I use Aperture3 for my post processing work and usually shoot Raw+JPEG. I was glad of the RAW file on this one - boosting the exposure and contrast brought an immediate improvement. The image is brighter and with much better definition. Now it rather defies the dull day on which it was shot.
But when I framed the shot at the end of an early Spring afternoon at RHS Wisley, I was imagining it in black and white. Aperture 3 has some B&W tools, so I did a quick, standard conversion with medium contrast to see if it might work - but again I was underwhelmed with the result. Time to roll out the secret weapon - the Nik Software suite.
First I ran the image through Viveza, a delightfully easy plug-in, tweaking brightness, a tad more contrast and pulling in some selective structure on the seed heads. From there to Silver Efex, a stunning little black and white plug-in with a massive choice of preset options. Its rare for me not to find one of these providing a great starting point. In this case, the "Wet Rocks" preset was most pleasing:
A little light tweaking to structure, and adding a very slight 'coffee' tonal change almost completed the job. I thought there was one final change needed - the crop. But after listing the picture & publishing an early version of this post and discussing it on www.facebook.com/sonningcreatives, I decided it would benefit from a flip. So... the (current?) final version is below! Do let me know what you think - and I'd love to hear what you think of the changes - what works, what doesn't for you?
The finished image is available here:
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