Earlier this year I had been considering buying Nik just for the Silver Efex Pro 2 editor, but as usual I couldn’t decide if my rework would be that much improved by new toys compared to just learning to use what I already have, and so didn’t go shopping. For some reason, Google rewarded me (and a few others besides) by making the Nik Collection free to download and I’ve since spent a large number of hours just clicking through the presets and seeing what comes up.

And what has come up is a love of the High Structure settings, for both Neutral and ACROS 100 simulated film types when applied to the 850nm infra-red images from my visible+IR converted X100. I can only apologise for what is about to become a very Instagram-like image series, as in common with most new toys, everything gets turned up to 11 when starting out. I’m writing this note for my future self when I look back in a couple of years and wonder what 3-year old attacked my image feed…

The fun doesn’t go away when using non-monochrome source material either: switching between R, Y, O, G and B filters with an appropriate black & white response to the tonalities is almost enough to make me shoot more non-IR. Almost.

For me the most unexpected side-effect of this is discovering that many of my images share a common theme, no matter if they were shot in at home or not, and that’s an obsession with clouds. Nik, and one of the above presets, make clouds pop like I’ve always wanted them to – I hope to be able to contain myself in the near future and dial back the editing, but for now I’m going to edit for clouds, and see how that boring bit of ground in front changes as a result.