape photography, but I’m rarely happy with my results. I can almost hear a few people start to argue . . .

“Oh, Great Disperser. Thou should not sell yourself short for all you do is pretty good!”

Morning Frost,

Well, yeah, but it turns out “pretty good” is a far cry from “good” and lightyears behind “great“.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at these samples (LINK). Now, for comparison, look at a few of my landscapes (LINK). That’s the difference between ‘pretty good’ and ‘great’.

There is no shortage of sites sharing all manner of rules for snapping great landscape photos (LINK) . . . and I know them rules; so well that I know which to violate.

The “L” Stories voting round is underway and it’s a tight race. If you want to participate, you can find links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge L-Stories” HERE.<<<Link Just think; you could be the deciding vote in an epic battle for . . . well, just for the fun of it, really. We don’t actually win anything.

Clicking on the above link will take you to the post with the poll where you can cast your vote. The post also contains links to the individual stories. After voting, readers can — if so moved — spread the news about the story to friends and family. Or, not. But, we hope for yes.

So . . . wing<<Link and helicopter (seed)<<Link . . .

On the left, the wing of a Cicada.<<Link
On the right, a maple seed (I think).

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)

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. 

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:

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.

I was reading another blog and ended up leaving a long comment . . . which I did not want to waste. Ergo, this post. 

Original file

By the way, there is only one photo in this post . . . repeated another 11 times. Each version represents a different post-processing of the original using a Topaz Plugins. There are a few screen captures, but those are not photos.

You can click on each photo for a larger version. Or, if so inclined, you can go to the SmugMug Gallery HERE for a tad larger version yet. Honestly, because it’s a crop, the Original is only about 25% larger than what you get by clicking on the photos. 

Anyway, on with the post.