The Black and White Treatment.

Life is very busy at the moment – lots of distractions – and I am having difficulty keeping focus on progressing my photography. Often at times like this I go over my older stuff with the intent of giving the old stuff a make over – edit them in a different way to produce something new; I quite like messing around in Photoshop and Lightroom so this quite suits me, although some might say that I should just get out and take some different photographs but somehow with everything else (life) going on it is not always that simple. I am off to Normandy in a few weeks and I have great plans for that trip so watch this space. In the meantime I have been going over my old (2011) Northumberland photos and thought that I would share with you some that I have converted to Monochrome (mostly black and white but I do like the toned effect too) within the Photoshop plug-in Nik Silver Efex pro. I really like these – I wouldn’t be showing you otherwise – and they have had lots of positive feedback when I have posted them on 500px, Pinterest, Facebook, Fine Art America and Photo4Me, so I hope that you like them too.

Lobster pots stacked on the quayside.

Lobster pots stacked on the quayside.

Abstract river flow - water taking on a milky form through long exposure.

Abstract river flow – water taking on a milky form through long exposure.

Statue of Field Marshall Viscount Hugh Gough, K.P., GCB, GCSI, PC, who fought many campaigns oversees, now situated at Chillingham Castle, Northumberland.

Statue of Field Marshall Viscount Hugh Gough, K.P., GCB, GCSI, PC, who fought many campaigns oversees, now situated at Chillingham Castle, Northumberland.

Statue of Field Marshall Viscount Hugh Gough, K.P., GCB, GCSI, PC, who fought many campaigns oversees, now situated at Chillingham Castle, Northumberland.

Statue of Field Marshall Viscount Hugh Gough, K.P., GCB, GCSI, PC, who fought many campaigns oversees, now situated at Chillingham Castle, Northumberland.

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Warkworth Castle, Northumberland.

I love Northumberland and will go back there to capture its natural beauty again but converting to black and white or toning the images give the images a different dimension based on tone and contrast, light and shade rather than colour which changes how we view them.

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Portraits – Nicole.

Image

I had the opportunity to photograph my friend and her lovely family. Part of the brief was to get some nice photographs of my friends daughter Nicole who was going to University to study a Drama based degree, the details of which escape me at the moment. Recently, I had the opportunity to look at these photographs again and have a “Play” with them in Portrait Professional and Photoshop. Portrait Professional is software for retouching portraits – removing wrinkles, dealing with skin blemishes and so on. You would guess right if you thought that Nicole wouldn’t need any of that, but I have used it to “Brighten” her eyes and a few other small adjustments for artistic effect. PhotoShop was only used for sharpening – all digital photos put through a RAW converter need sharpening – cameras that convert straight to Jpeg do the sharpening “in camera”. I also used PhotoShop for resizing to web size.聽Nicole 001 Mother & Daughter. Nicole 003

I usually use a filter called “High pass” then levels for sharpening, using “Unsharp mask” only if the first stage doesn’t work sufficiently, which is rare. You have a choice of light including “soft light” – my favourite for this sort of assignment, “Hard light”, “Vivid light” and a few others – the above photograph has had the benefit of “Vivid light” however, I had already made it quite contrasty in Portrait Professional. I wanted “Striking”.Nicole 002 Nicole 004

Old Photographs scanned from slides.

I used to love slide film – I really got into the differences in colour properties between Fuji Velvia @ iso 50 and聽Astia with it’s more neutral colours (Velvia gave warm sumptuous colours. Now I am all Digital – if I want those differences, I have to play around in Photoshop) – and what of all my slides?

Early on I bought myself a film scanner (or two) – a flatbed scanner with a backlight for big slides and I later bought a dedicated film scanner. Now, many years after I “went digital” I am still scanning slides when I get the time. Here are a few of them:-

Glencoe on 6 x 6 cm