Lake Ullswater, Nik Silver Efex Pro Trial.

Lake Ullswater, Patterdale.

I thought I might do something a little different with my Lake District pictures, so I have decided to have a little side project…an experiment with Nik Silver Efex Pro.  I have a bit of a passion for monochrome images, and the hype about the Nik product has not passed me by.

What had passed me by was that the company do a free 15 day trial, as I think they do with all of their products.

So what better way to display my arsenal of Lake District imagery than by putting them through the Nik software?

There is a slightly more serious, dare I say useful and maybe even informative element to this.

The (long windedly named) Nik Silver Efex Pro is expensive. $200 or £130-ish of the Queens pounds is a lot of money. In fact it is more than twice what I paid for Photoshop Elements.  And Elements has various monochrome functions within it.

In short this program has 15 days to convince me that it is worth the expenditure, over and above what is already included in the Photoshop package I already own.

So my plan is as follows.

Use the program as much as I possibly can and not just with the Lake District images. In short I shall probably be spamming this blog with just about everything I edit through the Nik software. But the aim is to either redo older images that I already have put through Elements or after the 15 days are up re-edit the Lakes pictures via Elements.

Then compare and contrast.

Hopefully that will give me a decent sized collection of pictures, from these (hopefully) I can develop an opinion on whether or not I feel the $200 is justified.

And of course, the acid test…do I purchase it?

Obviously 15 days will essentially only allow me to scratch the surface of Nik Silver (I think I may get bored typing that name out often, I think it will be henceforth be known as Nikky), but we shall see what happens.

Does anybody reading this use Nikky? Anyone have thoughts, opinions or tips and tricks?


Thanks for reading.


11 thoughts on “Lake Ullswater, Nik Silver Efex Pro Trial.

  1. I can see you have found the paper toning option – works well with this image and reminds me of a traditional print. But to answer your question I use Nik SilverEfex. It gives a good natural effect but take care with some of the sliders. Dynamic brightness doesn’t just make everything brighter and is probably preferable to the standard brightness slider. Watch out for the fine structure slider as it will enhance any noise. The grain is quite harsh so if you use it move the softness slider to the left. Hover over the histogram and you will see a zone scale appear. Click on any of the zones to make them appear on the image so you can see if you are losing detail. You can then use the Highlight and shadow protection sliders to reduce the effect to an acceptable level.

    Its a great tool and I could write loads on it. If you want something equally impressive but that works in a different way try Topaz BW Effects. It’s much cheaper and has some nice features. I use both but probably ise Nik more. You might like to try the Lightroom version of the Nik products if you use Lightroom. I purchased the entire set for the price of the standard Silver Efex.

    • Cheers for the information. I’m liking it so far , so much to figure out and so little time to get there.

      The topaz idea is a good one, I might have a look at that next.

      Cheers for the input:)

  2. I’ve been using Silver Efex for just a month or two, but I love it! My favorite filter so far is Fine Art (High Key) (without the frame) — for snowy landscapes. No doubt I’ll find other favorites as the seasons change. Have fun!

  3. Marvellous series of images from Ullswater.

    Silver Efex Pro is great software to work with. Used it for some time now but recently I’ve been using Lightroom 4 for b&w conversion which I’ve been very impressed with. Will continue to use both Silver Efex Pro and Lightroom 4 in the future.

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