Four Trees: SFX and You

Silent film pioneer Mack Sennett once famously said that “a rock is a rock is a rock” when talking about why he was shooting his fledgling comedies in the village of Edendale, California now part of Echo Park. In an upcoming issue of Shutterbug, I feature the website of Kim Malco, who likes to make “Tree Portraits.” Well, it just so happens that I like to photograph trees too and here’s a look—on  SFX Day— at four versions of the same tree starting with this unmanipulated image. The original photograph was captured at Bryce Canyon using a Pentax K100D SLR with  an exposure of 1/500 sec at f/8.0 and ISO 400.

Color Efex Pro filters are available in three collections including Standard, Select and the Complete Editions. Some of the Photoshop-compatible plug-ins that are found in Nik Color Efex contains artistic effects, sometimes producing surprising results. Each filter adapts its effect based on the detail structures, colors, and contrast range of a particular image. By identifying the unique qualities of the image that’s being processed, each one can be applied with the same settings across a wide range of images. Nik Color Efex Pro filters also adapt to any previous filter adjustment or any other change made to the image to provide natural color or light enhancements. This feature is important since applying filters in a different order will provide you with more control as well as more options for photographic enhancements.

I expected the Paper Toner filter (found in the Select and Complete Editions) to create effects similar to Photoshop’s Photocopy but I was surprised to see that instead it created soft monochrome images that looked more like platinum prints than copies. This filter is supposed to emulates the different types of chemical toners used in traditional darkrooms. When used on an image containing color, Paper Toner automatically converts that photograph into black and white before applying one of the different toners.

The Pastel filter (at left) transforms the original into a subdued, desaturated, and softened image. Sliders let you control the detail, saturation, and contrast of the original image and while the effect may be different from that which might be created with traditional art pastels, I like it anyway.

Younger readers may not be familiar with the term “Pop Art” but Google’s software designers obviously are. It’s included in both Select and Complete Editions and creates abstract color patterns and detail in an image, transforming the details into colorful patterns based on the structure of the original subjects. It’s wacky, colorful, and very Jerry Garcia—I love it.

Author: Joe Farace

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