My Newest Photo Processing Tool - Nik HDR Efx Pro

Sunrise on the Miami River from South Miami Avenue Bridge
Miami River & Metrorail Overpass
Just downloaded the newest Nik Photoshop Plug in to add to my collection, Nik HDR Efx Pro. From what I've seen so far, this program makes a nice addition to the Nik collection which I use extensively in my photo processing: Nik Color Efx Pro, Nik Viveza II, and Nik Silver Efx Pro. I've been using HDR in my work for several years now, relying exclusively on Photomatix Pro.   

My early observations are that this is a great addition to your photo processing tools; especially for landscape photographers. It has the same features and control panel as Color Effects Pro and Viveza II, using the upoint technology which makes editing and tweaking your images a breeze.  I also found that its HDR engine is much faster than Photomatix Pro especially when  working in 64bit on my Mac Pro.

Like the newest version of Photomatix Pro,  Nik HDR Efx Pro, has the ability to save your own presets and comes with a lot of presets to work with.  I have noticed that while the preloaded presets are good as a starting point, I found myself having to do a lot of tweaking to the settings to get the look I was looking for.  I did find that I had to really work the settings to avoid the haloing that one tends to get in HDR work. I hate it personally, but the Nik software's structure settings on the control points or on the whole image make getting rid of the haloing pretty easy.  I also found that the Nik program tends to make cleaner HDR's as well when compared to Photomatix pro.

The two images posted here were both done with the Nik software.  The top image is a 3 image HDR which I exported into Nik HDR Efx Pro out of Lightroom using the cityscape setting as a base and then making adjustments in the control panel.  The second image is not a true HDR,  but a single image faux HDR again exported from the raw file out of Lightroom using the artistic base setting and some tweaking.  On both images, I did add a pass of vibrance/warmth in Nik Color Efx Pro to kick it up a notch, so to say, and a pass of noise reduction.

As I said, it will take me a while to get the feel for this program. I'm quite adept at working with Photomatix Pro and will still use it depending on the look I'm going for. But now that my Nik collection is complete and now able to work in 64 bit on my Mac,  I may find myself finally moving permanently to PS CS 5 from CS4 which I still have been using since most of my Nik plug ins were still only working in 32 bit until the most recent updates. See you out in the field, infidels.