Last week I decided I would play around with one of the new features in Luminar, a filter called AI Sky Enhancer. Perhaps the timing wasn’t so good though, as yesterday evening I downloaded the newly release Luminar 3, and with the added library function, I was having a bit of trouble navigating the system (since I haven’t yet looked at any resources on how to use the new software). Despite a bit of floundering within the libraries function, the actual photo editing and filters layout remains the same, and I was able to complete my self-appointed task.
This first image wasn’t solely about the sky; it’s kind of hard to ignore the leopard in the tree! I wanted to enhance the natural colours of the sky and bring up some of the shadow areas. I started with the AI Sky Enhancer and added other filters as needed (which was how I approached all the images). I’ve included a split screen showing before and after and the edited image for each one I worked on.
Next up is a photo shot while on a boat on the Boteti River in Botswana. Shooting into the sun left the sky quite washed out; I am impressed how well I could enhance the sky colour and the clouds with Luminar without it becoming to HDR-like.
The Okavango Delta is an amazing place for sunsets; the colours in the sky are incredibly dramatic from my experience. With that much colour already, it is easy to take the image a step too far and have it look radioactive. The AI sky enhancer did a great job accentuating the detail in the clouds, without pumping the colour up to 11.
Finally I have included a sunset from the Hoanib desert in Namibia. There was a lot of airborne dust and sand that evening, so while I did do some noise reduction in the sky to reduce the visible grain, there is definitely still a lot of texture. This was also shot with my Panasonic camera, which is much noisier than the Nikon I was also shooting with. Regardless, I am please with the realistic tones, the detail in the clouds and the textures in the desert and the hills.
I’m going to ow have to spend some time familiarizing myself with the layout of the new Luminar software, so I can work using their library function in an efficient manner.
Whilst in Namibia on my last visit, I travelled for a couple of days in the Etosha area. Being in the park itself is quite different to being on a private reserve, since there is no off-road driving allowed, but there was still a lot of great game viewing when driving around the park.
We were fortunate to come across a group of 3 young lion brothers, likely ejected from their pride within the past few months, as they had gotten to the age where they needed to be on their own. They still had the energy and playfulness of cubs though, chasing each other around a water hole. We were even more fortunate to be the only vehicle to being viewing these lions for the majority of the time that we spent with them, allowing us to get in a great position to watch them going about their day.
A heavily pregnant zebra pauses for a photo op in Etosha National Park.
Just a quick single image post for Monochrome Monday this week.
A zebra stopping traffic on one of the roads through Etosha National Park in Namibia. The zebra were very abundant there, and quite chill around vehicles making for some nice opportunities for images. I’ve had lots of experience with zebra taking off in the other direction as soon as they realized you were looking at them.
Wishing everyone a fantastic week ahead.
As I mentioned in my August in Review post, I am going to spend the month of September diving into the Topaz Studio system. I had the full suite of Topaz plugins that I used to use with Photoshop, but the primary resources I used were the Impression and Remask plugins, and I never really spent the time learning the ins and outs of the others. I could utilize them, but I was never familiar enough to be sure which one I needed or to be able to use them to their full potential.
I spent some time this week watching a few tutorials to get a feel for properly using the Studio interface. I had found a few things were not intuitive for me, and watching the tutorials definitely helped. Studio comes with 10 free basic adjustments, and several of the Pro adjustments are included if you previously owned other Topaz products. They also have an option to try Pro adjustments for 30 days before you buy them, so I am going to trial a few additional adjustments that I have seen on the tutorials I have been watching. I have a feeling that may be a bit costly for me, as I have watched and now tried the AI Clear adjustment (which is pretty amazing), but we’ll see how things go once we get to the end of the month.
Below are links to tutorials I have watched so far. The Topaz Labs page on Youtube seems to have a lot of information and taped webinars, so I’m sure I’ll have more to share as the month goes on.
Topaz Studio can do a lot of things, including edit Raw files and save in multiple formats. But there isn’t an option for exporting and resizing for web, so while I am going to try and do all my adjustments through Topaz, I still have to take the files back into On1 to export at the proper size for uploading to the blog or to my Instagram page.
A few other differences to On1 Photo Raw and Luminar that I have noticed are the colour temperature under the basic adjustment is a simple temperature and tint slider, rather than having to opportunity to quickly try different colour temperature presets (daylight, shade etc).
I’ve not had a chance to edit as many photos as I would like this week, but I am impressed with the results of what I’ve had the chance to work on. I’m posting 3 before and after images for reference; if anyone is interest in the adjustments I used to create the final images, please let me know and I will post screen shots.
Here is a steenbok spotted near the Hoanib Camp in Namibia:
An oryx, also spotted near Hoanib Camp:
A springbok spotted while on a game drive in Etosha National Park:
The springbok image is the only one that I tried using some presets with. Topaz products such as clarity have the presets for the plugin available for the app. Using a preset, and then carrying on with other adjustments, was something that I had struggled with on my first pass with the program, but the key is to hit the apply button after working with one preset before moving on to the next. If there are any other Topaz Studio users that are struggling with that, I can post a couple of screen shots, but I found the answer while watching the Youtube presentation linked above featuring Hazel Meredith.
Well, that’s all for this week. I am hoping by next week to have had lots more options to put studio to the test and see what I can come up with.
Wishing everyone a fantastic week ahead.