You can see the original capture using the Olympus onboard Live ND filter in the OM-D E-M1X here. During my editing process, I thought that the image would be better served displayed in black and white.

Nik filters

I’ve been a fan of Nik filters since their inception. I paid mucho dinero when the software was introduced, and watched when the price dropped. Nik was bought by Google and offered for a huge discount and then given away for free. The caveat was that Google would no longer support the filters. There was cheering for the free, followed by gnashing of teeth, as people that Nik would no longer be used.

Final image converted to black and white.

Enter DxO, which bought Nik from Google and released updated versions with full support. Yahoo! I had been holding back updating my operating system for my computer so I could keep the software active. There was no need to anymore.

Nik Silver Efex Pro2 interface. On the left are “what you see is what you get” presets. On the right individual controls. In the middle is a split view of before after changes.

Silver Efex Pro 2

Silver Efex Pro 2 is, and has been, my favorite black and white conversion plug-in. It is a powerful black and white converter as well as a creative toning and art tool. (I even have been known to use it as a creative sharpening tool. But, that’s a post for another day.)

All of the Nik tools are straightforward and powerful with a “what you see is what you get” system.

Processing the image

I’ve included the Adobe Photoshop Layers palette. When activating the Silver Efex Pro 2 plug-in (which DxO provided me with for review), it will output a new Layer in Photoshop. This particular image needed one setting for the creek. Another Layer was needed for the trees.

I processed the file two times, outputting two separate Layers, then used a Mask to blend them together.

Layers palette for conversion to black and white. Note two Silver Efex Layers and sharpening Layer.

Additional processing

In addition to the Nik Layers, I did some selective sharpening, dodging and burning to finish out the image. Note that those extra steps can help keep and move a viewers eye through your photo.

Yours in creative (processing) photography, Bob