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I recently purchased Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro4. I knew that one of the things I wanted to do with it was to create a recipe, to create a modern post processing look with my aviation photography. Turns out, I came up with three, once you get started making recipes in the program, you can’t hardly turn back.

So on to what I came up with. In the end, there were times I wanted the look to be more subtle and other times I wanted to take the saturation completely in the opposite direction. Now, I’ll explain the three different recipes.

BTW, if you want to see these planes in person, go to the Tillamook Air Museum.

This first method was the one I knew I wanted when I started. First in the recipe is the Bleach Bypass filter with the “increase detail” preset selected. Next I apply the Tonal Contrast filter and finally the Detail Extractor. When applying the Tonal Contrast and Detail Extractor I use control points to prevent them from being applied to the background.

In the end, it turned out that I used this one the most often. It is simply Tonal Contrast, followed with Detail Extractor. I then use the Brush funtion to paint the effect only on the aircraft. Sometimes I will paint with different opacities on different parts of the plane, usually at the highes opacity on the engine. I love it when the cooling fins on the cylinders of the big radials are clearly visible.

Grumman J2F-6 Duck of the Tilamook Air Museum (Rick A. Brown/www.moosephoto.com)Finally, there’s this method that usually looks ridiculous on the planes, but occasionally looks really nice. It is intended to be a bit over the top. It starts with Brilliance/Warmth, goes on to Tonal Contrast and finishes off with Detail Extractor. Again I use control points to keep the Tonal Contrast and Detail Extractor off the background.

Can you tell that I like Tonal Contrast and Detail Extractor? These two filters are worth the price of the plugin by themselves. I often use them by themselves as well. Detail Extractor is quite adept at producing an image that allows you to see detail in the shadows and highlights without looking like a heavily post processed image.

If you look in my aviation files, you’ll also see that many of the images have nothing more done to them than Lightroom sliders.