Nik Color Efex 4.1 and Why I Hate To Delete Images

What does Nik Software’s updated Color Efex Pro 4.1 have to do with deleting images? Everything and absolutely nothing. Let me explain.

Recently I upgraded to Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro 4.1 after hearing rave reviews from other photographers. I didn’t get a chance to work with it right away, but I finally had some time Wednesday night to try it out. In a word, WOW! I’ve only worked with 2 filters; tonal contrast and detail extractor. But take a look at this image from our trip to Kauai in February 2010. Click the images to view larger on black.

Waimea Canyon, Kauai, HI

I will be reading more about the new Color Efex in the weeks to come and trying out more of the many filters that come with the product. I can already see how these filters can be used to spice up an otherwise dull or boring image. I like to get the image right when I click the shutter, but with these two images, that was tough to do. See these were taken in a helicopter as we flew over Waimea Canyon. Not only was I in a helicopter, but we were flying without doors on the helicopter. There was nothing between me and the bottom of the canyon!! It was very exciting, but the 1 hour tour goes by exceptionally quick. I literally held down the shutter the entire time and just fired off image after image. There was no time to check settings as we were constantly moving and alternating between bright sunshine and shade. It was a lot of fun, but very challenging photographically.

Waimea Canyon, Kauai, HI

Which brings me to why I hate to delete images. This second image would have likely found the recycle bin as I just wasn’t impressed with the image out of the camera. I really don’t like the dark shadows on the left side of the canyon walls. For some reason I decided to hold on to it, so when I was playing around with Color Efex Pro 4.1, I decided to try it out on this image. What a difference! I still don’t think this is my best image of the flight, but had I tossed all the images I didn’t like at the time, I would have lost some that would be pretty good with a little post-processing help. As technology improves and software products like Photoshop and Nik’s Color Efex Pro improve, images that I once thought were not usable suddenly become candidates for a second look. I hear Adobe is coming out with a program that will “fix” out of focus images. I excel at taking out of focus images, so perhaps Adobe’s new product will help me save more images in the future.

The bad news about saving all these images is the amount of disk space it consumes. Currently I am consuming 750 gigabytes of disk storage, so my 1.5 terabyte disks and backup disks are soon to be full. Fortunately 3TB drives are coming down in price, so I figure by January the price will be low enough to consider replacing the 1.5TB drives.

Look for more posts from the archives as I figure out how to work more of these filters. So far it has been well worth the investment.