Running... Again?

  If you know me you know there was a time about 10 years ago or so where I was running. A lot. At least 5 days a week and at least 5 miles a run. I wasn’t training, I wasn’t preparing for a race or a marathon. I just found myself enjoying the time spent running. I wasn’t obsessed with numbers, but I kept track of them all and liked seeing improvements in time and distances. It was good physical health and mental health. Then I tweaked my knee. Not bad enough that I couldn’t walk on it, just a tweak that told me I needed to back off of running for a little bit. So I decided on 2 weeks. At the end of 2 weeks I aborted a run very early as the pain was still there. 2 weeks became 3, became a month, became 5 years. 

Topaz Labs Adjust

Before (Left) and After (Right) of one of my favorite sunset shots processed with Adjust
I've been wanting to highlight some of the tools and plugins I use often here on the blog because they have helped me learn and enjoy photography. One of these plugins, Topaz Labs Adjust 5, is also on sale this month, so I thought it was a good time to start. I'll have the link and the coupon code at the bottom.

When I first got started with HDR photography I was initially disappointed with my photos after the HDR processing step. They looked flat and boring. They weren't like the HDRs I was seeing from other photographers. I then learned that most photographers finish their photos off with plugins, and one of the most popular ones was Topaz Labs Adjust. Adjust was my first plugin from Topaz and in general, and is still one of my most used plugins with my HDR work.

Topaz and Adjust have come a long way since I first started using them 3 or 4 years ago. Adjust has moved from version 4 to version 5 and other products have been added to both Topaz's portfolio and my "Edit in external editor"menu in Aperture. The great thing about all the Topaz Labs products is the fairly unified look and feel; on the left you have your presets usually categorized in different collections, the middle is your photo with easy ways to quickly look at before and after shots, and on the right are the more finite controls to get just the look you're wanting. Adjust is no different, though it doesn't share some of the great features that Clarity or ReStyle have in terms of grid preset preview and the same level of awesomeness that the Clarity and ReStyle masking tools have.
Before (Left) and After (Right)

The power feature for Adjust is the Adaptive Exposure slider. This really works on adjusting the tonal qualities of your photo. Coupled with the regions slider and you can have these tonal adjustments work at different levels on your photos. It's a very powerful tool and one, in my opinion, you should use with caution, depending on what you're looking for in your photos; too much will make a photo less realistic. Adjust would also be my suggestion for if you were to own one Topaz Labs plugin. It offers watered down features of some of their other plugins; denoise options, detail, and the ability to work on things more locally than just the photo as a whole.
Before (Left) and After (Right)

When I want to add drama to a photo, not just my HDRs, Adjust is normally my first choice. This one plugin offers a lot in the way of features. And for the month of September it's on sale for $24.99. Just click the image below and use "septadjust" (without quotes) to get the discount! Then show me what you've done with Adjust.


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