Here’s a 9 bracket hdr shot I took from Phoenix Trotting Park back in April. We were fortunate not to be bothered the whole time we were there and I was able to get several great shots. This is another image I processed with Topaz Black & White Effects. I really like the results I have gotten so far with it and if you have tried it out yet, you might want to read my review.
Not long ago I posted this photo from Valley of Fire State Park. I had climbed up to and crawled inside this little cave and took the photo looking back out. I really liked how it turned out in color – in fact, it was one of my favorite photos from that location. I have been playing around with Topaz’s B&W Effects lately and I decided to process this one as a black & white as well. I have to say that I really like the look and feel of this shot in black & white. I thought I’d offer you a comparison between the color and the b&w. Which do you like better?
Topaz B&W Effects
We all love black & white photos – the simplicity, artistry, detail and raw drama all combine to make photos of exceptional beauty and elegance. Black and white photography does a great job of enhancing contrast, shapes and lines in your photos but sometimes the editing process can just be frustrating and confusing.
I have been a Topaz user for some time and have been favorably impressed by the power and ease of use of their products. In fact, I routinely use Adjust, Detail and DeNoise in my post processing technique. Not long ago, I received an email update from Topaz informing me of their new product – I have been a B&W Effects and I immediately decided to give it a shot. I have been playing around with the software for a week now and I couldn’t be happier with it.
Topaz B&W Effects is a plug-in that is compatible with Lightroom, Aperture, Photoshop CS5, Photoshop Elements, iPhoto, Paint Shop Pro and more. Like all Topaz products, the interface is extremely simple and easy to use. Once you load the plug-in from the filter menu you can select from Traditional, Toned, Stylized, Cyanotype, Albumen, Van Dyke Brown & Opalotype effects and find the the preset you like!
Once you’ve found an interesting preset, use the sliders on the right to fine tune your image. The basic and adaptive exposure menus let you adjust all the basics like contrast, brightness, blacks, whites, details and shadows. Select the color sensitivity and color filter menus to adjust color tones, balance and hue of the overall image allowing you to a create a truly unique looking image.
One of the best things about BW Effects is the local adjustment panel. Choose one of the 5 tools – Dodge, Burn, Color, Detail, or Smooth – and set your brush size and opacity so you can selectively apply these effects anywhere in the image! To make things even better, Topaz has included advanced Edge Aware Technology that really makes it easy to brush only the things you want.
Topaz B&W Effects is one of the most versatile tools I have used for black & white conversion and enhancement. I find the user interface organized and simple to use whether you’re a casual photographer who’s interested in having some fun with your images, or a pro photographer who is looking for a truly unique look for your portfolio.
For a limited time, Topaz is offering 50% off the product price using the coupon code “bwandbeyond”. I also recommend checking out the full Photoshop bundle while your’re there and try out some of the other great Topaz Products like Adjust and Detail.
The Final Product With Topaz B&W Effects:
Other Photos Processed With Topaz B&W Effects
I absolutely love getting out and doing sunrise photography. The only problem is, I have a really hard time getting out of bed sometimes. Once I’m up in the truck however, everything is completely different. It’s always so quiet at that hour and there’s just a magical feeling I get looking through the viewfinder as the new day rolls in.
I took this shot just before the sun came over the mountains at Bartlett Lake just north of Carefree. It had rained the night before and I was hoping for some really nice clouds for sunrise but as always, mother nature does not take requests . Bartlett Lake is a really nice place to shoot in the morning and I have plans to go back this winter for several more sunrises.
This is another image from Phoenix Trotting Park. I processed this image several different ways and I lost count of the number of PhotoTools Filters I used – this result was my favorite. I’m interested to hear your feedback on this one!