Processing files using HDR or NIK Color Efex 4?

I have been doing HDR since 2008. I have never been one to overdo my HDR. As a matter of fact, a lot of my work is not recognized as being tonemapped at all. That is why I am so excited about Nik Color Efex 4 and the Detail Enhancer. It can bring out the details in the shadows and highlights that I use HDR for. It does have its limitations in very high dynamic situations. If that is the case, I take 3 exposures and tonemap the final product.
When it comes to an image like the one below, I like to use Nik Color Efex and its Detail Enhancer. It is a plug-in for Photoshop that I can not live without now.
The histogram showed all my highlights and shadows were there, but I took 3 shots anyway -2, 0, +2 EV. I then combined them in Photomatix 4 to tonemap them (2nd photo).
The 3rd photo shows what I can do with one photo using Detail Enhancer. Painting in the areas I want with it effects.

Click on any photo for larger view!

Nik Color Efex 4

Original Shot

Nik Color Efex 4

Processed using Photomatix 4.2

Nik Color Efex 4

Processed using Nik Color Efex 4

I find myself using Nik Color Efex 4 more and more. With the new tools like Detail Enhancer, it adds to my productivity.


One Response to Processing files using HDR or NIK Color Efex 4?

  • An average every day photo springs to life and is a winner.
    That’s a great program but probably out of reach for the amateur photographer.
    I love most of the Alaska shots that I made there a couple of years ago without the benefit of such a program.
    For a pro like you, it is the difference between a nice photo and one that will sell.
    Keep up the good work.

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