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 Complete Collection

My Arsenal
As some of you probably already know, or have guessed, I use a lot of +Topaz Labs plugins in my photography work. It started with Adjust which I wrote up a pretty popular (for my blog) review here. Then, because I hate noise and micro fourthirds cameras seem susceptible to it, I went looking at DeNoise. It's nothing sexy in terms of the look of your photo, but without it nothing else can really happen. So the fact that Topaz Labs is putting their entire collection on sale over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend is pretty big news. That's 14 products, which would normally retail for $770, usually sells for $380 on sale for $199! So what are the highlights in this group?

DeNoise: You should hate noise in your photos, and the built in noise removers in Aperture or Lightroom aren't nearly as powerful as this guy is. It often amazes me how just using a preset in the plugin can clean up a photo, and this goes for photos taken with my phone or my camera.

Adjust: I'll admit I use it less that I used to, but it is still my go to for pushing a photo to something more artistic.

Clarity: This is probably my most favorite plugin, once I got the hang of it. Being able to target precise degrees of contast (small, medium, large, etc.) can really make a photo pop without crossing that line or unnatural. And the masking capabilities of this app are some of the best I've used for targeting what areas you want and don't want affected.

Detail: Is a required stop for all my photos. They'll either get a light application of detail to try and give a 3D look to photos, or a heavier application to achieve a look I have in mind. Again you can target small, medium, and large details and shadow and highlight detail. Another great "pop" adder for photographs.

Black & White Effects: I'm enjoying seeing things in monochrome, and you need a good conversion plugin to really help you achieve the look you're wanting. With plenty of presets to start you off, Black & White Effects takes my photos where I want them to go.

photoFXlab: It used to be, with Aperture, you had to make multiple roundtrips to and from these plugins. It made it a hassle. But with photoFXlab Topaz has made it a one stop affair. You could even cut Aperture (or Lightroom) out of the equation all together. Or, if you don't have a program for photo processing it could be your program. FXlab does two things. It serves as a pretty nicely featured photo editor with it's own set of tools and the ability to use layers and masks right out of the box without anything else. But if you have Topaz plugins you can easily work with them all right there. My workflow is to take care of exposure issues in Aperture then send the photo to photoFXlab where each plugin I use gets a layer so I can fine tune just how much of each plugin's edits I want to show in the final product. Then I hit save and my finished photo is in Aperture ready for posting.

So by my math these 6 highlights of the 14 item complete collection comes in at $380, which just tells me the normal price for Topaz Labs is a pretty good deal to begin with. But starting Friday 11/29 and running through Monday 12/2 you can get these six highlights, and 8 other great plugins for $199.99 using the code blackfriday2013. If you're looking for a set of plugins grab the downloads today and play with them today then unlock them for $199.99. And let me know what you create with them.


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