Jim McGinn shares with us his HDR Workshop image which integrates the use of Topaz Adjust in his HDR workflow.

Jim Says:
I’ve been experimenting with bracketed exposures, merging them in Photoshop then running them right through Topaz until I get the look that I want. The detail that comes out is pretty incredible.

About his workflow…
It consists of 7 bracketed exposures, 1 stop difference, shot in aperture priority merged in Photoshop > automate>merge to HDR.

I used the levels curves adjustment then ran it through Topaz (which is the only plug-in I use now) and then the sliders until I got it the way I liked.

Check out the rest of these images his homepage slideshow: www.randomactsofexposure.com

They were taken at the Motor Transport Museum in Campo, CA.

James Terrell shares with us his lightning image, which won him a blue ribbon and was chosen Best Of Show at the Apache Country Fair in St. Johns, Arizona.

About the image
I used Adjust Spicify on the lightning photo. When I saw the results I printed it out and immediately decided it was going to be one of my photos I entered in the contest. I was surprised when I walked in the door at the fair to see my photo on the wall with the Best of Show ribbon and a Blue Ribbon next to it. Thanks to Topaz Adjust and its bringing out the details that were mostly hidden before an ordinary lightning photo because a Blue Ribbon winner. It made it POP where all the other adjustments I had tried in Photoshop with other plugins and PS didn’t achieve the results I was after but Topaz Adjust did what none of the others did or could do.

(After Adjust)


More from James…
This was the 69th ACF and my first time entering any of my photography in a contest, won two blue ribbons, three red and three white along with the Best of Show for the lightening photo. Apache County has very few people living in it, Eagar and Springerville both have maybe 10,000 people and that includes those living in the immediate area out side the city limits. The Navajo Nation is also within the country and their Nation headquarters is located in Window Rock, Az., have photos of Window Rock as well.

I moved here May 3rd of 2010 and have taken over 37,000 photos of the wildlife, scenery and anything else that gets in front of my camera lens, a Canon 10D which has taken over 127,000 photos and I received it new as a gift from a friend who said she wanted me to get back out and take more photos since I am disabled and can’t work a regular job because of my back. Seems she liked my photography she had seen. There are Elk, Bear, Mountain Lions, Bobcats, Deer, Pronghorn Antelope, and tons of small wildlife in this area. We also were evacuated because of the Wallow Fire this June, got photos of the smoke clouds before and during our evac as well as where we stayed in Pinetop/Lakeside. Fell in love with this area three years ago when I came out to visit friends and when I had the opportunity to move here I did.

Sherry L. Stinson shares with us one of her great images from Tyler Dog images, which she enhanced with Topaz Adjust.


Sherry’s workflow to create this beautiful, eye-catching image was quick and simple. The enhanced color and texture has a great effect on the image! She says: ” [I] Started with Photo Pop, then backed off it in Photoshop CS5. Then used Adjust 4 Dramatic effect, and again, masked out areas I didn’t want it too strong or detailed.”


About Sherry
Sherry Stinson is chief cook and bottle washer at Tyler Creative, an award-winning graphic design firm. Her other company, TylerDog Cards and Pet Portraiture, reaches a niche market in pet greeting cards, using original pet photography she has captured throughout the years. In her spare time, she donates charitable photo shoots to animal rescues in hopes the professional photos help the dogs and cats find homes faster. She lives in Bartlesville, OK with her pack of four girls: Katie the Doberman, Xena the Pit Bull, Maggie Monster the Lab/Rottie mix and Jazzy the Amazing Wiener.

You can see more of Sherry’s work online at: http://www.tylerdog.com and http://www.tylercreative.com

Jim McGinn shares with us his Solana Beach Train Station Image, which took first place in the Del Mar Fair “Night Photography” competition.

Image Info
The subject is of the Solana Beach Train Station in North San Diego County right before sunset. The image was taken with a Nikon D-200 with a 17-35 mm lens. f/3.5 @ 1/30 sec. Shot on 10/23/2010 @ 5:29PM.

The train schedule called for the train to arrive right before sunset which was great because I wanted the clouds to show as well as the lights of the station. Fortunately no one stepped in to the shot. Image was uploaded into CS5, adjusted a little with levels and curves then run through the Topaz Adjust filter. I decided that it looked best with the “spicify” plugin and adjusted the sliders a little to suit my taste. I did run the image through deNoise to smooth out the clouds a bit.

I’ve used Topaz quite a bit in my HDR gallery and a lot of the images there. All my scenics from Lassen Volcanic Park I’ve used Topaz “spicify” to adjust with.

Check out more of Jim’s work online at: www.randomactsofexposure.com

Camera: Nikon D300s
Lens: 70-200 F2.8

This is image was shot at the Zoo in Al Ain, which is around 140KM from Dubai in the UAE. Meerkats are really photogenic, but never stay still…

As it was a fairly bright afternoon and the Meerkat enclosure is covered by a high canvas shade, the best exposure I could afford while maintaining a relatively shallow depth of field was F4, before this fella decided to scurry off into his burrow.


However, when I brought the images into lightroom, I wasn’t quite at the point I had wanted to reach. Sometimes you’re almost there…..

So, onto how I got the final look.


I zero’d out the sliders for sharpness and exposure in lightroom and brought the image into Lens Effect.
I then created the dept map for my image using the method described in the online tutorial on the Topaz site.

After a bit of fine tuning, I chose the Bokeh SLR effect and brought in the amount of shallowness to the depth of field that I had originally envisioned. To me, this makes lenseffects return back what you paid for it in leaps and bounds. You now get to have “Prime Bokeh” with a Zoom lens.

As I had mentioned earlier, I zeroed out the sharpness in lightroom because I prefer to adjust sharpness within Lens Effects while making these adjustments. The program is “depth map aware” after all so it kinda makes sense not to sharpen the creamy bokeh you just created.

Post that point I re-imported the images into lightroom and adjusted color / exposure and contrast and added a vignette to complete the effect.

And thats it. Simple, subtle, yet effective at presenting the view you want for your images.

You can find more of my images at my flickr page. I’ve started to encorporate lenseffects into a few of my portraits as well.

To see more of Brian’s work visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/briandonegan/