Dawn Creeps Over the Mountains

Photomatix Pro & Photomatix Plugin for Aperture 3 comparison

So I was going through my photo collection in Aperture 3 and I saw this sunrise photo that I’d processed a couple of years ago with I think the Photomatix plugin for Aperture 3.  I’m not sure though, it might have been the standalone, Photomatix Pro.  So I decided to process the original files for that image and see if I could do a better job.  So I opened the three source photos in the latest Photomatix plugin for Aperture 3 and started processing.  Boy, was I in for a surprise.  I could not do it.  The results were just terrible compared to what I’d done before.  The detail, the color, the sharpness, it just wasn’t there.  So I reprocessed it again, and the results were a little better, but still awful.  Now, its normal that your editing skills go up and down, but, man, I was thinking that I’d completely forgotten how to edit.  So I tried it again and again and again and the results were the same.  I was getting frustrated, so after two hours of moving sliders back and forth, I fired up the latest, standalone, Photomatix Pro (v4.2) application, loaded the source files, pre-processed them, and without even moving any sliders, just with the default settings, the image looked amazing compared to what I was getting with the plugin.  The details in the shadows were back, there was less noise, and the image was sharper.  I learned something today, don’t use the Photomatix plugin for Aperture 3, use the standalone application.

This is the image I processed a few years ago, maybe using Photomatix Pro or the Plugin (I kinda think that they’ve gone backwards with the plugin).

Break of Dawn Across the Rice Paddies

This is the image I just processed using the standalone application, Photomatix Pro.

Break of Dawn Across the Rice Paddies

This is the image I that I just processed using the Photomatix  plugin for Aperture 3.

Break of Dawn Across the Rice Paddies

The top two are about the same, some lighting differences, but in terms of detail they’re about the same.  The second one is just a  bit sharper because I added more sharpening.  The third image has horrible detail in the shadows.  You can really see that detail is lacking in the grass and in the walls of the shack.

Here are crops (if you open the image by itself you can see the 100% crop) of the three images.  The top one being on the left and the bottom one being on the right.  What do you think?


Some details about this photo:
Camera: Pentax k-x
Lens: DA-L 18-55
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 18mm
Aperture: f/16
HDR Composite using 3 photos from -2 EV to +2 EV


Enhancement of “Lake Sebu Sunrise” w/ Color Efex Pro 4

Hunt’s Photo and Video Melrose is hosting a photo contest on their Facebook page.  The prize is a copy of Nik Color Efex Pro 4.  To enter, you submit a photo edited with Color Efex Pro 4 (CEP4).  I downloaded the free trial of CEP4 and tried it on several of my HDR photos.  One of them was the “Lake Sebu Sunrise” photo I posted a while back.  I wasn’t quite pleased with the original image I posted, and I think I said something about that in my previous post – something like “the best I could do for now”.  Well, I opened up the image in CEP4  plug-in for Aperture 3 and applied one filter, the contrast color range filter.  Wow, I think the image looks much better now.  What do you think?

The original – before enhancing in Color Efex Pro 4

After applying the Contrast Color Range  filter in Color Efex Pro 4

Lake Sebu Sunrise Photo Enhanced in Color Efex Pro 4


I mentioned that I submitted this photo to a contest hosted by Hunt’s Photo and Video Melrose.  Well, that contest is heating up and I’m currently in second place, with the second most number of likes.  If you like and enjoy the photo above and have a Facebook account, I would sure appreciate it if you would vote for my picture on Facebook by liking it there!  Thanks!  Here is the LINK.