Back in winter 2013, I visited Bamburgh in Northumberland with a friend. We had both been to the area quite a few times and we had high hopes for our trip. As we made our way down to the beach for what we were sure would be an amazing sunrise, our expectations were sky high. As it turned out, there was some faint colour in the otherwise stormy sky and we found ourselves battered by the wind and rain.
The following day was equally disappointing but for different reasons. We went down to the beach again and readied ourselves for the sunrise. It was already raining hard and the wind was making it very difficult to shoot, even with a sturdy tripod. We sat in the car wondering what to do, waiting for the last moment when, if the sun broke through we would run down and catch the scene.
What happened next was amazing. The sun did break through and lasted only a few minutes, but the sunrise was like nothing I have never seen before. It was as if a weeks’ worth of amazing sunrises were compressed into a few minutes. If I described the scene as nuclear it would not be an understatement. But I’m not going to show the shots from that sunrise. They simply look unreal. The best word I can use to describe the images now is vulgar. Even the unprocessed RAW files look fake.
What I am sharing though is one of the many “failed” images from the first morning. I happened across this image looking for examples to use in my Nik Silver Efex book (I decided the original needs an update).
But here’s the interesting things. There were dozens of great images from that first morning and I had been blind to them. I suspect the disappointment of the trip lingered long in my memory
when it failed to meet expectations. It’s only now when I come to work on the image, having separated myself from the shooting, that I can really see the beauty of the morning.
After a short break in Amsterdam last week, I’m now getting back into the groove of doing some work.
This week’s Friday image is one I shot whilst I was in Amsterdam (what a great city and nice people by the way – I’m definitely going to return for another visit). This shot isn’t what first springs to mind when you think about Amsterdam, but the view really caught my attention.
These stairs were inside the maritime museum. As you walked out onto the landing there were stairs leading down both sides before meeting on the landing of the next floor. As I walked down the stairs I couldn’t help but feel I had stepped into the Relativity drawing by Escher.
Correcting the perspective on this image was a little tricky and I can’t quite get it perfect. I did the conversion to black and white using Nik Silver Efex Pro and tried hard to emphasise the lines of the stairs.
I hope you like the shot and have a great weekend.
If you’re a regular follower of this blog, you will have noticed there wasn’t a Friday Image last week. This is because I was in Amsterdam for a short break with my wife where we also met up with our daughter, her husband and our grandson. We returned on Saturday and I headed over to Spurn Point with a friend on Sunday.
As a lot of readers won’t be familiar with the area I should explain. On the North East coast of the UK we have the large city and port of Hull. If you travel through Hull and out to the end of the Humber Estuary you will come to Spurn Point, which is a tidal sand island. There isn’t much there except a lighthouse, Lifeboat Station and this old water tower.
Our intention had been to shoot some of the sea defences there. The weather had forecast cloudy and we thought it sounded promising. Unfortunately, the forecast was wrong. The sky was clear blue with the exception of a few wispy clouds on the horizon. The sea defences will be worth shooting in the future but not in the conditions we had.
When I spotted this water tower I could immediately see the potential for converting it to mono. What surprised me thought was that the colour version is quite nice.
I also need to admit to something as a few of you will spot this and ask questions. I have bought another Nikon D800. The camera was an absolute bargain; it looks like new and has only a few thousand on the shutter count.
The last time I bought a D800 I hated it and sold it 4 months later. This time, I’m really enjoying it. The difference seems to be the lenses I bought. One of the lenses is a 24-120mm f/4.0 which this image was captured with. With this on the camera, I’m finding it a pleasure to use. It also has VR which allows me to shoot at surprisingly slow shutter speeds. This is never going to be my main camera (I like the Fuji X-T2 too much) but it’s very impressive and the results are excellent.
This week I’m doing something a little different. I’m sharing this image, not because I think it’s great, but because I had to make something out of nothing. If you’re interested, here is the starting image.
The reason for my problem is that I haven’t had much time recently to shoot new work. The weather hasn’t been great but now seems to be improving. I have also been wrapped up in developing and launching a new course (Mastering Photoshop Luminosity Masks); you can watch the first section for free using this link. On top of that, there have been photography club presentations to make, which are great fun but take lots of preparation.
The real reason I wanted to share this though is that I recorded the creation of the image in full. From Lightroom into Photoshop, processing with Nik and then additional dodging and burning in Photoshop. I posted the full video on YouTube.
I will warn you though, it’s about 30 minutes long. If you want to subscribe to the channel, this is the link to use (https://goo.gl/GCZq33).
It’s been a very busy week this past week. My daughter has been over from France with her partner, my grandson and a group of their friends. And they have all been staying with me. If you have emailed me and I haven’t replied, I can only apologise. I will reply as soon as the chaos clears.
Now for the image. I shot this a couple of weeks back on morning trip to the Peak District. I had wanted to shoot the heather but the weather was terrible. In the end, we found ourselves in Padley Gorge, sheltering from the rain under a tree. The weather didn’t look like it was going to lift but I decided to try one final shot.
I knew this spot having shot the tree before. I wandered over to take a look before dashing back with my tripod, camera and a plastic bag over the top to protect my equipment from rain.
I only managed one shot before giving up and the camera got soaked. I really didn’t expect anything from this attempt but looking at the image now I’m really pleased I tried.
Have a great weekend and I hope you enjoy better weather than I did.
I have seen many articles and videos over the years suggesting ways to create infrared simulations using regular colour photographs. Most of these fall short, possibly because the authors don’t appreciate the true characteristics of infrared. One example I read simply suggested using the channel mixer in Photoshop and using it to turn a blue sky black.
The best tool I have seen for simulating the effects of Infrared film a standard colour image is Alien Skin Exposure. This is also one of the tools I turn to when converting my digital infrared images as it allows me to simulate the halation effect often seen with Kodak HIE film. Unfortunately, as great a tool as Exposure is, it’s costly.
So how can we create a simulation using Nik plug-ins? Well, there is an Infrared film simulation in Nik Color Efex Pro but it’s not very convincing and doesn’t produce the halation effect. Nik Silver Efex Pro did once have an optional preset you could download from the Nik website but this has been removed. In any case, the preset wasn’t very believable.
This video features my simple solution based on combining a couple of filters in Nik Color Efex with a monochrome conversion in Silver Efex Pro. It’s quick to do and is quite effective.
[If your reading this as an email you won’t see the video. Please visit the YouTube channel link below to view.]
If you like the video why not subscribe to my You Tube channel and be sure not to miss future videos. Use the link below to access the channel then click the subscribe button in the top right.
This week I would like to share another infrared image. This was captured using an Olympus EM5 which I had converted to shoot Infrared. It was shot in the Lake District at a location called Place Fell and it’s the first time I have been thee. I intend to return in the future as I think there is a lot of material in the right conditions.
I’m not sure why but the day was far better than expected for Infrared. Everything just seemed to be glowing. The EM5 also makes a superb Infrared conversion. The image was then converted to black and white using Nik Silver Efex Pro.
I hope you like the image and have a great weekend.