Before and After: East Maui

It’s been fun being out “on location” up here in Door County, WI this weekend. I managed to take shots for a few different ideas and images that I’ll be processing when I return home, including a friend’s hockey game in Green Bay we found out about that same morning. Once I’m back home and in front of my 24” monitor in the digital darkroom, I’ll be sharing those results, soon.

In the meantime, and to keep the stream of images coming, I thought I’d start a new series to showcase some of my work in the digital darkroom and touch on some of the tools I use from time-to-time. These aren’t going to be full tutorials, more of just a little peak under the covers and maybe a little inspiration for others in the process.

For the first image in this new series, the featured tool is Topaz Adjust.

The Before Image

The image below was one I was already particularly fond of. It was taken back in April ’08 on a visit to Maui’s east coast.

Koki Beach

To me, this misty view of Koki Beach had a certain mystique to it, and my original attention was to enhance that aspect of the image. What happened, however, was the creation of an entirely new, maybe even more powerful, image as a result of using the Spicify preset in Topaz Adjust.

The After Image

East Maui

Since I hadn’t visualized this artful look as my intended output, my initial reaction was a surprising “Whoa!” It certainly was an entirely new image, and it was love at first sight. I toned down the saturation just a tad, removed a little noise, and that was it. Sure, that mist is all but gone, but it’s not missed that much now.

More About Topaz Adjust

Topaz Adjust, from Topaz Labs, is still relatively new to me. I first heard about it from a keynote presentation by Rick Sammon entitled “Awaken the Artist Within” at the ‘09 Maui Photo Festival. I will have more to say about Topaz Adjust when I feature it as part of my revamped Software series here at the blog, but if you haven’t experienced it for yourself yet, go ahead and grab the 30-day trial from their website.

If you’re still not convinced, stay tuned to blog for more before and after images, and I assure you that you’ll be a little curious about what it can do for the large archive of photos you have on that hard drive of yours.

Thoughts?

I admit beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as we all have different tastes and dislikes. Please share your thoughts on the particular outcome shown above, as the broader range of opinions and feedback I receive helps me to gauge which direction my little experiments are headed.

As this is the first post in the new series, I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on it. As stated, my goal is to showcase a little of my creative side and maybe inspire others out there to tinker a little bit outside of what they do now. Future posts in this series will likely be less wordy, so I hope to crank them out with a decent amount of frequency.

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