Sunday’s Hidden Treasure

Out To Pasture

Antique John Deere tractor and GMC truck sitting among the tall weeds in a rural Maine field

Camera: Canon EOS 7D

Lens: Tamron 17-50 f2.8

Settings: iso 400, 19mm @ f9

This is a 3 shot HDR. The original RAW files having been first imported into Lightroom 3, were then processed in Nik HDR Efex Pro.

I’d like to take this time to thank all of my readers who took advantage of my status as an affiliate for Nik Software. As most of you know, as of April 2nd I will no longer be able to offer a 15% savings on Nik products with the code: JSINON 

I appreciate all of your support, and if you are hesitating on buying what I still consider the best image enhancing plugins on the market, now is the time to do it. After tomorrow at midnight the affiliate links on my blog, and in my posts about the great new low price of these plugins, as well as the code JSINON will no longer work to bring you the additional savings. While they should still bring you to the Nik site, you will have to pay the full $149 U.S. price.

 

PLEASE NOTE! As of midnight April 1st, the code JSINON and any affiliate links WILL NOT allow you to save an additional 15%. Any links within posts will now bring you to the Nik Collection site. Thank You.

 

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Nik Software Savings Update!

Nik logoI just wanted to write this short update to the post from two days ago. I have been informed by the powers that be that as of April 2nd I’ll be losing my standing as an affiliate for the Nik Collection by Google  will be terminated. While you will still be able to purchase this great software at an incredible new low price, I will no longer be able to offer you the 15% additional savings. I’m not sure exactly when on the 2nd my status is to be terminated, so if you were planning to make a purchase using either my affiliate LINK, or by entering the code: JSINON during checkout, I suggest you do it by midnight on Monday the 1st.

I felt it very important to share this change to my affiliate status and urge you to make your purchase before the discount code and link are no longer functional. Not because I will earn a few more dollars in commissions, which I thank each and every one of you who’ve made a purchase for, but because I would feel terrible if someone attempted to use either the discount code or affiliate link after April 2nd assuming they were to receive the additional 15% savings.

I still firmly believe the Nik Collection by Google, as it is now known, is the best suite of image enhancement plugins on the market, regardless of my affiliate status. Even without the savings I think you’ll feel it is one of the best $149 you’ve spent on your photography. I still feel this way and I paid the old $299 price!

The Best Just Got Better.

Nik logoMost of you know I’m a huge fan of the Nik Creative Plugins. In fact, I can’t remember the last image that wasn’t processed in one way or another with at least one of them. Whether it’s DFine 2 for outstanding noise reduction, one of Color Efex Pro 4′s many creative filters, or the unbelievable pinpoint control in Viveza 2, when I want to get the most out of my images I turn to one of the Nik Creative Plugins.

Many of you may have also heard that Nik Software is now part of Google, and like me wondered what changes were going to take place as the result of this merger. Well I can tell you you’re going to love what they’ve done. They’ve done something unheard of, improved all the plugins and lowered the price! The plugins I’ve raved about at $299.00 (U.S.) is now just $149.00 (U.S.). For the complete collection! Not only that, they’ve made it even easier to install with a single uploader that installs all 6 plugins, where before you had to install each individually.

Oh, there’s more you say? Of course there is. You can save an additional 15% by clicking this LINK, and entering the code: JSINON during checkout.

At Nik it really is about “Photography First.”

Presets And Plugins, Creative Tools Or Creative Crutch?

I Love To Make Photographs…

As the Mad River in Farmington, NH, cascades over a bright green moss covered granite ledge, it shoots down a natural flume carved into the rock over the centuries. As it reaches the bottom of the flume, it enters a small pool and from there disappears into the forest beyond.

…but I hate the time spent behind the computer once the image has been captured. Time behind the computer is at best, time away from the camera, and at its worst, time away from my family. I’d much rather be out shooting or spending time with my wife and daughter, than working on photographs.

So, that is why I”ve tried to make my time in the “digital darkroom” as quick and painless as possible with presets and plugins. My photo editing software consists of Lightroom 3 (Lightroom 4 is the current version now available), and  Nik Software’s Complete Collection for Lightroom.  I have absolutely no desire to become a post processing wiz, in fact, I’m perfectly happy in my “photoshop ignorance.” I want to be in and out and done with a photo in 5-10 minutes, tops! It’s also why I’m brutal when it comes to deleting images, but that a story for another time.

Hi, My Name Is Jeff, And I’m A Lazy Post Processor.

An intimate portrait of a small section of Garwin Falls in Wilton, NH. Shown during the low flow of summer, with a few smoothed out round depressions in the rock, eroded over many years by the power of the water.

First, I have to say that I do not subscribe to the “I can fix it in Photoshop” school of thought. I believe in getting it right in camera as far as exposure and composition goes. I don’t try to “rescue” crappy photos, I delete them.

I do know how I want my final image to look though, but do I care how I achieve that look after capture? No, not at all. To me the end results are all that matters. That is why I rely so heavily on Lightroom presets, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of free presets available with a quick Google search*, and Nik plugins. Since I started using the Nik software however, my use of Lightroom presets has dropped considerably. Once I correct white balance, if I need to, set my blacks, lens corrections, and capture sharpening, it’s off to one of the Nik plugins. Usually, the first stop is Viveza 2. The control you have over every aspect of the image in Viveza is phenomenal. With Nik’s Control Point Technology, you can correct the color, brightness, contrast, white balance, and more, of an individual color and have the effect as locally or as broadly applied as you wish. Next, it’s off to Color Efex Pro 4. With 55 filters along with a long list of recipes(multiple filters applied together), there is no end to the look you can achieve.

Vertical image looking upstream on the Swift River in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Boulders strewn throughout the stream provide points of interest, while the autumn foliage lining the banks provide vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges to catch the eye. In the distance, can be seen a granite cliff.

What Are Your Thoughts?

Is mastering image editing software part of becoming a “complete” photographer? Or are you like me and just want to realize the image you envision when you press the shutter, as quickly and easily as possible?

Here’s a great source of free presets for Lightroom to get you started.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Merge

Where The Sand Merges With The Sea.

As the surf crashes onto the sand, the rising sun's golden light is reflected off of the wet beach sand. The spray from the waves glows like a thousand gold gems as they capture the sunlight.

The Merge Of Man And Nature.

A long forgotten boathouse, and a small brown, shed sit on the shoreline of Little Lake. Both nestled in among the evergreens and the brilliantly colored foliage of a New Hampshire autumn.

The Merge Of Exposures

I’ve been playing around with Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro 2, and for this image a preset called “Sinister” seemed appropriate.

HDR image of a blue with red stripes, 2011 Ford Shelby GT500. The image, shot looking straight into the brightly burning headlights and foglight, show the grill, cobra emblem, and front vanity plate, "BRUTAL" so fitting for a car with this much power.

A Note Of Full Disclosure.

I wish to mention here, that as a member of the Nik Software affiliate team, every time a reader clicks a Nik Software link in a post, or the Nik Software banner on the sidebar, I get credit for it. Should you make a purchase I receive a small commission. I need to make clear that I will never be mentioning, or recommending any product on this blog if I don’t use it myself and believe strongly that the product is of potential value to my readers. 

With the Nik software, I felt it was such a great product that I wanted to be able to offer my readers a way to save on its purchase. Therefore, you will save 15% off of all Nik products by entering the code:   JSINON  when making a purchase.