Topaz Labs Spring Sale

Save 40% – Topaz Labs Spring Sale!

Topaz Spring Sale

Take advantage of the best pricing this year on the complete lineup of Topaz products, with 40% off the entire TopazLabs.com store until 4/16/17. Whether you want amazing photo effects or technically perfect images, Topaz helps you create the looks you love faster than ever.

What is the Collection?
With the recent addition of Topaz Texture Effects 2, Impression 2, and Glow 2, the Complete Collection includes all 17 plugin products, which individually would cost over $1000. We normally offer the Complete Collection at 50% off the price of buying the plugins individually. However, until the end of this sale you can take an additional 40% off the Collection and Collection upgrades.

Gooseberry Lower Falls HDR

Before

Gooseberry Lower Falls Winter Restyle

After using Topaz Restyle

What is a Collection upgrade?
If you’ve already purchased an individual product (or several products) from Topaz in the past, our system already discounts the collection upgrade price. As long as you’re signed into your account, you can get an additional 40% off your custom collection upgrade pricing through the end of the Spring sale. Whether you’re just starting or looking to expand your collection, there is never a better time to buy!

Ready to Purchase?

Use coupon code SPRING40 to take advantage of the Topaz Labs Spring Sale and save 40% on the Complete Collection or any individual program. Offer expires April 16, 2017.

How to Photograph Waterfalls

Have you ever wondered how to photograph waterfalls so that you get that silky smooth water effect? It’s not as hard as you think! Here are a few simple tips:

Gooseberry Winter Lower Falls

Gooseberry Falls State Park, North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota

Gear Needed to Photograph Waterfalls

If you want to get that silky smooth water flowing effect, you’re going to need some gear:

  • Sturdy Tripod
  • Neutral Density Filters
  • Possibly a Polarizing Filter depending on your focal length and the scene you’re shooting.
  • Camera that can accept filters and can be set to manual to do long exposures.
  • Backpack or other means of getting your gear to the location.
  • Possibly ice cleats for your boots/shoes if you’re shooting in winter, like this particular shot.

Ideal Conditions to Photograph Waterfalls

The best weather conditions for shooting waterfalls is a calm overcast day. The rocks and surrounding areas are typically much darker than the whitewater that flows through the river channel, so sunny days can really blow out your whites and highlights. You also want calm winds since you’ll be doing long exposures and you don’t want the camera getting buffeted by the breeze. And of course, you want to shoot during a time of year when there is adequate water flowing, otherwise you’ll be left with a trickle (if anything) coming over the drop. Typically spring snow melt or after a rainfall are good times.

Gooseberry Upper Falls

How to Photograph Waterfalls

Once you’ve scouted a location and managed to get there, choose your composition and set up your tripod. Determine what aperture you want and keep it constant. Since you’re on a tripod, make sure your image stabilization is turned off. If you’re going after the silky smooth water look, you’ll want a relatively slow shutter speed, at least a few seconds long. Use a remote control to trip the shutter, or set a self timer so that you don’t move the camera when you press the shutter. I typically bracket my shots 2 stops of light apart until I’ve covered the dynamic range in the scene by keeping the aperture constant and changing ISO or shutter speed. You’ll be underexposing some shots to get details in the whitewater while overexposing others to get details in the surrounding rocks.

Post Processing

This particular shot was actually four different exposures that were then blended together using HDR (High Dynamic Range) software in Adobe Lightroom. There are other HDR programs out there, but Lightroom or Photoshop are the ones that I use. Once you’ve got your HDR, process to taste as usual.

Gooseberry Falls hdr

Four shots blended to create a HDR image.

This is what my image looked like after blending the four exposures together, but I wanted to add some color to give it a little more pizzazz. There are lots of ways to do that, but the fastest and easiest for me is to use Topaz Restyle plug-in. That program has more presets than I’ve counted, and you also have complete control to customize those presets and even change blending modes. It’s also non-destructive, so play around with as many different edits as you like. The options are endless! For this image, I used “Blue Gray Shade” and adjusted opacity as well as a few other tweaks to get my final result:

Gooseberry Winter Lower Falls

Final Result after adjusting color palette in Topaz Restyle

I hope you learned a few helpful tips – now go out and give it a try yourself!

 

Wild Bison in Minnesota

Did you know that as of September 2015, Minnesota has two herds of wild bison?

Bison Moody Sky

Wild Bison History

At one time it is estimated that millions of bison roamed much of North America; from the forests of Alaska to the grasslands of Mexico, from the Great Basin in Nevada all the way to the eastern Appalachian Mountains. But by the late 1800s, there were only a few hundred bison left in the United States after European settlers pushed west, reducing the animal’s habitat and hunting the bison to near extinction. Had it not been for a few Native American tribes and intervention by the Dept. of the Interior, bison would be extinct today. Yellowstone National Park is the only area in the United States where bison have lived continuously since prehistoric times.

These magnificent animals are the largest mammal in North America. Bulls can weigh up to 2000 lbs and stand 6 feet tall, while the cows are about 1200 lbs and reach a height of 5 feet. Calves (aka “Red Dogs” because newborns are orange-red in color) are born in the spring and weigh anywhere from 30-70 lbs at birth.

Bison Calf

Wild Bison in Minnesota

Bison once thrived on the tall grass prairies in western Minnesota, but have been completely eliminated from the wild. Our two “wild” herds at Blue Mounds State Park and now Minneopa State Park are contained within the confines of the park and are heavily managed. There is simply not enough grassland to support the herds, so their diet is supplemented during the winter months. They also receive vaccinations for pink eye during the fall round-up. Today, bison are found in small, fragmented populations and are unable to roam free across the nation due to human land-use. As a result, several small herds of genetically pure bison are managed as one large herd,  so new genes can be added to populations every time bison are removed and added to the various herds during roundups.

Blue Mounds Bison Double Exposure

Blue Mounds Bison Double Exposure

Pure Wild Bison

Approximately 95% of bison living today have beef DNA in their genes because of crossbreeding with cattle at some point in their lineage. The Minnesota DNR and Minnesota Zoo are working to preserve the pure bison species. The wild bison herd at Blue Mounds State Park is one of the most genetically authentic herds left in the US! In September 2015, eight cows from Blue Mounds and three from the Minnesota Zoo were released at Minneopa State Park to create a new wild bison herd. Three calves were born there last summer and a new breeding bull from Teddy Roosevelt Nat’l Park will be introduced to that herd. Four cows at the Minnesota Zoo have also been impregnated with embryo transfers from Yellowstone bison to further expand the genetics, with hopes that one of those offspring (to be born this spring) is a male that will become a breeding bull here in Minnesota.

bison in pond

Where To See Pure Bison in Minnesota

Blue Mounds State Park in the southwest corner of the state near Luvurne. There is a bison ranch that sits adjacent to the park, so the animals you see off to your right when you enter the park are NOT the wild bison herd! Best opportunity to see the “real deal” is by hiking along the Western Loop Trail at the south end of the park.

Minneopa State Park allows passenger vehicles to drive right through the enclosed bison range, but you are not allowed to get out of your car. I’ve had bison walk right next to my car when I’ve been there – close enough that you feel like you can reach out and touch them. (Don’t). There are also hiking trails all along the outside of the bison range, or you may be able to spot them from the Seppmann Mill overlook.

Minneopa Bison

Minnesota Zoo along the outdoor Northern Trail. You’ll also see Prairie Dogs and Pronghorn Antelope in the same general area.

Favorite Photos of 2016

Just a few of my favorite photos of 2016:

Favorite Photos of 2016

It’s always hard to decide on which images I like best because so much of it depends on the mood I’m in at the time. Same thing goes when someone asks who my favorite musical artists are.

This past year took me to some old and new places;

  • visiting two different wild bison herds in Minnesota (watch for a separate post coming soon!).

Bison Moody Sky

  • seeing petroglyphs that are older than the Egyptian pyramids just a couple hours from home (probably a separate post coming on that one, too).
  • visiting several Minnesota and Michigan state parks that I’d never been to before.
  • the very familiar North Shore of Lake Superior as well as old haunts on the South Shore of Lake Superior.
Miner's Castle

Miner’s Castle

  • crossing the Mackinac Bridge for the first time in decades (I’ve done more crossings than I can count over my lifetime – being both a former Yooper and Troll from Michigan).
Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Bridge

  • FINALLY getting my carcass over to Isle Royale National Park for the first time (I even lived in Houghton, MI where park headquarters are located back in the early ’80’s)
Rock of Ages Lighthouse

Rock of Ages Lighthouse

  • seeing the finish of several old and new friends at the tail end of their run across Wisconsin to raise awareness about suicide prevention and mental health (they did it in 8 days. Word).
Defeat the Stigma Run Across Wisconsin Finish

Run Across Wisconsin Finish

There were also some lifers for birding, shooting a few more trail races, and learning new digital photo processing techniques like double exposures (some of which are featured in the video).

Which are your favorite photos of 2016?

Happy Winter Solstice 2016

Winter Solstice 2016

Winter Solstice 2016

Winter Solstice 2016

It’s the first “official” day of winter (though we’ve been dealing with it for awhile here in the North Woods) and the shortest day of the year!

That means each day adds a minute or two of daylight for the next six months, ’til things reverse and we wind up back here again next year.

Wishing all of you a Happy Winter Solstice!

Topaz Labs Black Friday Sale

Topaz Labs Black Friday Sale

If you like Topaz Labs Photo Editing Software products but haven’t pulled the trigger to purchase yet, I’ve got some great news! Topaz Labs Black Friday Sale is already on and it’s a doozy!

From NOW through November 30th, Topaz is offering 50% off of the full Topaz Complete Collection!

 

Topaz Labs Black Friday Sale includes all 17 products and you can get the whole shebang for HALF OFF!

Take advantage of the best pricing of the year on the complete lineup of Topaz products, with 50% off the Complete Collection through the end of November. Whether you want amazing photo effects or technically perfect images, Topaz helps you create the looks you love faster than ever.

What’s in the Topaz Complete Collection?

The Complete Collection includes:

  1. Topaz Adjust
  2. Topaz Black & White Effects
  3. Topaz Clarity
  4. Topaz Clean
  5. Topaz DeJPEG
  6. Topaz DeNoise
  7. Topaz Detail
  8. Topaz Glow
  9. Topaz Impression
  10. Topaz InFocus
  11. Topaz Lens Effects
  12. Topaz photoFXLab
  13. Topaz ReMask
  14. Topaz ReStyle
  15. Topaz Simplify
  16. Topaz Star Effects
  17. Topaz Texture Effects

*Note that this discount does not apply to individual plugin purchases, which are sold at full price.
If you’ve already purchased an individual product (or several products) from Topaz in the past, their system already discounts the collection upgrade price. As long as you’re signed into your account, you can get an additional 50% off your custom collection upgrade pricing through the end of November. Whether you’re just starting or looking to expand your collection, there has never a better time to buy!

affiliate_468x60_snowflake

Ready to Purchase?

Use coupon code BLACKFRIDAY16 at checkout between NOW – November 30, 2016.

North Woods Photos Holiday Sale

Huge Holiday Sale is happening NOW until the end of November at North Woods Photos!

Minnesota Moose

Minnesota Moose

Holiday Sale – Outdoor Photography

Give the gift of the North Woods outdoors to friends, family, or yourself this holiday season! I’ve got a wide selection of

  • Wildlife – including Moose, Bears, Bison, Waterfowl, Birds, Owls, Bald Eagles and other North Woods critters.
  • Landscapes from Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin including Waterfalls, Lakes, Milky Way images and Great Lakes shorelines.
  • Nature – a closer look at wild flowers, prairie grasses, North Woods forests, butterflies.
  • Double Exposures – combine wildlife image with the landscape where it lives, such as the Minnesota Moose on this page.
  • Composites – combine photos in unique ways to create artistic images you haven’t seen anywhere else, such as Doorway To Heaven.
  • Abstracts – surreal, impressionist, or sometimes made to look like paintings, textures, etc.

Ordering info about types of papers, how to order, etc. Please contact me if you have questions since there are so many options it can get confusing or overwhelming!

Enter the online galleries to snoop around.

Doorway To Heaven

Doorway To Heaven

Holiday Sale Discounts

The more you spend, the more you save! 

Coupon Code = HOLIDAY20

Save 20% on orders over $50 up to $100

Save 25% on orders over $100 up to $250

Save 30% on orders over $250 up to $500

Save 40% on orders over $500 up to $1000

Save 50% on orders over $1000

Offer is valid for any purchase through the online gallery through November 30, 2016. Includes Lustre, Pearl, Metallic papers, gallery wrapped canvases, and metal prints.

Offer does not apply to special orders such as panoramas, special sizes, mounted or framed prints, or fine art papers.

Cannot be combined with other discounts.

Buy Now

Sugarloaf Cove

Sugarloaf Cove

Holiday Sale Perks

In addition to saving a boat load of money during the holiday sale, all images are processed by professional labs that use conservation grade archival inks and materials.

Items will be sent directly to the address you provide, so you don’t have to worry about packaging and shipping items yourself if you’re sending a gift directly to someone. Items will not be gift wrapped.

Gallery wrapped canvases and metal prints are “ready to hang” as is and don’t need additional framing.

Holiday Sale Questions?

Maybe you’ve got more than one gift and you’d like to have them all shipped directly? In that case, you’d need to order each gift separately and enter the address where you’d like it shipped (US or Canada only). You can use the coupon code as often as you’d like, but it may be cheaper to have everything sent to you to save on shipping costs and get a higher percentage discount.

Once an order is placed it goes to the lab for processing immediately and cannot be cancelled, so please contact me with any questions before placing your order.

Buy Now

Happy Holidays!

 

Topaz Texture Effects 2 Features

If you’re looking for an easy to use right out of the box photo editing software program, look no further than Topaz Labs! Topaz Labs now has 17 different products that enhance photo images easily and seamlessly with Photoshop or Lightroom. In the case of their newer products like Texture Effects 2, they also work as stand alone programs! Check out these Topaz Texture Effects 2 features:

Topaz Texture Effects 2 Features

I’ve already listed the major features of Topaz Texture Effects in earlier posts, but sometimes pictures are worth a thousand words – Especially for visual artists such as photographers. So here is a brief look:

Here are a few of my own images, including some double exposures:

Rock of Ages Lighthouse Antique

Rock of Ages, Isle Royale National Park

Grand Sable Dunes

Grand Sable Dunes, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Antique Tepee

Tepee, Blue Mounds State Park

Sandhill Cranes & Moon

Double Exposure of Sandhill Cranes & Moon

Topaz Texture Effects 2 Intro Tutorial

For a more in depth look at how the program works in real life, John Barclay did a 40+ minute tutorial that you can watch here:

This program is a TON of fun and if you already own Texture Effects, the upgrade to Texture Effects 2 is FREE!

Check it out with a 30 day free trial.

Topaz Texture Effects 2 Update Sale!

Topaz Texture Effects has been one of my favorite photo processing software products ever since it was first introduced by Topaz Labs in November 2015. I am thrilled to pieces that they have already come out with a major upgrade in Texture Effects 2 to make what was already an awesome product even better!

Topaz Labs Texture Effects 2

Here are a few of the updates:

Topaz Texture Effects 2

Features:

  • Texture Effects 2 comes with even more high resolution presets than the original product, including new ones from Hazel Meredith and 2 Lil Owls.
  • You can now upload png files with transparent backgrounds to add your own custom borders, dust and scratches, light leaks, etc.
  • You can browse the Topaz Community and download presets that others have made to share with the public.
  • You can upload your own custom presets to share with the public.
  • You can edit your adjustments with a new enhancements feature.
  • There is now a copy and paste function for further editing and refining your images.
  • Unlimited undo and redo so you can experiment with different looks before committing to changes.
  • There are literally hundreds of presets that come with the program. Everything from vintage looks, grunge, color washes, light leaks, water droplets, bokeh, borders, etc.
  • Effects can be applied with different blending modes to give even more options.
  • Masking ability within the program.

Rock of Ages Lighthouse Rock of Ages Lighthouse Antique

Before and After

Compatibility:

Texture Effects 2 works as a stand alone program as well as a plug-in for Adobe Lightroom 4+, Lightroom CC, Adobe Photoshop CS4+, Adobe Photoshop CC, Adobe Photoshop Elements 12+, Paintshop Pro X 6+, Serif PhotoPlus X5, and photoFXlab. It is NOT compatible with Fusion Express.

System Requirements:

Texture Effects 2 requires

Mac OSX 10.9+
Windows 7/8/10 x 64bit + OpenGL 3.3
*Does not support Windows 32bit

 

Texture Effects 2 Sale:

Texture Effects 2 is already a steal at it’s regular price of $69.99, but you can Save $10 and get it for only $59.99 through October 30th by using this coupon code: TFX2

If you already own the earlier version of Texture Effects, upgrading to the new program is FREE!

Not sure? Topaz Labs offers a free 30 day trial on all of their software products, so take it for a test drive 🙂

Topaz Labs Glow 2

If you like to get creative with your photography post-processing, I’ve got some exciting news! Topaz Labs Glow 2 has been announced and because you’re one of my faithful readers, you’re among the first to know! Furthermore, you’ll be able to score a copy of the software at a 30% discount until September 2, 2016!

Topaz Labs Glow 2 Cat

So, what does Topaz Labs Glow 2 do?

Topaz Glow introduces a unique kind of tool into your photo processing workflow designed to electrify your imagination by illuminating the contours of your images to reveal the hidden details in each image you capture. Glow 2 gives you the power to create stunning neon effects, or subtle ethereal glow. No matter the look you love, amplify your images faster than ever with Glow 2.

It can be over the top…

Topaz Labs Glow 2 Car

or add a subtle boost of color and contours…

Topaz Labs Glow 2 Flower

Topaz Labs Glow 2

The updated version to the original Glow includes some new features:

  • Over 30 New Presets – That brings the total to over 100 included effects to amplify your images or give you a boost creating a personal look you love. You can also create your own presets!
  • New Masking Module -You no longer need a host editor like Photoshop to create masks on your images! Now, you can open Glow 2 and mask areas of your image directly from the application using luminosity, color selection, a spot mask, or a traditional brush mask, and yes it’s color aware 🙂
  • Unlimited Undo/Redo – That’s right! As long as you don’t close the program you can now undo or redo to your hearts content (as far as your system memory will allow).
  • Topaz Community Integration – Topaz Glow 2 is the 3rd of our products to include the Topaz Community (the others are Texture Effects and Impression 2), an easy way for users to search save and share custom made presets with other Glow 2 users around the world. Surf an ocean of hand crafted presets, then download and apply with a click. Or share your custom presets for other users to try.
  • Automatic Preset Backup – as long as you’re signed into your account when you save a preset, that preset will be privately uploaded to the community then synced on any other machine you sign into.

System Requirements for Topaz Labs Glow 2

There have been some compatibility changes to the program as well. Glow 2 requires Windows 7+, Mac OSX 10.9+, and a GPU with OpenGL 3.3 or higher. (this replaces the older requirement for OpenGL 2.1.

As always, Topaz Labs offers FREE 30 day trials for all of their software products, so give it a try and see how you like it if you’re not sure already. Also as always, if you already own Glow, then the upgrade to Topaz Labs Glow 2 is FREE 🙂

Ready to purchase Topaz Labs Glow 2 and save some cash? Just use coupon code GLOW2 to get the discounted price of $48.99 (regular price is $69.99) ’til September 2, 2016!