The Joys of the Google Nik Collection

Hello all,

My apologies for the lack of blog posts of late. While the beautiful outdoors of New England offer up plenty of opportunities for photography, other happenings and events have kept me from going out and capturing the region during the warmer months. Well, that and the fact that I have also been doing a bit of writing for the film blogs at Creative Salem and TheHDRoom. It is at times like these that one wishes they can be cloned to do everything at once.

One thing that I have been doing to keep “in practice” is taking some older photos and playing with them in the Google Nik Collection photo editing programs. For the same price as Adobe’s excellent Lightroom program, the Google Nik Collection gives you seven editing programs that can give your photos a whole new life. The programs are a lot of fun and while Lightroom is still my “go to” for photo editing software, the Nik Collection acts as a great addition to the editing suite.

SalemBoat

Pickering Wharf, Salem MA Summer 2013

The above photo was modified with the Silver Efex Pro Program. There are 38 different presets to choose from in this particular program, including the Antique Plate preset used for this particular version of the photo. Of course, within each preset is the ability to fine tune the photo for your desired effect.

NH0413-9

The White Mountain Region, North Conway NH April 2013 

This photo of the White Mountains in Northern New Hampshire was tweaked using the “Pinhole” preset in the Silver Efex Pro program. Further editing was done using Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom 5.

dock

Salem Willows, Salem MA September 2013

The above photo of a popular fishing dock located down at the Salem Willows in Salem Massachusetts also went through several programs to achieve the desired effect. The first one was another editing program in the Google Nik Collection, Color Efex Pro 4. This particular program offers a ton of filters to choose from. You can also combine filters and create your own preset if you want. In addition to Color Efex Pro 4, this photo was further modified using Adobe Lightroom 5.

_MG_5786-Edit-Edit-Edit-Edit-2

South Boston, June 2014

This one was a lot of fun. One morning while I was heading to my destination down near the waterfront in South Boston, there was a layer of fog obscuring the tops of buildings. It provided the opportunity to take some odd photos here and there, which perhaps would translate into a surreal snap or two once they went through the Silver Efex Pro 2 (the above images that used Silver Efex Pro were also modified using Pro 2) program. For some reason or another, the construction in these photos reminded me of Pink Floyd’s Animals, which explains the presence of a pig floating in the sky. In fact, the pig in this picture is apparently a pic of the one the group used during their tours in the late 70s and early 80s (and possibly for the album cover).

This photo was modified using two of the Nik Collection programs: Silver Efex Pro 2 and Color Efex Pro 2. Color Efex Pro 2 has a preset (filter? preset?) that allows you to add fog to your picture. While there was actual fog present when I took the photo, a little more was needed to help the pig blend in. Speaking of which, Photoshop was employed to get the pig added and blended into the picture.

Speaking of adding fog to pictures….

NHFOG

White Mountains Region, Fall 2012

BridgeBWKangamangus Highway, Fall 2012

The above two photos were the first two I experimented with in Silver Efex Pro 2 and Color Efex Pro 4. The fog didn’t quite come out as I had hoped but it was certainly a worthwhile learning session.

MoonNahant

Nahant Beach, Summer 2013

The final photo in this post was from Summer of 2013 in Nahant, MA. The overall image is a bit on the dark side and a fair amount of time was spent trying to 1) Bring out the detail in the moon 2) Make the houses on the hill stand out (they were quite dark to begin with) and 3) Highlight detail in the ocean and on the shore.

Going back and playing around with photos is always a great way to keep your editing skills sharp. Using programs such as the Google Nik Collection is also a great way to see your work in a completely new light and perhaps it may steer you in a new direction on what you will shoot and how you will do so.

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