I have been using the Nik software Color Efex Pro 3.0 plug-in for Aperture for a couple of months. It has become an integral part of my workflow on many images. I will be showing a couple of adjustments to an image that I feel are valuable and very easily applied with this software.
I enjoy shooting large agricultural equipment in the working environment so that is what I will use for the demonstration of this program. My favorite equipment company for images is John Deere because the bright green and yellow colors always stand out so well against the landscape or sky. The first image below is the original image as it was captured.
Combine at Work 1 by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved
In the 2nd image I added a polarizing filter that is available in the Nik software. This filter has several adjustments available. They are set to the following defaults:
Rotate – 90%
Strength – 100% (60%) In parentheses it shows the opacity that I set for this image.
These adjustments with this filter give a little more pop to the image and also takes away some of the glare.
Combine at Work 2 by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved
In the 3rd image the tonal contrast filter was applied. The adjustments that are available are shown with their defaults and my adjustment in parentheses.
Highlight contrast – 30 (15)
Midtone contrast – 30 (15)
Shadows contrast – 30 (20)
Combine at Work 3 by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved
I feel this filter gives a little more definition to the image. Each of these adjustments was slight but each one helps to enhance the image as I had seen it. I hope these adjustments are clearly demonstrated event though the images are small.
This software program has many other filters which are easy to apply and the opacity can also be adjusted. Another important feature is that you can apply multiple filters as I demonstrated to the same image. I hope you have found this information to be useful and consider adding this useful program to your workflow.
Patterns of Harvest by Gary Hamburgh - All Rights Reserved
I have found that while photographing the contours, patterns and textures in the Palouse, it can be interesting to include some of the machinery that helps to create the landscape. Just including a tractor or combine during harvest can tell a completely different story.
The picture above shows a combine at work during the wheat harvest. It always amazes me as I watch the very steep terrain these harvesters are capable of negotiating. Notice the dust that is present in the image. Areas where farming takes place are usually dusty so be ready to protect your equipment as you are shooting. Also wear boots as many times you may sink in above your ankles in the dirt as you walk the terrain.
I generally try to talk with the farmer or driver of the combine and ask a few questions to show interest in what they are doing. Many times they will ask me if I would like to look inside or I have even been given rides at times in the cab. This gives a completely different view that most people don’t have the opportunity to see.
To give you an idea many of these combines have a system that allows the cab to remain level no matter what the terrain. In addition the newer ones have electronics on board that give critical information such as the number of bushels per acre that is being harvested. The information can be downloaded later onto a computer. Of course air conditioning and music are available as well. If you get the opportunity to visit the area, interact and you may enjoy a ride as well.
As you travel the Palouse look for opportunities to utilize the farm machinery whether it is new or old, working or just standing idle in a field. These large pieces of equipment can add a new story to your images about the work that takes place in the creation of these artistic vistas of farmland that we enjoy.