Feb 072017
 

The only way to take this image was from an elevator, through thick sheets of glass. You can imagine the image needed a lot of saturation and contrast in post-processing 🙂

Hmm, reminds me of some surrealist, maybe a little of Picasso as well. It’s amazing what seemingly flat sheets of glass can do to a reflection 😀

3719 – Shallow Waters

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro  Comments Off on 3719 – Shallow Waters
Dec 252016
 

The buildings in this series of images are part of a new office complex near Krieau, one of Vienna’s two traditional horce racetracks.

It is located at the northern side of Prater, a big former hunting ground, today the biggest park in Vienna. The location was in discussion for our new office, but in the end turned out to be too expensive. What a pity 🙂

3652 – Cheap Rain on an Expensive Car

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO  Comments Off on 3652 – Cheap Rain on an Expensive Car
Oct 182016
 

And off we went to France. Aix en Provence was the destination and we went by car. It’s easily reachable from Austria in one day.

This image was taken on the French highway, somewhere between Cannes and Nizza, during a refueling stop. It was drizzling a little and I took my first image on that trip: the hood of a big and expensive BMW SUV, sprinkled with cheap rain, reflecting a disfunctional roof 🙂

Jun 162016
 

Another effect of not only using images shot on the same day is, that I make a lot of images on a good day and so I can actually use them, thereby compensating for the bad or otherwise busy days. Processing and posting images on the same day would severly limit the maximum number of good images used.

You may remember from earlier years that I had often used five or even six images in one post. Since I switched to Lightroom as my main processing tool, it is easier and I’m much faster than with Photoshop, but still, just thinking about six images takes a lot of time. Time that I don’t have or don’t want to spare.

3507 – Lonely Stairs at the Railway Station

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45 mm f/1.8  Comments Off on 3507 – Lonely Stairs at the Railway Station
May 262016
 

This image was taken at f5.6, 1/20s and ISO 1600. I wouldn’t have needed DxO to process it. I did, just to try out their keystone correction tool.

Well, it works 😀

In the end, the result of my evaluation of DxO Optics Pro 10 was that I bought it. You need the “Elite” version in order to get PRIME noise reduction, and while I was at it, I just bought the whole suite, including Viewpoint (the geometry correction tool, also with support for eye-friendly de-fishing) and Filmpack.

Since then I have hardly used it – but still, for the things it does well, mostly high ISO noise reduction, it is a nice arrow to have in your quiver.

3502 – Night is Falling Into a River

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45 mm f/1.8  Comments Off on 3502 – Night is Falling Into a River
May 212016
 

Even at f1.8 and 1/10s I had to raise ISO to 800 in this image. That’s not very high, but I had plans for brightening the sky. That’s always a dangerous endeavor in digital images.

Approximately at that time Google had released their Nik suite with Dfine 2, a noise reduction plugin that I had tried years ago. I took the chance to pitch it against Topaz DeNoise 6 (also acquired years ago and upgraded with the old license for free – thanks Topaz!) and against Lightroom’s built-in noise reduction. And while I was at it, I decided to also test it against DxO Optics Pro’s PRIME noise reduction.

My suspicions were justified. In order to get anything out of Dfine and DeNoise that is as good or better than the results from Lightroom, you need a lot of fiddling. You may get better results in Photoshop, because there you could use different strengths and settings on different layers and then work with masks, but in Lightroom I see no advantage of such a plugin over what you already have paid for.

DxO was a different beast though. Basically it blew everything else out of the water. The difference was so obvious, that I don’t bother you with 100% crops.

You most likely see it in the blue of the sky. I had wanted to raise it from what the camera recorded, and due to the peculiarities of Bayer array sensors, blue is a very vulnerable color. Red is so as well, but most of the time you don’t have big dark red areas with smooth gradients in an image. If the sky is red, it’s brightly so, and your consideration is normally not to raise its level, but to keep it from burning out.

DxO PRIME was introduced years ago and I have already tried it in the past. On my old laptop it was marvelous but slow. Processing one single image took between five and eight minutes.

I have no idea how they managed it and it can’t only be my not-so-new-anymore Macbook Pro. Somehow DxO has sped up PRIME by a factor of 10. Now processing an image takes around 40 seconds. I still don’t do it for every image, but it pays off for very high ISO or if you want to strongly brighten up dark areas.

It’s not only detail noise though. Color noise reduction may be much less obvoius than detail noise reduction, but it is responsible for the washed out look of high-ISO images. In fact DxO’s color noise reduction is vastly superior to everything that I’ve seen before.

I’ll show you some more examples in the course of the next few days.