PEOPLE 316 – YOUNG GIRL (MONO)

 

 


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One of our friends’ daughters; growing up very fast now. 

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click upon that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 3200 ISO; centre-weighted metering; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Warm Tone Paper preset and adding a moderate coffee tone.
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STILL LIFE 194 – A GOOD FRIEND 3 (MONO)

 

 


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Another look at this very friendly creature, who is living out her life with our friends.

There are earlier images of her here and here .

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it further.

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 1600 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Antique Portrait preset; Bristol; 26 Aug 2017.
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STILL LIFE 193 – TABLE IN A CAFE (MONO)

 

 


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A little while back, we went up to the café at the Priddy Good Farm Shop, on the top of the Mendip Hills, for a first rate Full English Breakfast.  I’d taken along the Fujifilm X-T1 camera and 10-24 wide angle lens specifically to photograph the food – and the resulting picture is here.

This café is a little extension with large windows on two sides that has been built onto the farm and, while waiting for the food to arrive, I walked around with the camera looking at anything and everything.  Next to us was a long wooden table with chairs along both sides and, set beside both sets of windows, it was well lit.  Long and slim, it receded from me.  I put the zoom onto its widest setting (15mm full-frame equivalent), looked down at the table, and raised the camera.  The farmer came in and said “You’re photographing the table.”, which put everything neatly into context, and I started gently squeezing the trigger.

I don’t often think about such things, but I suppose it was always going to be a black and white shot, with the receding lines of the table and the wonderful grain, knots and plate/glass marks on its polished top – and also the little group of condiments and sauces in their various containers, just in front of the bright reflection at the table’s end.

But the thing about pointing such a wide angle lens downwards is the distortion it brings, which makes all of the chairs appear to be “relaxing” outwards, which in turn channels more attention down onto the table top.  It could almost be a coffin, flanked by laid back, contemplative mourners and set with some small (and saucy??? – ohhhh! 😉 ) tributes to the deceased.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it further – recommended.

Technique: X-T1 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 15mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Push Process N+3 preset, and adding a light coffee tone; Priddy, on the top of the Mendip Hills, Somerset; 19 Jan 2018.
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TALKING IMAGES 36 – ADDITIONAL PRESETS FOR SILVER EFEX PRO 2: 1

 

 

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I often enthusiastically extol the virtues of plug-in software called Silver Efex Pro 2 (SEP2), which I use for the production of nearly all of my black and white images.  This software shipped with a set of image presets, which are extremely useful starting points for the creation of black and white pictures.  However, when Nik Software (the original creator of SEP2) was distributing it years ago, they also gave a web link from which further presets could be downloaded.  This link is no longer working, and my blogging colleague Lynn at bluebrightly has asked if I can pass on these presets’ details – because I often use these other presets in the mono images posted on this blog.

Putting these other presets onto my blog seems the best way to reach a wide audience, and the first batch of these presets is below.  But, before getting onto the nitty gritty, there are various things to mention.

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SEP2’s HISTORY

SEP2 was originally created by Nik Software, who were an offshoot of Nikon.  Nik created a suite of plug-ins of which, to me at least, SEP2 is by far the most useful; Color Efex Pro4 (CEP4) is also very useful.  But then Nik ceased to exist and the set of plug-ins were acquired by Google – who started off by charging for them, but then distributed them free of charge.  Google added to the plug-in set but, to me anyway, SEP2 and CEP4 have always stood head and shoulders above the rest.

Then, still distributing the software gratis, Google announced that it would cease developing it – and I for one started to worry that SEP2 was going to disappear – I’m sure I was not alone in these thoughts.  But then, last year, the software company DxO acquired the plug-ins from Google – and they have now said that they are going to update the plug-in suite in 2018.  Here is the link to look at if you want to keep abreast of any development of this wonderful software: DxO.

Two things bring me much hope here.  First, that (as far as I know) DxO is a very solid and innovative company, with a growing reputation.  And second, that they seem bent on preserving (and maybe developing) Nik’s absolutely brilliant U Point technology which, to me, simply leaves Lightroom’s Graduated and Radial Filters behind –  far, far behind.

I’m adding black and white images to this post which have been produced with SEP2, but I’m not stating which preset was used for each image because (for me, at least) these presets are the starting points for images – I find that I rarely use only the image features that a preset gives but, instead, having selected the preset from the left of the SEP2 screen, I then substantially edit its effects from the vast array of manual adjustments laid out in the panel on the right of the screen.  Clicking onto these images will open larger versions in separate windows – especially for the gull!
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THE SEP2 PRESET DATA

Ok, points are:

  1. Each preset has a name.

  2. I’ll list each preset’s SEP2 settings, which you can then replicate in SEP2 and save as your own custom preset (method given below); I’m only going to list non-default settings, leave all the rest of the settings at their defaults.

  3. Most of these presets will simply be percentages or (on a few cases) numbers or degrees. But SEP2’s interface also has two Tonality Protection sliders that lack numerical values, but which have the words “Shadows” and “Highlights” above the sliders – where necessary, I’ll say which letter in these two words that the relevant slider is under.  This is unclear? – well looking at the small Tonality Protection part of SEP2’s manual adjustments panel (to the right of the image being processed) ought to clarify things.

  4. It can be difficult to use the various sliders to exact values, but in most if not all cases you can click onto the sliders’ value box with you mouse and input the exact value straight into the box.  This is extremely handy.

  5. The headings like “Colour Filter”, “Sensitivity” etc refer to headings in the manual adjustments on the SEP2 interface on the far right of the screen.

  6. Further batches of these presets will be featured in due course.

  7. MOST IMPORTANT!!! >>> any questions, any difficulties >>> just ask, and I’ll do my best to help things along 🙂

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HOW TO SAVE A CUSTOM PRESET IN SEP2

  1. Open an image (preferably a colour image) in whatever application you use the SEP2 plug-in with.

  2. Open SEP2: your image appears in black and white within SEP2.

  3. Make the manual adjustments for whatever preset you want to construct eg Faux Infrared.

  4. Locate the CUSTOM tab of the Preset Library in the panel on the left of SEP2’s interface, and click onto its + button – if you hover your mouse over this button, you will see the message Create a new custom preset based off of the state of the current photo.  Clicking onto this + button opens a small dialogue in which you insert the name of your new preset, eg Faux Infrared.  Click OK, and hey presto! the new preset appears in the custom preset panel and can be used at any time.

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THE FAUX INFRARED PRESET

Colour Filter: Hue 120 degrees; Strength 100%.

Sensitivity: Red -9%; Yellow 20%; Green 100%; Cyan -70%; Blue -75%; Violet 0%.

INFRARED FILM NORMAL

Contrast 25%.

Structure 25%.

Tonality Protection: Shadows slider left of S in Shadows; Highlights slider left of H in Highlights.

Grain/pixel 250.

Sensitivity: Red 45%; Yellow 75%; Green 80%; Cyan -15%; Blue -70%; Violet -40%.

INFRARED FILM SOFT

Brightness 15%.

Contrast 20%.

Structure -85%.

Grain/pixel 130.

Sensitivity Red 45%; Yellow 100%; Green 100%; Cyan -70%; Blue -70%; Violet -40%.

JANICE’S INFRARED PRESET

Structure 33%.

Color Filter 185 degrees, 110%.

Grain/pixel 370.

Sensitivity Red 29%; Yellow 41%; Green 0%; Cyan 0%; Blue 0%; Violet 6%.

Toning 1.

Strength 74%.

Silver hue 33 degrees.

Silver toning 74%.

Balance 41%.

Paper hue 55 degrees.

Paper toning 7%.

STRONG INFRARED HIGH CONTRAST

Brightness 17%.

Contrast 44%.

Structure 9%.

Tonality Protection: Shadows slider under the S of Shadows; Highlights slider = zero, ie on extreme left.

Color Filter: Hue 70 degrees; Strength 117%.

Grain/pixel 328.

Sensitivity: Red 22%; Yellow 100%; Green 13%; Cyan -60%; Blue -59%; Violet -44%.

Vignette off.

Amount -22%.

Circle/Rectangle: Circle.

Size 73%.

Burn Edges: Off.

TOP Strength 9%; size 89%.

RIGHT 0.

STRONG INFRARED LOW CONTRAST

Brightness -22%.

Contrast 37%.

Structure 43%.

Tonality Protection: Shadows slider under last s of Shadows; Highlight slider under s of Highlights.

Color Filter: Hue 120 degrees; Strength 117%.

Grain/pixel: 311.

Sensitivity: Red 22%; Yellow 100%; Green 36%; Cyan -33%; Blue -59%; Violet -44%.

Vignette: off.

Amount -41%.

Circle/Rectangle: Circle.

Size 73%.

Burn Edges: off.

TOP: Strength 9%, Size 89%.

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STILL LIFE 191 – A GOOD FRIEND 2 (MONO)

 

 


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Another picture of this sociable and (usually) gentle being.  I find that talking very quietly to cats engages their attention – they open their eyes and look at you.  And so it was here.

Eye contact, we were looking into one another’s eyes.  Who knows what was in her mind?  Whatever it was, I felt it a privilege – I always feel it a privilege – to be able to interact with another living being, a being from another species, in this way.

Focus is on the right eye and, with the lens’s aperture wide open at f2.8, everything else was left to look after itself in terms of sharpness.

Another image can be found here .

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens; 3200 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Antique Plate II preset and adding a moderate coffee tone.
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PEOPLE 313 – GOING TO WORK 47: APOCALYPSE (MONO)

 

 

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This is obviously not a representation of reality – or, if it is, then maybe you shouldn’t be thinking of Bristol for your holiday this year ….

What’s here?  Well, spot metering for the highlights has produced a low key image, and this effect has been enhanced by further darkening during toned black and white processing.  What was in reality a clear, sunny morning has been converted into something less comfortable – we are conditioned to be afraid of the dark, right?

The huge, backlit double-decker buses, their headlights on, tower above people walking passively – perhaps even hypnotically – towards them, while the Tin Type tone spreads its cold, lifeless glow through the highlights.

The more I look at this picture the more it has an apocalyptic feel.  Just what is this – the End Of Days?  Some appalling human cleansing operation?  Just where are these vast metal and glass machines carrying these people off to?  Have Bristol’s retail emporia finally emptied of merchandise in the run up to Christmas, and are these the Lemming Specials that take shoppers on cold turkey to the nearest precipitous cliffs???  >>> LOL! >>> sheer fantasy! >>> the churnings of an over active mind! >>>  but then that’s what photography – and especially black and white – can do for you.

Earlier images from this series can be found here: 1, 2, 3, 45, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 1213, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 2324, 25, 26, 27, 28,  29, 30,  31,  32, 33  34  35  36 37  38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45  46 .  Each will open in a separate window.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it further – recommended.

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); spot metering; 200 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2,  starting at the Tin Type preset; Broad Quay, central Bristol; 11 Nov 2016.
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PEOPLE 312 – GOING TO WORK 46: CONFRONTATION (MONO)

 

 


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People in the rush hour at Broad Quay.  I cannot now remember whether there was actually any interaction between the man with his back to us and the man on the left – and also the figure whose leg shadows are up at upper right.  But the stance of the man in the foreground – legs set firmly apart, semi-clenched fist hanging loose – does not seem, to me anyway, to be that of someone completely at ease with this meeting of souls.

Earlier images from this series can be found here: 1, 2, 3, 45, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 1213, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 2324, 25, 26, 27, 28,  29, 30,  31,  32, 33  34  35  36 37  38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 .  Each will open in a separate window.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it yet again.

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 200 ISO; spotmetering; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Architectural preset and adding a selenium tone; Broad Quay, central Bristol; 11 Nov 2016.
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ARCHIVE 337 – MAASAI (MONO)

 

 


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Young Maasai men, below the Nguruman Escarpment (the western wall of the rift valley), near Lake Magadi in southern Kenya; March 1979.

We had set up camp for a long weekend and these young men came to see us every day. Both are armed with the long spears used, amongst other things, to ward off or kill lions.

Click onto this image to open a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: OM-1 with 50mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide, rated at 64 ISO; converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro.

UPDATE: as always, I regret not taking more photographs of Kenyan people during my years in that interesting and hospitable country; I treasure those pictures that I do have.  And I am not referring only to traditionally dressed people like these, but really to all people.  However, in those days I was a different photographic animal – primarily a birder (tho taking very few photos of birds), professionally a geologist – and photographing lots of landscapes amongst other things.
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STILL LIFE 188 – MEGALITH 4 (MONO)

 

 


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Amongst the prehistoric ritual stones at Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley south of Bristol.

Other images of these ritual stones are here: 1  2  3 .

More info about this prehistoric site is here .

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it further.

Technique: X-T1 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 15mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Harsh preset and adding a light coffee tone; Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley; 6 Nov 2017.
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PEOPLE 311- GOING TO WORK 45

 

 


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The early bus, and a single passenger, impassive, quite small within the frame, seen through a grimy bus window and surrounded by the steamy, colourful, half-seen world of the city commute.

To me there is something quite formal about this image, almost like a picture of someone in an identity parade – I think these feelings derive from the profile view, the completely conventional sitting pose (there’s something almost military here), the dark clothes, the impassive expression and the conventional haircut – almost Mr Everyman, en route (and maybe on autopilot too) for his workstation.

Earlier images from this series can be found here: 1, 2, 3, 45, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 1213, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 2324, 25, 26, 27, 28,  29, 30,  31,  32, 33  34  35  36 37  38 39 40 41 42 43 44 .  Each will open in a separate window.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it yet again.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 6400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Union Street, central Bristol; 15 Dec 2017.
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