Having been called a purist snob in regards to both photography and flyfishing (and not caring a hoot about that label), this post is a bit challenging to write.  I’ve also been told I must like crow because I eat a lot of it. I’d say the latter is very accurate. I do eat a lot of crow.

As much as I’d like to claim I never manipulate my photos, that would be a bald-faced lie. I do. Furthermore even when I shot only Black & White film and developed it in the darkroom, I altered the process; different chemicals, rinses, times, tools used to burn and dodge. Man! those were the days.

This penchant has grown with every new Photoshop tool I discover.  I’ll likely never be one for a great deal of manipulation, mainly because let’s face it, I’m unlikely to ever acquire the skills.  Last winter after a 40 hour Photoshop course with Doug Henderson (7 Tips From a Photography Pro), I became LESS of a Photoshop hack. It’s sort of the same as giving a compliment by saying something “doesn’t suck.”

I discovered Nik Software’s Silver Efex sometime ago. It’s become my digital darkroom work-horse. And I’ve yet to find anything about it to criticize (highly unusual).  I wanted to test another of their products, Color Efex Pro, so I downloaded the 15 day free trial and put it through the paces.

I’ve loved this sign since photographing it on a road trip to Kansas. I’ve not done anything with it – until I downloaded Color Efex Pro. See Jane run.

Leo the Cowboy

SOOC - straight out of the camera. For the most part.

Leo the Cowboy sunshine copy

Sunshine filter

Leo the Cowboy film effects Kodachrome64 copy

Kodachrome 64 filter

Leo the Cowboy old photo #2 copy

Old Photo filter

Leo the Cowboy old photo

Old Photo filter

Leo the Cowboy polaroid transfer copy

Polaroid Transfer filter

Leo the Cowboy Detail Styler copy

Detail Styler filter

Leo the Cowboy Solarization copy

Solarization filter

Leo the Cowboy Tonal Contrast w High Pass copy

Tonal Contrast with High Pass filter

I used the Tonal Contrast with High Pass filter on the Serva-teria photo on the post: 13 Reasons for a Road Trip.

Leo the Cowboy Polarized copy

Polarize filter

The software is offered in 3 versions – standard, select, and complete and ranges in price from $99 to $299. After testing it, my advice is to buy the complete version for $299 – it’s the best value and will lend a degree of creative latitude and flexibility you can’t get elsewhere.

And I hope none of these are mislabeled. My trial version ran out before I had time to double check the filter names. Regardless, you get the picture.