Exploring and Building Presets In Topaz B&W Effects and NIK Analog Pro Plugins

Larry Burchett's 1941 Ford Build #1
Larry Burchett’s 1941 Ford Build #1

Click on the image to enlarge it in a new window.

I decided to do some exploring of combining plugins from NIK Software and Topaz Labs using these images of a stunning 1941 Ford Pickup that I discovered while shooting at the 2014 NSRA Street Rod Nationals. The NSRA Street Rod Nationals come here to Louisville the first weekend in August each year. I usually shoot as many cars as I can each year and this year was no exception. I am always amazed by the imagination, creativity and craftsmanship that the street rod crowd exhibits.

This year I joined several fellow photographers for an evening photo walk near the main entrance to the Kentucky Exposition Center. While going around the parking lot at one of the restaurants there I came across this 1941 Ford Pickup. While I was photographing the hood and grill details the builder of the truck came up to chat. His name is Larry Burchett and he owns B Rod or Custom in Knoxville, TN. He gave me his card and a little background on the vehicle. I went home that evening and while processing the images I shot that evening I decided to call him and ask him to allow me to shoot it again in a better setting. The images from the restaurant were interesting but they had reflections of a late model truck on the sides of the pickup and I thought I could get some nice shots in another setting.

Larry agreed to meet me late Saturday at Papa John’s Stadium where we could have the cabooses that people use for pre-game parties as a backdrop. I had been experimenting with an 8mm Sigma Fisheye lens during the weekend and I wanted to shoot this truck with it again. I also used my Nikkor 18-55 mm lens and my 12-24 mm Nikkor for this shoot.

Today as I processed the images I decided to experiment with using Topaz and NIK plugins after creating HDR images from each bracket set. I shoot a three frame bracket set nearly all the time because I really want the option of creating HDR images. By doing so I also have a Normal Exposure frame that I can quickly process as a jpeg if the need for quick turnaround presents itself such as for immediate publication.

Larry Burchett's 1941 Ford Pickup Build #2
Larry Burchett’s 1941 Ford Pickup Build #2

Click on the image to enlarge it in a new window.

For the first two images in this post I followed my usual HDR processing using NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 to merge my bracketed set of -2, 0 and +2 RV Exposures using the Balanced Preset with Accentuated Detail and Deep Drama sliders. I then took the image into NIK Analog Efex and used Classic Camera 7 as my starting point there. I boosted Detail 16%, Contrast 37% and Saturation 41% and them added one of the Scratches presets at 77%. I then set the Vignette to Rectangular, Film Type to Subtle OZE #3. I also created my own preset from these settings which I applied to other images in this post.

Larry Burchett's 1941 Ford Pickup Build #3
Larry Burchett’s 1941 Ford Pickup Build #3

Click on the image to enlarge it in a new window.

For the B&W above I used Topaz B & W Effects to create a cool toned image and applied a soft border to the final result. In this image I used my standard HDR processing as the first step before applying the Topaz B&W Effects.

Larry Burchett's 1941 Ford Pickup Build #4
Larry Burchett’s 1941 Ford Pickup Build #4

Click on the image to enlarge it in a new window.

For the image above I started with three bracketed 8mm Sigma Fisheye images that I first merged in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2. I then took the merged image into Photoshop CS5 where I applied lens correction and cropped the resulting image. I then took that image into Topaz B & W Effects where I used the Palladium presets to build my own preset. I dropped the transparency by approximately 50% which allowed some of the underlying colors to show through without being too intense.

Larry Burchett's 1941 Ford Pickup Build #5
Larry Burchett’s 1941 Ford Pickup Build #5

Click on the image to enlarge it in a new window.

For this version I went back to my NIK Analog Pro preset and made a few changes to the Scratches preset based on the way it looked on my iMac screen.

Larry Burchett's 1941 Ford Pickup Build #6
Larry Burchett’s 1941 Ford Pickup Build #6

Click on the image to enlarge it in a new window.

In this version I applied my Topaz B&W Effects preset and further reduced the opacity to allow more saturated color to appear.

Larry Burchett's 1941 Ford Pickup Build #7
Larry Burchett’s 1941 Ford Pickup Build #7

Click on the image to enlarge it in a new window.

The image above is my basic HDR image processing that I used for the basis of all the images in this post.

Larry Burchett's 1941 Ford Pickup Build #8
Larry Burchett’s 1941 Ford Pickup Build #8

Click on the image to enlarge it in a new window.

The image above started as a HDR that was created in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 using the Balanced Preset with the Detail slider set to Accentuated and the Drama slider set to Deep. After returning the merged file to Aperture 3 for some refinement of the color channels. I added sharpening and saved the file.

Larry Burchett's 1941 Ford Pickup Build #9
Larry Burchett’s 1941 Ford Pickup Build #9

Click on the image to enlarge it in a new window.

The image above started out as a HDR that was created in NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 using the Balanced Preset with the Detail slider set to Accentuated and the Drama slider set to Deep. After returning the merged file to Aperture 3 for some refinement I opted to use NIK Vivesa to make this version.

8 thoughts on “Exploring and Building Presets In Topaz B&W Effects and NIK Analog Pro Plugins

    1. Thanks Ellen I’m pleased to hear that. I realize they are a departure from my usual work. I wanted to create something fresh from this year’s NSRA event.

  1. Greasy results
    Pic 7&8 are my favorite
    Have not done anything myself since 2002
    The last good guys was summer nationals in Indianapolis 1998
    Great work

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.