Last night while editing these brackets from the Train Graveyard, I decided to work with Nik Software’s new Color Efex Pro 4 software to add contrast and detail. I am blown away by the power of this update and really encourage you to give the free trial a spin! After tone-mapping with Photomatix Pro, I loaded up the image in Photoshop CS5 and began with some lens correction using PT Lens to correct for barrel distortion. If your not using lens correction software, you really ought to be using it!
Next, I always use Nik’s Pro Sharpener 3 and the RAW Pre-sharpener option. Then I fired up Color Efex Pro 4. First I applied the new Detail Extractor filter globally after adjusting the default setting to suit my vision. Then I applied the Pro Contrast filter by brushing it onto areas of interest. After that I finished off the session using the Midnight Filter, but I reduced the blur to about 15%. After I applied it via the brush option, I was able to shadow map the image into a darker scene but also bring out details in the areas of light!