Posts Tagged ‘Infra-red’

Blackpool Sept 2011I am off tomorrow to hopefully finalize the venue and shoot locations for the Digital Lith Workshop based in Bridgnorth, Shropshire.

The date for the workshop is the 14-16th Feb 2014.

Would you like to master the secret of making wonderful elusive Digital Lith images from an acknowledged leader in the field?

The Workshop will give you the confidence to make your own digital Lith pictures in any photographic genre.

On the weekend Digital Lith Workshop I will share with you the powerful Lith skills and experience I have built up over the last eight years. The example above mimics a darkroom print made with Agfa Record Rapid paper toned with Selenium.

The outline workshop programme:

Friday evening – arrive late afternoon and have a relaxing dinner.

Saturday – Breakfast,  Photo shoot, lunch, Shoot, break, Tutorial & Demo, Dinner, Print Forum / Critique

Sunday – Breakfast, Photo shoot, lunch, Shoot, Tutorial & Demo. Review of the workshop

I will be putting the full details on my website hopefully by early next week before I go to Spain to do the recci for the FOTO Alpujarras Workshop planned for the 3rd week of April.

“Andy is one of the leading digital monochrome practitioners, and in particular, his pioneering work in developing a digital Lith workflow puts him at the forefront in reproducing the look and feel of this beautiful darkroom process”. Chris Mowthorpe ARPS

If you would like to add your name to the growing list of potential participants for the Digital Lith Workshop please email me now at info@andybeelfrps.co.uk to reserve a place.

The picture above was taken with IR capture and then processed in Lightroom and Silver Efex Pro 2.

Blackpool Sept 2011 originalLeft is the unprocessed original shot straight out of the IR converted camera. I only show this as a typical example of a low contrast IR original.

A big hello to all the new followers of my blog this week.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS 2013


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Gt Yarmouth Boating LakeIf you’re an existing Nik Software customer you can now get the whole Nik Collection for free just by providing your existing Product Key as evidence of purchase. This offer was introduced by Nik’s new owners Google.

To purchase the whole collection at current rates would cost $149 approximately £100 pounds. When I purchased Silver Efex Pro 2 it was around £150 on its own, so this is an extremely good offer.

The Nik Collection consists of

Color Efex Pro 4, Silver Efex Pro 2, Viveza 2, Sharpener Pro 3, Dfine 2, and HDR Efex Pro.

If you have lost or mislaid your original product key it can be found in the Nik browser in the top right hand corner by clicking on the Nik logo.

You will need to contact Nik through the Contact Page on their website.

I will be demonstrating how to use all tools in Silver Efex Pro 2 in Seminars for Calumet Photographic in September and November 2013. See the Calumet Seminars website for dates in Bristol and Birmingham.


The picture above – North Road Boating Lake in Great Yarmouth was taken while I was working with a client on a one to one training session. I offer one to one tuition with photographers who want to learn, grow and flourish. See my website (address below) for the details of my one to one tuition.

This picture above was created with Silver Efex Pro 2 from an original infrared capture. This small JPEG file doesn’t really give the sense of depth to the picture I created by adding Structure, Clarity and Sharpening the foreground and removing it in the sky and background. So if you can make this picture large as possible get the full effect.

A big hello to all the new followers of my little blog this week.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS 2013


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Outpost - IcelandI am pleased to announce “The simple secret of becoming a first-class photographer” course. This one-day course will be held at Calumet Photographic in Bristol on Saturday 22nd June 2013 commencing at 10.30

Half of the places have been booked already before I could advertise it on my blog so book your place now to avoid disappointment. For full details of the course please look at my website on the workshops and seminars page at www.andybeelfrps.co.uk/Workshops%20-%20Seminars

The picture above is called “Outpost” taken in Iceland on Infrared capture.
A big hello to all the new followers of my little blog this week.
(c) Andy Beel FRPS 2013

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Bexhill ExplorerPlease look at the picture fullsize against a grey background.

I have just bought Dragon 12 voice recogition software which is actually working brilliantly.

I installed it this evening and as you can see I am dictating to you by a microphone headset. So if you are dyslexic like me and have great difficulty with typing, you might find Dragon 12 really helpful.

Hopefully the days of unrecognised missing words and mixed up sentences are gone forever. Alleluia.
A big hello to all the new followers of my little blog this week.

(C) Andy Beel 2013


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Lunch Stop MyvatnPlease look at the picture full size against a grey background.

I have been thinking about how the ideas for a potential photography project are formed in the mind.

The following is a jumbled list of how the creative process works in my mind. It may not be correct or complete but it’s where I am at with my understanding of the creative process.

Probably the first thing to say is – photography is not about photography, it is about life in all its wonderful diversity. So look to engage with the world.

And secondly to quote John Barry (Composer) – the worst thing you can do is, fall in love with the first idea you have.

Notice the word “process”, ideas do not spring to life in a creative vacuum. You need to allow time and effort if you want to achieve your highest potential. Who or what inspires you to make photographs?

I could start thinking about my project at the beginning, middle or the end. Lots of people start in the middle of the process and end up at the beginning in a very circuitous route. I try to start at the end of the project and plan the stages in small manageable chunks. This means you may want to think about and write down your objectives. This is where most projects of any kind go a miss because the objectives where not fully detailed, described and understood.

So I would start by deciding when the project has been completed – what needs to have happened. It may be that you plan to take a set of photographs that are exhibited in a certain exhibition, or the end may less tangible like the project raised your self-esteem and self-confidence and allowed you to diversify in other creative directions. You need to decide what success looks like for you.

Now you can think about potential ideas for your project the who, what why, when etc. May be start a scrapbook of ideas for those things that interest you, that you find significant and have something to say photographically about. At this stage it will just be a jumble of unconnected fragments of ideas. After say a months of collecting scraps of ideas, start to think about the relationships between the things that fill your scrapbook.What combination of ideas found in your scrapbook has the greatest potential to meet your objectives? At this stage it still may just be a fog with no strong crux of an idea leaping out at you, that’s fine and normal.

The next stage in the creative process is to do nothing for a while – let the subconscious mind take over it will provide a solution at some point in the future when you are least expecting it.

The next step in the process is to think about the idea that your subconscious mind created and fine tune it again to relate back to your objectives.

The last stage is to test your idea in a safe environment with friends who will tell constructively if you have the answer or not.

With thanks to James Webb Young and others.

In the picture above this strange arrangement of buildings were in the middle of no where as most places are in Iceland. Surprisingly there was an open empty cafe there which sold hot chocolate I seem to remember. This supply of vitals was just what was required as it was extremely cold outside.

A big hello to all the new followers of my little blog the week.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS 2012


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Please look at the picture full size on a grey background.

I was thinking the other day about favourite lens apertures I use.

My perception was that I use the following apertures: the lens wide open a lot, somewhere in the middle around f8/11 occasionally and f22 rarely.

With new technology meta-data is saved about each picture. I used the Library Module in Lightroom to filter for all apertures used on the 21,000 pictures I have on an external hard drive. The results were interesting.

f1.2 – f2.8 1500 pictures, f4.0 2000, f5.6 2100, f8 3600, f11 4100, f16 1150, f22 1600.

The truth is that I used small aperture over a four-year much more than large ones.

My perception and reality were different. I like the look of wide apertures because it concentrates and focus the viewer’s attention to the dominant feature of the picture.

Take the picture above of dying flowers in graveyard in South Wales. It was taken with a 35mm f2 lens on a smaller sensor body in infra-red. The effective focal length was 55mm (35mm x 1.6 sensor crop factor= 56mm). The aperture used was f4.0 which nicely separates the foreground and background. Also the curving arrangement of the out focus grave stones in the back ground are appealing to me.

The split toning is gold highlights and sepia shadows. In the days of the darkroom gold toner produced a beautiful duck egg blue. This effect was produced in Lightroom.

A big hello to all the new followers of my little blog this week.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS 2012


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Please look at the picture full size against a grey background.

One the great strengths of Infra-red photography is a situation like this in north Wales where you have grasses that reflect IR  very well in a landscape with other features that do not reflect IR light as well as the grasses.

The infra-red effect can easily be overdone on a sunny day in a woodland. This picture was taken on a rainy day in April this year.

A big hello to all the new followers of my little blog this week.
(c) Andy Beel FRPS 2012


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Please look at the picture full size against a grey background.

As a sometime landscape photographer I really struggled to see a picture in the Ogwen Valley. Heresy I know but it happens.

Of the genres of photography I find landscape really difficult.

I am rereading a book by Alain Briot called “Mastering Landscape Photography” The Luminous Landscape Essays.

See www.luminous-landscape.com/index.shtml

In the introduction to the book he makes a very good point that we have all heard many times before but I fail to practice in the field.

In your mind’s eye imagine a framed exhibition quality print before you raise the camera to your eye.

The seeing process is a complex subject which he and I agree on

- you see something

- you see a photo opportunity. (At this point I quite often ask myself will I print it? if the answer is no ….)

- see a photograph that you have made (and not just taken) as a framed exhibition print. The pre-visualisation is the connection between taking and the making of a photograph. It is the planning ahead of the Post-processing stage for successful communication.

Depending on the subject matter, there may not be the time to ponder these types of question in the field.

As a sods law tale – I can remember seeing the picture – a Postman carrying a sack of mail off the of boat in a moody background of Lundy Island. By the time I had switched my pre-historic Dslr on and it was ready, the picture had gone. Aah the one that got away.

Another top tip – leave your camera switched on – it will reboot its self from a sleep mode much quicker than turning it on.

A big hello to all the new followers of my little blog this week.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS 2012


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Please look at the picture full size against the grey background.

Slate Quarry Barracks – Wales.

You might dislike your place of work but it can not compare to the living and working conditions of the men who worked in absolutely dire and dangerous conditions of the 19th Century.

Be grateful to the men and women who campaigned and fought for better working conditions.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS 2012


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Please look at the picture full size against a grey background.

I was doing my usual trawl through various posts looking for examples of good B&W photography to comment on and I came across a picture of a flag and was instantly reminded of this IR shot taken about six months ago.

See Marks picture of the Aussie flag at http://markelliottphotographer.com/2012/07/03/sydney-2/

This picture is named after a very old Ry Cooder song called “Rally round the flag boys”. Being an IR capture I think the colour of the flag must have been red – hence no detail. The picture went through Silver Efex Pro 2 for the grain and Lr3 for the split toning.

A big hello to all the new followers of my little blog this week.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS 2012


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Please look at the pictures full size against a grey background.

I am reliably informed the scene in the background is Harlech Point in North Wales.

The pictures were taken from Port Meirion.

This pair of shots are unusual for me as they are reasonably similar but the second one below was taken in Infrared.

I think the main differences are the tonality of the hills and clouds in the background. I think on balance I prefer the IR shot because the lighter background hills attract the eye and therefore add depth.

Note when using a wide-angle lens there is a strong feature in the foreground.

A big hello to all the new followers of my little blog.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS 2012


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Please look at the picture full size on a grey background.

I was chatting with a friend about Lr4 and the myth that halos had been eradicated.

So I thought other people might like to be aware of all the controls that can provide an unwanted halos at an edge with greatly differing tonal values. This is largely a problem for black & white users of Lr. Colour photographers generally do not require the same high contrast as the senior service.

The over enthusiastic use of the following controls can give halos

  • Clarity
  • Colour mix
  • Over sharpening
  • Adjustment Brush Auto mask
  • Plugins – Silver Efex Pro 2
  • A combination of all of theme

So these are the places to look and retrace your steps.

The picture above “Deserted Farm Wales” IR capture, Gold and Sepia split toning.

A big hello to all the new followers of my little blog.

(C) Andy Beel FRPS


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Please look at the picture full size on a grey background.

An early evening stroll in Biarritz, south-west France.

Infrared Capture with usual wide-angle lens.

I did do a crop with the guy on the left, left out (below) but in the end felt that he needed to be there for balance and tension.

As I have said before for me, pictures work best when there are elements of dominance, balance and tension.

Tension can be provided when the eye is forced to look at or return to areas of brightness.

It’s funny that I had planned this post to be essentially about Negative Space ie the lack of highlights in the second picture on the left hand side.

On reflection these are two completely different pictures telling different stories, the second one being far more abstract and surreal.

A big hello to all the new followers of my little blog.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS


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Just another example of my style of split toning Sepia in the Shadows and Gold  in the Highlights.

Sepia is giving the Chocolate shadows and the Gold (Gold toner in the dark room gave a fugitive duck egg blue) in the Highlights. Note the lack of deep saturation for both tones, the shadow tones is about 25% of the density of the highlights.

This picture started out life as an IR capture a few years ago in Stourhead Gardens Wiltshire.

A big hello to all the new followers of my little blog.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS 2012


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Please look at the picture full size.

It’s said if you are embarking on a long-term or difficult project (especially where photographic distinctions are involved) it is wise to choose a subject that is not on another continent, is easily and cheaply available to re-photograph as the work develops.

I have lived in my current house since 1985, an unknown neighbour of mine has a Pigeon Loft. He exercises the birds everyday at around 5.10pm in the summer. I must have seen a dozen Pigeons flying around in ever greater circles but have not really taken any notice for years.

I noticed them again last week lit by a low evening sun against a very dark thunderous sky and I thought that’s a photo opportunity if ever I saw one.

I decided I wanted to do the birds with the longest possible shutter speed in Infrared. So used my 70-200mm lens on a converted 20D body. The shutter speed at 100 ISO and f32 was around a quarter of a second against a blue sky.

For me the interest is not birds but the shapes, patterns and shadows they randomly create as the they move and the camera is panned. The IR especially against a blue sky will help to simplify the picture, because blue being an opposite colour to red will automatically be darkened in the picture making process.

As you can imagine Pigeons never fly exactly the same circuit twice at a rapid rate of Knots and hence this is a very hit and miss affair. I am glad the nice man at Kodak invented digital photography in 1975 as this would be a very expensive pursuit with film.

So to return to my opening gambit my next long-term project is not on another continent as it has been in the past but just through my darkroom door to the garden.

Wether or not I will be able to keep it up longer than John Blakemore who photographed Tulips for nine years I don’t know.

Does anybody know of a personal project longer than Mr Blakemore’s Tulips?

A big hello to all the new followers of my little blog.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS 2012


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Pont Y Pandy Slate Mill is somewhere that I had been wanting to photograph but I had no idea where it was apart from in Snowdonia. I had seen pictures of in the National Trust Magazine taken from a similar angle to mine.

I have had the idea of doing a talk on digital Infrared photography for a while but thought that I did not have enough pictures. So I have been using my infrared converted body more recently.

I love the other worldly nature and look of IR photography. This picture uses another of my favourite techniques – a wide-angle lens from a low viewpoint. Why are the vast majority of pictures taken from 5′ 6″ from the ground? In this case I used a 10-22mm Canon EF-s Lens, which in the real world of 35mm terms is 16-35mm.

When will camera manufactures stop trying to confuse us with focal lengths of lenses that require a conversion factor due to size of the sensor? There would no confusion if all focal lengths were described in 35mm terms. And will I am on my hobby-horse, why can’t the size of sensors be described in millimetres and not parts of an inch? Who can work that one out?

Black and white photography is all about contrast. IR is good for putting contrast in to cloudy skies and green foliage or any thing else that reflects Infrared light. It’s a challenge to get good contrast in slate slag that does not reflect infrared light.

A big hello to all the new followers of my little blog.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS 2012


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Click on the picture and see it full size to get the full impact and point.
“Photography is still a very new medium and everything must be tried and dared”.
Bill Brandt
Whatever your particular preference is in photography there are new ways of seeing and doing.
“Man can not discover new oceans unless he has the courage to leave sight of the shore”.
Andre Gide
Why not try something new today?
What is this picture “Brandt homage 3″ about to you?
Superficially to me it’s about shapes rather than textures as the key ingredient of the picture.
On a more meaningful level it could be alternatively titled “Workshop No 4 – Closed”
This picture was taken in Saltaire – Yorkshire 100 yds from Brandt’s very famous picture of the wet cobbled ramp. I can’t put a copy of the picture on my blog as I don’t have a copyright reproduction licence. Just Google Bill Brandt for around 500,000 web pages.
Technical stuff – Infrared capture, 16 mm Wide-angle lens on a very dull Tuesday lunch time whilst running a black and white photography masterclass.
A big hello to all the new followers of my little blog.
(c) Andy Beel FRPS

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The best place to take pictures is where you are, the best camera to use is the one you have with you.

That might sound a little fatuous but the grass or the light won’t necessarily be greener 1000 miles away, you get my drift? It’s so easy to think great pictures are only made with ultra-expensive equipment on the other side of the world. I am just as guilty of familiarity breeding contempt as anyone.

A few wise words

The more one looks,
the more one sees.
And the more one sees,
the better one knows where to look.
Tielhard de Chardin

It has been queried why a person with few observational and abstraction skills to make a significant visual design will suddenly gain them after travelling a long way from home, if they did not already have them before they left home.

This picture “Wooscoombe Wood Lane” is a 15 minute bicycle ride from home. It combines Infrared capture with Selenium and Gold Toning on a foggy day.

Being a photographer is about understanding the light and conditions and how to use them to your advantage.

A big hello to all the new followers of my little blog, be brave and leave a comment or two. It won’t hurt I promise, you might even enjoy it.

(C) Andy Beel FRPS


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I have a book that contains a section on digital Lith printing. Over a three page spread the author happily tells the reader with great joy that digital Lith printing is easy – seven times!. No names, no pack drill this author is well-known, I know him and we do meet occasionally.

I found the assurance that everything is easy, very annoying and frustrating. I have been trying get digital Lith right for a round four years so to be told at the start it is all easy was irritating to say the least. Hopefully I am getting there now?

In the book there is an example of a Selenium and Gold toned darkroom Lith print that gives beautifully soft duck egg blue highlights and gritty dark brown shadows. A good reason to do this effect digitally with water based pigmented inks is Selenium Toner is toxic and Gold Toner is very expensive.

This picture of an apple orchard somewhere near Montacute in Somerset (England) started out life as an f185 pinhole capture on my Infrared body at 3200 ISO. I was using a tripod so why did I use 3200 ISO?

I went through the usually Lith process in Photoshop and SFX Pro2 but toned the picture as stated rather than the more usual warm highlights and cool gritty shadows.

A big hello to all the new followers of my little blog.

(C) Andy Beel FRPS


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Just to keep my Blog topical and up to date here is a snap taken last week in Worthing called Shelter Man – Worthing. This is IR capture processed in Silver Efex Pro 2 via Lightroom and Photoshop. The 1600 ASA Film grain and Gold toning was done in SXPro 2. Its called gold toning because darkroom gold toner turned prints a fugitive blue.

I unfortunately reformatted the CF card before importing this folder of pictures in to Lightroom which was not wise. The pictures were recovered as JPG’s not raw files with free software called Photo Recovery.

See www.snapfiles.com/get/mjmphotorecovery.html

It’s a very slow process, the software will find about 6 nr 8mp files per hour, so I left it to do its stuff over night.

Tuesday 10th Jan I will be judging my first camera club Black & White Print and DPI competition at Devizes Camera Club. I have been selecting national exhibitions for a while but I have not offered to judge club competitions before.  So wish me luck.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS


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A Sunday morning picture taken at around 10.30am.

Yesterday I had the choice of going to a photography meeting and getting bored or going and taking a few snaps in the freezing cold. You should be able to guess which choice I made!

This is a straight infrared capture with a 35mm lens cropped square and Lith processed in Lightroom 3.

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while now will know that I am constantly saying why should your interpretation of a scene mimic reality?

You are a creative individual – use your creativity.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS

Sign up for an irregular Newsletter at  www.andybeelfrps.co.uk/newsletter

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Not much to say about this picture of the art deco de la Warre Pavilion in Bexhill On Sea.

The perfect part was getting strong sunlight and a blue sky on the right day at the right time. I wanted the picture to have the warm feel of summer days in the 1930′s when this Pavilion was built. Dull and overcast skies would not have helped. The sky is a major influence in a black and white picture.

This picture recommends its self to me because my memory of the day will be getting up at 8am having a leisurely breakfast of Muesli and Toast washed down with a cup or two English Breakfast Tea with good friends. The height of the mid-December sun was just perfect at 10am when I snapped this. None of the vulgar 5am starts for me!

If you haven’t guessed the process yet the soft glow effect was done in camera with a Lensbaby wide open recording only the Infrared light. The strong graphic diagonal shape of the building appeals to me in this composition.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS


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Positive steps in to work?

What did Richard Avedon say “My camera is always accurate but not truthful.”

This guy is sheltering from the rain that does not feature much in this picture as it was taken with a Lensbaby with an IR converted body. If you open the picture his walking frame will be very evident.

Processed in Light 3 as a lith Print. I have printed this as a straight and Lith print (see below), I prefer the Lith version.

If you were wondering what an IR pictures looks like straight from the camera (see below) its this, very low in contrast.

IR tends to need to be over exposed in the camera by at leat one stop.

Don’t be fooled in to thinking that a photograph has to mimic reality (which Pianist am I quoting here?)

(c) Andy Beel FRPS


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In a few days time I am going to stay with friends in Sussex with a plan to go to Dungeness in Kent if the weather is right. Anything but sunny please, light rain would be great. It’s that type of place, grotty and run down. There are rumours that the area is being cleaned up so I want to take a few snaps before another photographers paradise is lost to the march sanitized corporate blandness. With any luck a second nuclear power station will be built there.

This IR shot was taken on the way to Dungeness the last time I went a few years ago.  It was taken at f16 ISO 3200 for the noise. The file was just sitting there on my external hard drive waiting to be selected and be worked on. I think what attracted me to the picture is the calm and peaceful farm in the foreground and the ineffective and expensive Wind Farm in the background.

Pinhole and Infrared, just a free idea that someone might like to play with.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS



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Sorry Will, I always get stuck for titles and headlines. I will forego the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune thankyou very much.

I have just spent a happy hour making a blurry picture of Blackpool Tower. This print ticks a lot of boxes for me at least.

Just to run through briefly the techniques used. Camera converted to Infrared light capture only. Lens – Lensbaby single plastic lens, no aperture. 100 ISO.

Post production in Lightroom 3 Copy the file first so you keep the original safe, remove the small amount of Noise (I want Film Grain not Noise there is a huge difference).

Export to Photoshop. Copy the background layer and create it as a smart layer (So I can change my mind if I want to later).

Open Silver Efex Pro 2 on the smart layer – Add TMZ Film 3200 ISO Film grain to the midtones and shadows. Save.

(I could have opened Silver Efex Pro 2 in Lightroom 3 but it is non reversible with no history.  This means if I want to change my mind for anything done in Silver Efex Pro I have to start again, not very helpful).

Export back to Lightroom. Custom curves to give low contrast highlights and high contrast shadows, add split toning, darken the edges, lighten the building and clock tower on the RHS.

The version you are looking at was exported from Lightroom as a Jpeg file 800px on the long side at 72ppi. The 72 ppi is important as it speeds up downloading web pages from WordPress significantly. If everybody used this standard then life would be a little less tedious waiting pages to open :).

The print opposite is a straight non lith version of the same file for the purpose of demonstrating highlight and shadow contrast differences with a Lith print.

Thanks for dropping by my little blog all you nice people with great taste out there in the blogosphere.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS    www.andybeelfrps.co.uk/newsletter

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