The Serenity of the Archipeligos

Swedish Archipelago: Canon 5D : EF 85mm f/1.8 USM : 1/400 sec : f10 

The Swedish archipelagos hold a special place in the heart of many Swedes. Many will visit the lakes and forests every summer, while others have built small homes from which the whole family spend their summer holidays swimming, fishing and exploring. The lakes of the archipelagos also hold excellent photographic potential. They are surrounded by beautiful forests, are uniquely serene and unspoilt and are blessed with incredible light.

Last year, I was lucky enough to spend a week in one of the small archipelagos close to Stockholm. The lake shown here was the archipelago’s centrepiece. Every morning I would go down to the lake, hoping to capture a new aspect of the lake as it was slowly revealed by the early morning light.

On one occasion, I noticed how the Sun’s rays were falling across the lake’s small jetty. Initially, I tried capturing it in colour. However, the black and white treatment shown here somehow provided a more faithful recreation of that particular morning. This was also one of the first black and white shots I have tried processing in Silver Effex Pro 2, having previously exclusively used Photoshop Raw.

Silver Effex Pro definitely opens up new and exciting creative possibilities. It allows more nuanced control over specific areas of the image, has a unique way of applying contrast and highlight and shadow control and uses a ‘structure’ tool, useful when looking to create a ‘fine art’ black and white style for an image. It was used here to enhance the glass-like appearance of the lake.

My first impressions of the software are highly positive. I will be definitely looking to explore its features and functionality for black and white processing going forward.