Ouseburn, Acros and …

… other things.

Like Seaton Sluice, Ouseburn doesn’t sound too attractive, something underfoot which should be avoided.  It turns out that names can be deceptive, Ouseburn is quite pleasant despite its mucky industrial past and living in the shadows of three viaducts which span the valley.

A brief period of snow after Christmas has been followed by leaden skies and persistent rain, not the best start to the year.  Après la neige, le déluge.  Nevertheless, on Wednesday afternoon we got lucky and a walk from the Side in Newcastle to the Ouseburn Valley was lit by a bright winter sun, splintered by the Tyne Bridge.

In the dull days before this Newcastle outing, I had spent many happy hours fiddling with the settings on the Fuji X100F. I am mostly a RAW man but I remain addicted to the jpeg film simulations available on Fuji X cameras and so shoot both.  When it comes to colour, I am mostly convinced by the argument that RAW records all of the data from the sensor and allows you to decide exactly how the final image should look.  However, when it comes to black and white I am not at all sure I can get anywhere near the simulations that Fuji provide in camera.  This is particularly true of ACROS as explained at fujifilm-x.com:

Other manufacturers are also implementing the idea of creating “graininess” to enhance image texture. FUJIFILM is not the only brand doing this. You can find “Grain” filter in readily available photo processing software, and many monochrome photographers add “grain” to achieve the monochrome film like effect.

Most of them try to achieve this by adding “grain-like element” to the original image. They simply add another layer of “dotted graininess” on top without changing the original photo composition. So something becomes unnatural in the process.  “ACROS” is different.

We developed it from the core of the image file to achieve a very complex and natural like grain expression. Optimal and different grain expressions are added to highlight and low light areas. You would not find unnatural dotted graininess in the highlight areas just like how the monochrome film behaves. In the low light area, you would see the graininess just as it would appear with monochrome film. There is undulating grain within the picture. And it adds depth like no other.

ACROS also changes the output of graininess depending on the sensitivity setting. As the sensitivity gets higher, stronger grain effect becomes visible, just like film.

We also think that it is very unlikely that any RAW conversion software would achieve what “ACROS” achieves. We all know that there are excellent RAW conversion software in the market, but we also believe that the magic of X-Processor Pro is not so easily solved.

These are the results with only minor tweaks in Photoshop – simulation is ACROS with a yellow filter, noise reduction at -1, highlight tone at -2 and sharpness at +2:

Newcastle Quayside from Lombard Street

The Newcastle Arms, directly beneath the Tyne Bridge

Newcastle Quayside – Tyne-Tees Steam Shipping Co. Ltd. All that remains is the DFDS ferry to Amsterdam.

The Toffee Factory and the Tyne Tees Steam Shipping Company – Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle.

Tyne-Tees Steam Shipping Company – Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle.

We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do – Mother Teresa.

Boats at the mouth of the Ouseburn.

Mustang ‘S’ally, American Diner, Ouseburn.

The Ship Inn, Ouseburn.

Of course, I see what I want to see and I am not sure the subtleties of ACROS grain are particularly evident in these images.  So, to finish off, here is a portrait of my middle son, Matt, being subjected to the ACROS treatment.

Happy New Year, one and all.

Matt being given the Fujifilm ACROS treatment.


  1. J.D. Riso · January 7, 2018

    You deserve a commission from the ACROS grain people at Fuji. 😉 Love the beautiful, subtle vintage effect. Your son is a handsome young man. Happy 2018, in spite of the rain. We have it in Anjou right now, too.

    • northumbrianlight · January 7, 2018

      Thanks Julie – I used to spend hours in the darkroom trying to get somewhere near this quality/tonal range and now microchips do it automatically at the press of a button – what a remarkable world we live in.

  2. sustainabilitea · January 7, 2018

    Lovely shots, Robin, even though I have no idea about RAW and all that. (You can see I’m a long way from being a real photographer, but I can enjoy excellent photos when I see them.) 🙂 The shot of your son makes me smile and I hope you have better weather soon. Here we’re finally above zero Fahrenheit, which is real progress.


    • northumbrianlight · January 7, 2018

      I am just a technology geek – doesn’t necessarily make my photography any better. Your images are great, maybe better for not getting tied up in all those camera settings.
      We have been sub-zero again all day but better that than rain.
      Matt makes me smile too but probably for different reasons 😉
      All the best, R

  3. restlessjo · January 7, 2018

    I was trying to think where Ouseburn is, Robin! Really doesn’t matter because the photos reveal all and are wonderfully atmospheric. 🙂 🙂

    • northumbrianlight · January 8, 2018

      Hi Jo – walk about a half mile east from the Newcastle bank of the quayside amd you reach the mouth of the Ouseburn as it enters the Tyne – then turn left up to the town. It’s the third one in the list here: http://www.walkinginnorthumberland.co.uk/newcastle.php – marked as a Gateshead walk but only because it starts on the south side of the river. The really interesting discovery was the Victoria Tunnel – I must go to that!

      • restlessjo · January 8, 2018

        A useful website thanks, Robin. 🙂 I’ve been watching a TV series Walks around Britain and there was a brilliant one down at Flamborough Head. Will start nagging the poor beknighted husband when we get back from the Algarve in March. I’m on the countdown again. 🙂

  4. Cara Lockhart Smith · January 20, 2018

    I really like walking in Ouseburn, my favourite part of Newcastle, though live quite a way away now, so thank you for bringing some of the place back to me. I shall return….!

    • northumbrianlight · January 21, 2018

      A pleasure, glad you enjoyed the nostalgic trip. I thought it a very interesting place with an almost village-like atmosphere. I am sure we will return – I am keen to visit the Victoria Tunnel.

  5. bewbob · February 27, 2018

    Nice pictures- makes me feel homesick.

    • northumbrianlight · February 28, 2018

      Many thanks – glad you enjoyed the nostalgic virtual journey. A very fine part of the world – and that from a Mancunian 😉

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