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Old Aug 8, 2010, 9:35 PM   #1
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I've been busy recently and haven't been taking many pictures. Those that I have taken (with some exceptions) haven't been very good, or at least haven't pleased me very much. And I haven't had much time to process the ones that I have liked. So I'm just now going through some sunset pictures I took a month ago.

I've recently been playing around with Nik Software's Viveza. I'm still getting used to it and could have gotten too carried away with these.

There were only a few clouds sticking their heads up over the ridge across from me:



There was one that towered over the others:



I kept watching until the light faded:



It was then that I noticed the sliver of moon:



The first two were taken with the 77 Ltd and the second two were taken with the DA 55-300.

Let me know what you think about them, if you think I over-did the processing.
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Old Aug 8, 2010, 9:39 PM   #2
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These are breathtaking Harriet, thanks for sharing these. I love #2 the most. Would hang this one on my wall
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Old Aug 9, 2010, 3:51 AM   #3
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Very nice photo's Where is this? I don't have that in my backyard
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Old Aug 9, 2010, 5:08 AM   #4
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Really nice photos... Love the simplistic view of the moon, too!
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Old Aug 9, 2010, 6:50 AM   #5
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#2 is simply breathtaking.....outstanding variations in light.

Paul
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Old Aug 9, 2010, 7:28 AM   #6
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Hi Harriet,

I emphatically don't think they're overdone, and like the way all of these came out.

#s 2,3,&4 really stand out. In #2, the cloud looks like a cotton candy volcano, in #3, Mickey Mouse right in the center was my first thought, and the moon shot is spectacular.

These results should bring some enthusiasm back, I would think.

Scott
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Old Aug 9, 2010, 2:06 PM   #7
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Outstanding series, Harriet!
All great but, #2 is superb.
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Old Aug 9, 2010, 2:15 PM   #8
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Very very nice series ! Difficult to pick a favourite but I'll go with #3.

I find Viveza is good to 'encourage' those areas of a shot that other tools can't adjust in the way you want. The only down side of it is that particular areas aren't selectable - you have to adjust areas in circles, even though you can adjust the size of them.
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Old Aug 9, 2010, 2:31 PM   #9
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Thanks for the compliments!

rhofman - the first two were taken from my back deck/balcony and are of Southern California (at over 5,000 foot elevation). The third one is from my front yard. As you can tell, the primary tree in my yard are pines, specifically pinon pines.

Scott - my thought on seeing the 3rd one was a teddy bear, but Mickey Mouse works too.

It's always nice to have new software to add another dimension to my pictures. For those that don't know, Nik's Viveza works to selectively change tone, saturation, color. In the case of the second one, I did the following to the cloud - brighten, structure (what the software calls adding internal contrast to add texture and perceived sharpness - rather than the usual drawing a line around edges that USM does), saturation, and I think I emphasized the reds a bit, though it didn't need much of that. I then darkened the sky and made it bluer - it looked "dirtier" than I liked, the AWB wasn't quite what I wanted/seen in the scene. I then added some saturation to the color of the cloud on the right, but didn't brighten it, I didn't want it to take over from the big cloud. I had bracketed the scene, thinking that I would do an HDR version of it (it looked horrible!) and used one of the underexposed shots for this one, as the difference between the sky and the cloud was greater and there wasn't any of the cloud blown out, which there was a bit in the properly exposed one. I'll freely admit that the original scene was nice, but nearly as dramatic as it appears in this picture. And I really like how it came out over the original shot.

I probably could have come up with about the same results using CS4, but it would have taken me a lot longer and would have been much more fiddly, using different layers and all. There's a good chance I would have gotten frustrated before getting what I wanted. The software (it's a Photoshop plug-in that will work with later versions of PSE as well as Photoshop and Lightroom) is great fun to play with, it's one that I easily "get" - something I can't say for all software packages! It's not something I'd use for every picture, but its one that can be used to really enhance certain ones. My criteria for buying software is that if after enjoying the trial period I find that I can't quite live without it, I keep thinking about it and a month or two after the trial I still really miss it, then it's time to buy it. This plug-in fit that category perfectly, enough so that I delayed doing anything about these pictures until I could afford to buy it. My photo budget is SO blown this year!
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Old Aug 9, 2010, 3:16 PM   #10
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Viveza also works as a plug-in for Aperture 3
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