Category Archives: Nik Software

Cosmopolitan San Francisco

Cosmopolitan - San Francisco - 2014

Here’s another iPhone 5s image shot from a bench in front of San Francisco’s Pier 3 with my iPhone 5s. Actually, this is three images overlaid on each other.

I selected the three images based on the placement of the people in the frame. I used Photoshop’s auto-align layers feature to get them into alignment and then applied layer masks to isolate the subjects. The monochrome conversion was done using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 along with some dodging and burning to adjust highlights, shadows, and contrast – along with a touch of toning.

The image isn’t perfect – if you look closely, you’ll see a few flaws. It’s one of those 90 percent complete solutions!

The View from Pier 7 in San Francisco

Pier 7 - San Francisco - 2014

The view from Pier 7 in San Francisco looking back at the City is pretty special.

Shot on New Years Day 2014 with my Fujifilm X-E2. Post-processed in Lightroom 5, VSCO Film and Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.

San Miguel Church in Santa Fe

San Miguel Church - Santa Fe - 2014

Here’s a late afternoon view of the San Miguel Church on the Old Santa Fe Trail. This church claims to be the oldest church building in America.

Image taken with my Fujifilm X-T1 and post-processed in Lightroom 5 with VSCO Film and Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2.

Alone along Canyon Road in Sante Fe

Alone - Santa Fe - 2014

Walking along Canyon Road in Santa Fe late in the day last week, I came across this sculpture – reminds me of Jack London.

Shot with my Fujifilm X-T1 and post-processed in Lightroom 5, Photoshop CC and Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.

Candles in the Light

Candles - Santa Fe - 2014

While visiting an import store in Santa Fe, I came across these candles from Indonesia. There was beautiful indirect light coming through the room providing some beautiful contrasts across the shapes of the candles.

Image taken with my Fujifilm X-T1 and post-processed using Lightroom 5, Photoshop CC, ALCE, and Nik Color Efex Pro 4.

Going Ear to Ear along San Francisco’s Market Street

Ear to Ear - San Francisco - 2014

Part of the joy of street photography for me is how unpredictable it can be. You turn, see a good opportunity for a shot and try to capture it – in the decisive moment as they say.

Here’s an example – the shot I composed was waiting for the distant fellow talking on his iPhone to get into a certain spot against that wall – acting as a stage. I was shooting with a telephoto from the curb of Market Street. As I’m waiting, this guy closer up walks right in front of me just as I’m snapping the image.

At first look, I thought the image was a throw away – he’d ruined my shot. Instead, considering it later, I actually like the image – they’re going in opposite directions, the closeup guy provides some sense of depth to the image, etc.

I processed it in a high key style using Lightroom 5 and Nik Silver Efex Pro 2. Shot with my Fujifilm X-E2.

Terminator Salvation and Laffing Sal at San Francisco’s Musée Mécanique

Terminator Salvation - San Francisco - 2014

While wandering around the Fisherman’s Wharf area recently, we came across the Musée Mécanique – an amazing collection of old coin-operated mechanical delights from days gone past. Admission is free, it’s open 365 days/year – but you’ll need to make change and get some quarters to play some of these old timers!

Walking through the place is a trip down memory lane – bringing back memories of San Francisco’s old Playland at the Beach, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, and those east coast seaside towns along the Jersey shore. In my family, the boardwalk at Seaside Heights, NJ was the star attraction back in the 50′s and 60′s.

This is an image taken with my Fujifilm X-E2 and pretty extensively worked in Lightroom and Photoshop to deal with the high contrast nature of the image. I wanted sort of that “gangsta” style – and a final touch in Nik Color Efex Pro 4′s Glamour Glow added the finishing touch.

Below is an image of Laffing Sal – a longtime attraction at San Francisco’s Playland at the Beach. My photo buddy Doug Kaye remarked at how small she seemed – his memories of her from his childhood is that she was “so much bigger”! She looks pretty huge to me in this shot – also taken with my Fujifilm X-E2!

Laughing Sal - San Francisco - 2014

Armored Kneeling Archer – China’s Terracotta Warriors

Armored Kneeling Archer - San Francisco - 2013

Here’s another image from the exhibition of China’s Terracotta Warriors now underway at San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum.

This image required a bit more work. One of the challenges of shooting images of the warriors as they’re displayed is the combination of lighting and reflections – which bring extra “stuff” into the images.

Plus, when we were there, it was really crowded inside the darkened exhibition gallery. Lots of folks moving around – and bumping into each other – a challenging photographic venue for sure!

But the gallery that the Asian Art Museum created for the warriors is really is superb in terms of how the terracotta warriors are placed and, in particular, how they’re lit.

So, to deal with the issues in the image, I did a quick selection in Photoshop to isolate the warrior from extraneous background elements. I then faded those elements into the background while adding some contrast to the warrior.

Then we made a trip into Nik’s Color Efex Pro 4 to do two steps: bring out more detail and add a subtle bit of glamour glow.

Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2 was used for the conversion to monochrome – adding a bit of structure to the midtones and highlights while removing structure from the shadows. A bit of soft contrast adjustment helped with lighting.

A quick pass with Doug Kaye’s Warm Black action helped tone the image just ever so slightly.

For the final sharpening step, I used the Sharpen 2013 action included in the latest version of Dan Margulis’ Picture Postcard Workflow panel in Photoshop.

China’s Terracotta Warriors

Driver - San Francisco - 2013

San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum is currently featuring a beautiful exhibition of China’s Terracotta Warriors.

Here’s an image from a recent visit – of a horse carriage driver. He’s out in the lobby – before you get into one of the three galleries with the other warriors and related sculptures.

This image was shot handheld with my Nikon D600 and post-processed in Photoshop CS6 along with Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2.

A Look Back at Maker Faire SF 2011

Maker - Maker Faire - 2011

A few days ago, I had a request from one of the exhibitors at Maker Faire SF 2011 for copies of the images I shot of her beautifully colored yarns.

While pulling out those images for her, I began to explore the rest of my images from that day – and came across this image of a maker – staring intently. The image seemed like a great candidate for a monochrome conversion – which I did using Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2 along with some other Photoshop CS6 tricks and a quick pass of high pass sharpening.

I just love his look and the “attitude” in this image! Hope you do too – please share your comments below!