Coffee Shop: Before and After

I love before/after shots, don’t you? It’s fun. (I love makeover shows, too, though often I prefer the before look.)

I recently acquired a new program called Aurora HDR, 2018 (A18). Previous releases were made for Macs, but this one also offers a version for PCs. I decided to give it a try.

For those of you who don’t know: HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, meaning you can get pictures with more depth if you take a series of photos at different exposures and combine them. A18 excels at the combining. PS CS6 can also “merge to HDR” and does a pretty good job of it, but tests I did in both programs shows A18 is better.

First thing I discovered is that I pretty much hate all the presets. I stopped using them the first day. None of them delivered the look I wanted. Fortunately, A18 offers lots of sliders, so you can play to your heart’s content.

Second thing I discovered is Photoshop isn’t going away anytime soon. If I assemble an HDR in A18, then move it to PS, I can do my final tweaking there, plus use my Topaz filters. Between the three programs, I get exactly what I want.  Continue reading

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Photos: 11.4.17

We’ll start with birds. I take a lot of pictures of them, because I think they’re beautiful and interesting, and they’re certainly varied in size, shape, and color.

A mourning dove. Ordinary, common, yet has such grace and style. Picture taken in early morning light, so it’s a little red. 

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Photos: 11.1.17

I’m back! I have more pics, too.

Yesterday, I went to Harn’s Marsh, where I saw almost no wildlife. My friend, who still lives on the canal, says the birds aren’t back there either. Hurricane Irma really did a number on them. 😦

I did see a handful of birds, though, and I took photos with both cameras, the Sony and the Canon. I can get all the gear into one bag as long as I carry the Sony with the long lens attached. 😉 The weather was outstanding, too. Low dew point and a comfortable seventy-five degrees. The sun was gentle and felt great.  Continue reading

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Photos: 10.24.17

I haven’t gotten out much the last two or three weeks. I’ve been immersed in editing work, and after I finish for the day, I just want to sit around and read or binge something on TV. I haven’t taken a lot of pictures, despite getting the new camera. Mostly I’ve been watching the birds at the feeder, because I can see them from my living room couch, where I often work. I always keep the camera nearby during the day.

The lack of new stock has prompted me to look at some of my older photos. Today’s post will feature photos I took when I lived in Wisconsin. I’ll start with a photo cube I did a few years ago. That’s R, with his two shepherds. Both are quite old now but still healthy. I took the photos on land near the St. Croix River. We threw sticks for the dogs to fetch, and I thought that picture would make a great OOB (out of bounds). Though it’s flawed (I wasn’t as good in Photoshop then as I am now), the result is effective.  Continue reading

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Photos: 10.15.17

During the last week, I revisited Wisconsin through the photos I’ve taken there. It’s fall up north, and I imagine the leaves turning beautiful colors. Before we get to that, however, a brief look at other seasons in the North Country.

All photos in this posting but one were taken with the Canon SX50, the camera I had when I lived in Wisconsin. Comparing the two, I believe the SX50 was better than the SX60, which I use now. The photos weren’t as noisy. The latter offers tremendous optical zoom, however, making it better for wildlife/bird photography. There are programs that will clean up all but the worst noise, so I considered it a good tradeoff.  Continue reading

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