In the process of getting used to Aperture, I’ve found some very useful and unique plugins from Nik Software.
It’s been fun trying them out, especially Color Efex Pro and Silver Efex Pro. Whereas the first one has some truly garish presets (mixed in with some pretty interesting ideas, I must admit), I’m actually surprised about the tastefulness of Silver Efex Pro’s presets. They go a long ways beyond mere black and white film simulation.
For example, I used “Antique Solarization” on the simple meadow detail picture that became the lead of this post. It looks exactly as if one had solarized the negative in a very even way. Who’d have solarized their unique negative in darkroom days? Then you’d have to print it with meticulous control to make it high-key just so. Then you’d have to tone it. Ah, and the border, that would be done with a mask a few centimeters off the paper. I like how the methods are all there and obvious to see for the experienced darkroom practitioner. Their digital equivalents are executed without fault or glitch. The result might look as bit sterile. Perhaps, like a Japanese potter, one should unbalance the perfection with a single stroke of the spatula across the still wet clay.
And perhaps one would be pretentious doing so. Oh well …