Zach awry in Japan

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10 December 2012 Fun with Snapseed

Sometimes I can get such good results with my iPhone that I wonder why I lug my big heavy DSLR and lenses around….OK, not really, but when the circumstances are right you definitely do well on the iPhone. Basically, you need something that doesn’t move and which is in good light. And, you need the right software. I’ve talked about Pro HDR before, but recently I’ve been having fun with something called Snapseed.

It’s put out by a company called Nik Software that creates plugins for Lightroom and Photoshop, and which I’ve wanted for years. They’re a little too expensive for me to be able to justify, but essentially the same technology is now free (down from 5 bucks after the company was recently bought out by Google).

Here is one recent shot, followed by the original, non-Snapseed-ed image:

The above is a little more processed than I usually like, but I was just learning and having fun with the software. I realize that there are all sorts of bogus filter-effect apps out there, and Snapseed does indeed include some filters, but more importantly it enables an impressive amount of very hands-on pixel-level editing. For example, I was able to selectively increase the saturation on the red bushes at the bottom of the frame, as well as on only some of the golden leaves.

Here I was able to bring down the almost-blown highlights in the fallen leaves while raising the contrast and brightness in the circular tiles at the bottom, which were lost in shadow in the original:

Here is a photo of the moat that I very nearly fell into while standing on a ledge to get the photo above. I used HDR Pro first, to meld two photos taken at different exposures, then I used Snapseed to tweak the photo until I got a result I liked. I love how the light shines on the big green lotus leaves.

(Don’t miss the giant Koi half-hiding under the leaves.)