Return of the Friday Image

Staircase inside St Paul's Cathedral in black and white
Inside St Paul’s Cathedral. Fuji X-T3 with 18-135 lens. Processed using Nik Silver Efex 2.

I’ll start with an apology. I haven’t posted a Friday image for the past two weeks. The first week I was away in the Lake District in an area with no phone or internet access. It was wonderful but scary at the same time. It was my intention to share an image from the trip today but then something shiny distracted me. An upgrade to the Nik Collection (to version 2.3) and Silver Efex Pro to be precise. That’s when I decided to share this image.

If you haven’t seen version 2.3 yet, it’s all about black and white. Nik Silver Efex Pro has a whole bunch of new film simulations. You can find these in the “Film Types” section which is the area I call the “best-kept secret”. That’s because people don’t use it for some reason. You’ll find the new simulations in the dropdown list at the top of the section. As you scroll through the list you see your preview reflect each film. Just click the one you like best.

After that, if you like to play with things (as I do) you can tweak the colour response, grain and tone curve. There’s a lot of control here and whilst you could probably arrive at some of the effects yourself, it’s great that DxO has added these films. It makes life easy. You can find out more on their website.

I’ve done a few images with the new films and they appear a good match to what I would expect. It also reminds me of how much I miss black and white film photography. I still have hundreds of rolls of ADOX CMS20, Rollie IR, Rollie Retro 100 and Kodak TMax in my freezer as well as a few others. I think I need to dig out my XPan to shoot some.

Friday Image No. 236

I captured this week’s image back in August on a trip to London. Having worked in central London for some 8 years I find I miss it, but now when I visit, I like to do the tourist thing. This time I visited St Paul’s Cathedral which is where I took this shot. Yes, they now allow photography in the cathedral so visit soon before they change their mind.

This scene is from one of the staircases which the guide said featured in one of the Harry Potter films (I wouldn’t know). The shot was handheld using a Fuji X-T3 and 18-135 lens at 18mm. Shutter speed 1/20” at f/6.4 and ISO1600. I converted the RAW file in Capture One before taking it into Nik Silver Efex Pro 2. It’s still my favourite black and white converter by far.

I hope you like the image and have a great weekend.

6 thoughts on “Return of the Friday Image

    1. Thank you. If you haven’t tried Silver Efex Pro I would really recommend it. It’s never going to be quite the same as shooting film but it’s very flexible and the results are excellent. I still like to shoot B&W film as well as process my own.

  1. Dear Robin, great shot and use of Nik. I personally like more dramatic and contrasty B&W images, especially after having read your, Dramatic Black & White Photography Using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2,

    Out of interest how much is the entrance fee? I know that it is still free on Lord Mayor’s day

    1. Thank you very much. I think the day ticket is £17 if you buy it in advance online. You can turn up and pay on the day but I think it’s more expensive. If you buy online you get to dodge the queue at the entrance. I’m not sure if you can still get in free on Lord Mayor’s day but you can get a free tour once your inside (as we did). You can also convert your ticket to a free annual pass without any additional cost. If I can get down to London again before August 2020 I will be going back. The view from the top of the Dome across London is amazing.

  2. Lovely image. I guess architectural interpretations are one of my favourite subjects, seeking out, ‘seeing’ the shapes and light within these structures. And i see you used the 18-135 which allows me to thank you. I recently reacted to your real world review of this lens and I made the decision to buy an A+ used copy which I then took to China on a 17 day tour with only my 10-24 to go wider. Hmm. Well, in about 1200 images I think I used the 18-135 98% of the time. It did a superb job and confirmed that as a travel lens it ticks more boxes overall. But on my next trip to London and any architectural shots I’m not sure I’d dare leave home without the 10-24 as well…

    1. Great to hear that the 18-135 worked well for you in China. I didn’t take my 10-24 to London because I didn’t intend to do a lot of photography. I just wanted a small shoulder bag with a camera and lens. St Paul’s was the one place where I said to my wife I wish I had the 10-24 lens with me. That said, I know that most of the compositions favoured using the 18-135. It’s an excellent and very practical lens. I think it comes in for criticism from “theoretical” photographers who prefer to discuss equipment than take photos.

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