Guimarães Castle, Portugal

One of the things I love about digital photography is you have so many options regarding the finished photograph.  When I was shooting film, I had to use specific films for specific results.  With digital, you can shoot as a color photograph and, if you don’t like the result, use a photo editing application to modify the photo to your liking.

For instance, when we visited Portugal, I took hundreds of photographs. Many of them were “okay,” but after playing with them a bit I got something that I could live with.  Here’s a photo of Guimarães Castle, the “Birthplace of Portugal,” so named because this is where Afonso Henriques, the first king of Portugal, was born.

Guimaraes Castle

The original color photograph was fairly monochromatic, with the main colors being the greyish-brown of the granite and the grey-blue of the clouds.  It wasn’t much to look at, but I thought it might make a nice black-and-white photo.  I used Paint Shop Pro 2019 and Silver Efex Pro 2, one of the Nik Collection suite of plugins, to modify the photo.

If you’re not familiar with the Nik Collection, it’s a great set of seven plugins that allow you to use the included presets or, if you are a bit more adventurous, to play with individual settings to modify your photos in a variety of ways.  In 2016 Google, the owner of the Nik Collection, began giving the suite away for free.   In 2017 DxO purchased the Nik Collection from Google.  It’s no longer free, but the $69 price tag is still a bargain.

So, back to the photograph.  After playing with some of the presets, I finally settled on something I liked much better than the original color version.  The darkened sky adds drama to the previously bland photo and the grain of the stones stands out much better in black and white.  In the days of shooting film, this would have never seen the light of day.  With digital it’s a photo I can live with.

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