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Friday image No.026

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St Ives sunset. Olympus EM5 with post processing in Nik Color Efex and Viveza.
St Ives sunset. Olympus EM5 with post processing in Nik Color Efex and Viveza.

The day has just run away with me again. It’s now 10:15pm UK time and I realise that I haven’t posted my Friday image. I have been hard at it since 07:00am and I’m tired. I have therefore turned to a traditional coastal landscape image from my recent holiday (which now seems a very distant memory) to cheer myself up. I hope you enjoy.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Friday image No.025

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Sea, clouds and a few small wind turbines in the Irish Sea. Captured with the Olympus OMD EM5 with post processing in Nik Analog Efex
Sea, clouds and a few small wind turbines in the Irish Sea. Captured with the Olympus OMD EM5 with post processing in Nik Analog Efex

Another image with a sea theme. This was from my trip a few weeks back to the Lake District. On the way I had a stroll up Black Combe from which you can see the largest offshore wind farm in the world (at least that’s what it said on the BBC news). If you look carefully in the light area you can just about make out a few of the wind turbines.

Post processing was in the new Nik Analog Efex which is fast becoming one of my favourite creative filters for artistic and old camera effects.

Have a great weekend everyone.

How did it look at the start?

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An interesting conversion using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2
An interesting conversion using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2

After I posted this black and white image taken from near the summit of Great Gable in the English Lake District a number of you wanted to know what the starting image looked like. Well here is it.

 

Starting image prior to processing in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2
Starting image prior to processing in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2

Looks great eh and you can immediately see how I turned it into the finished version above (only joking). If you can’t and want to know how I achieved the conversion, take yourself over to my Lenscraft website and register as a member – don’t worry it’s free. This entire conversion will be detailed in Summer 14 newsletter which I will be publishing shortly. Members receive an email notification when the newsletters published. You can also be sure that I won’t spam you as I HATE spam email.

Emotional Challenge 2

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Processing in Nik Analog Efex 2
Processing in Lightroom,  Photoshop and Nik Analog Efex 2

Recently I posted a blog entitled Emotional Challenge where I spoke about my recent interest in the emotional aspect of photography and how we could create images that had more emotional impact. As an initial example I posted the image of a seagull flying over the sea. Now some of your reading this will be relating the image of the seagull to seaside holidays, perhaps recalling childhood memories. Others though may have an entirely different perspective of the image.

If you are not from a climate where the seagull is a common sight on the coast you may not have any emotional memory to attach to the image. Instead you may see a huge open stretch of water with a bird gliding graceful over it and flying off into the distance. For you the emotional message in the image is one of freedom.

Today I have posted a few variants of the image that are also intended to add further layers of emotion, using various tricks or rather emotional triggers.

The first variant below has cropped the image to a square format. Whilst this possibly doesn’t give as dynamic a composition as the standard rectangular image, it is none the less a trigger. Some people will associate the square format with older cameras. The other change in this example was the vintage effect. Here lighting and colouring have been used to create the impression of older photography. All these changes were achieved quite quickly in Lightroom using the crop tool and a few gradients.

Processing in Lightroom
Processing in Lightroom only

The next example is a little more complex. This takes the Lightroom conversion and applies effects using Nik Analog Efex 2 (which is a recent release). The effects here are light and colour adjustments, blur, vignette, dust and an edge effect similar to the old Polaroid film.

Old film effects in Nik Analog Efex 2 only
Old film effects in Nik Analog Efex 2 only

In the next two examples the results of the Nik Analog Efex filter have been added as a layer in Photoshop to the Original Lightroom image. The blending mode has then been changed on the Nik layer. In the first of the two the blending mode is set to Soft Light.

Lightroom and Nik versions blended in Photoshop using Soft Light mode
Lightroom and Nik versions blended in Photoshop using Soft Light mode

In this second image the blending mode is set to Overlay.

Processing in Nik Analog Efex 2
Lightroom and Nik versions blended in Photoshop using Overlay mode

All these images are likely to mean different things to different people but all are likely to have an effect. If we can isolate the emotional triggers from great images and then learn how to recreate these in our own work, our photography will improve. But this carries two significant dangers. Firstly people are likely to either love or hate your work. Secondly your work can become a cliché and the effects boring.

I never said it was easy.

Quality costs but it also pays

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Olympus EM5 with 14-45mm lens. Lee Seven 5 0.9ND Graduated filter. Post processing with Nik Color Efex and Viveza. f/11 at ISO200 for 1/13" handheld.
Olympus EM5 with 14-45mm lens. Lee Seven 5 0.9ND Graduated filter. Post processing with Nik Color Efex and Viveza. f/11 at ISO200 for 1/13″ handheld.

Looking back some 3 to 4 years, I was a devoted user of Lee Filters although they were far from perfect. I didn’t think the quality was great and I can point to examples of colour shifts in my work. When I moved to Micro 43 I found the Lee 100mm filters were too large so I switched to using Hi-Tech 85mm filters and then more recently the Hi-Tech 67mm.

I was very pleased with the Hi-Tech filters and they were also much better value than the Lee equivalent. That was at least until I purchased the Sony RX10. When I use the 85mm Hi-Tech filters with this camera (the 67mm filters vignette badly) I find the sky takes on a purple tint. I can correct this in Lightroom using the grad tool but it’s annoying. What’s interesting is that this isn’t a noticeable problem when I use the filters with the Olympus EM5.

Now enter the GM1 and I found a similar problem was now occurring with the 67mm Hi-Tech filters. It’s not as strong an effect as the 85mm filters on the Sony but I can still notice it. Again, the effect isn’t noticeable when using the filters with the Olympus EM5.

It was this small but very frustrating tint that has taken me back to the Lee filters. I decided to bite the bullet and invest in the Lee Seven 5 filters, and I’m so pleased that I have. These filters and holders are very well made indeed. Best of all there is no discernible colour shift on any of the cameras I use. What really hit home for me was when I used the 0.9 Grad for this image and found the effect to be perfectly natural. If there was going to be a colour shift it would be with this filter but the results are excellent.

If you are thinking of investing in the Lee Seven 5, my view is that the expense is well worth it.

Friday image No.021

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Offshore Wind Farm
Offshore Wind Farm

Firstly I am going to start with an apology. Last week there was no Friday Image and some readers may have found me slower to respond. This is because my mother is in hospital (and has been for a few weeks). I have been trying to work around this but it is having an impact on my productivity. Being self employed I need to put my business next after my family. I hope you will understand and bear with me whilst I work through this.

Now to the image which was shot with the Olympus EM5 and the Panasonic 45-150 lens. This wind farm is quite far out to sea and I had to use the 45-150 at its farthest reach. I also used quite a wide aperture to keep the shutter speed up (I was hand holding) and add the feeling of depth to the image. I am very impressed with the lens performance given the extreme focal length and the conversion which was done using Nik Silver Efex is exactly what I had visualised at the time I took the shot. It’s great when something works out for you.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Just Thinking of Summer

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Dreamy summer effects with Nik Color Efex Pro.
Dreamy summer effects with Nik Color Efex Pro.

I was thinking of summer whilst looking through my archive and came across a rather drab looking picture of flowers in a field. Looks a lot better after I had a play around in Nik Color Efex.

A Note of Thanks

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Canary Wharf in London's Docklands. Panasonic Lumix GM1 with 12-32mm lens. Post processing in Nik SIlver Efex Pro and Nik Analog Efex.
Canary Wharf in London’s Docklands. Panasonic Lumix GM1 with 12-32mm lens. Post processing in Nik SIlver Efex Pro and Nik Analog Efex.

I would like to publish a note of thanks to the security officers at Canary Wharf in London. Yesterday I visited London with a couple of friends as tourists to take pictures. One of our locations was Docklands with the intention of photographing some of the icon architecture including Canary Wharf.

Waiting for our friend outside the Tube Station we were taking some pictures of the buildings when we were approached by a security officer to ask if we had permission. What was nice about this is that the officer took the trouble to look at the pictures we were shooting and then contacted security to allow us to continue. It’s great when officials recognise that not everyone with a camera is a terrorist or pervert and treat people with respect.

Thank you.

Walking through History

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The dam at Ladybower. Captured on a Panasonic GX1 converted to shoot infrared then processed in Nik Silver Efex Pro and Nik Analog Efex.
The dam at Ladybower. Captured on a Panasonic GX1 converted to shoot infrared then processed in Nik Silver Efex Pro and Nik Analog Efex.

With it being a Bank Holiday in the UK today and for once the weather not being terrible, I went for a walk. I like quite near to the Peak District National Park but for some reason I seldom visit. Today I decided I wanted a good walk in the hills so drove over to Ladybower reservoir which is about 50 minutes from my house.

When I first became interested in photography I remember seeing some old images of the dam at Ladybower and I thought these images were wonderful. The Victorians certainly knew how to engineer wonderful structures but the age of the images also made these more appealing.

I recall visiting the area about 10 years ago in the hope of being able to recreate these wonderful images but it wasn’t to be. Today I was able to create something that I quite liked using my Infrared camera. But it wasn’t until I took the image into Nik Analog Efex and applied a little emotion that the image came to life. Trying to create an image such as the one above was almost impossible for me 10 years ago but today it took minutes.

I wonder what photography will be like in another 10 years.

Playing Around

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Olympus EM5, 9-18mm lens, 8 stop ND filter and post processing in Nik Analog Efex. Click the image to see a larger version.
Olympus EM5, 9-18mm lens, 8 stop ND filter and post processing in Nik Analog Efex. Click the image to see a larger version.

I have just been playing around with some of my images from the trip to Filey at the weekend. Here is another of the images shot from Filey Brigg. The Brigg is a huge lump of rock extending out into the sea. It’s quite dark, moody and dare I say it, difficult to photograph.

This particular image was shot with an 8 stop graduated filter which gave a 4 second exposure at f/7.1.

I quite like the resulting image but I decided to play around some more with Nik Analog Efex Pro which is where the corroded effect/moody texture comes from. I can’t make up my mind if I like it or not now but thought I would share it.

Sometimes photography is about experimenting.

If you don’t experiment you don’t learn.

If you don’t learn you don’t grow.

If you don’t grow you will never be great.