those really gritty details in b/w digital

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by jplunk, May 17, 2008.

  1. jplunk

    jplunk TPF Noob!

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    ok, i haven't really delved into this yet but i'm chomping at the bit to do this. i just can't get away from those really beautiful shots that you see of those very gritty faces or hands...almost to an abstraction. LOVE IT!!!! i've shot a few things in the past with b/w film and very close, undifussed hard light (one light) and almost got what i was looking for. that was in college and with a canon fully manual, 35mm ef. now i'm using a 5d and a 24-105 with full studio strobes and soft boxes. i feel that i'm getting my gear together enough to go out and really try some of these shots (either in studio or not) and i'm really focusing on learning about the ISO and how this affects my shots. SO, the question is, is there a general rule of thumb to achive a grittier image with such combos as bracketing, ISO's, filters, etc? these are some that i'm referring to:

    http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=5815657
    http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=6194413
    http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=5987670
    http://arthistory.about.com/od/from_exhibitions/ig/Annie-Leibovitz-at-the-DIA/Willie-Nelson.htm

    is this possible with the 5d?
     
  2. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    In a non-technical sense, resolution is a matter of contrast. Add more contrast and you give the appearance of more detail. Remove any filters.
     
  3. jplunk

    jplunk TPF Noob!

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    i love the "remove any filters" part. i'm such a naturalist at heart anyway, it's very resolving to read that. i'm always trying to make things easier in my day to day activities/philosophies. that's very comforting to see it come full circle in my artistic ways without knowing it. wow, you went deep in only three sentences. THANKS!
     
  4. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    this looks very much like the Dragan-effect, which is a post processing process.
     
  5. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    For the shots except for the first, you're right.

    The Dragan Effect makes use of Unsharp Masks in post-processing. This includes the actual Unsharp Mask filter, as well as High Pass layers with the blending mode set to "overlay," which is actually a type of unsharp mask. Both methods, incidentally, will increase contrast.
     
  6. SBlanca

    SBlanca TPF Noob!

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    "those really gritty details in b/w digital"

    where are the b&w? (apart from the last)
     
  7. jplunk

    jplunk TPF Noob!

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    good point. i didn't include those which may be a good spot to talk about that. i'm seeing that some of b/w's that i'm finding have a smoother tonality and a more rounded fill of mid tones. as opposed to some others. obviously these are plentiful which begs the question, how does one (if they do) shoot a b/w (or as we're finding) a color shot and get as much "grittiness" as possible using elements such as ISO, bracketing, etc.?

    oh, here's one that i did find:
    http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=5928835
     
  8. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    It might be tempting to slightly overexpose the shot for increased contrast. That would be a mistake if you're planning to increase it during post using such sharpening techniques.

    Start by shooting at the slowest ISO possible to maximize resolution, with no filter in front of the lens. If you like, you can bracket half a stop under and over exposure. Shoot at the cameras's sharpest aperture, usually a couple stops away from wide open.

    As for post-processing. I find that CS3's b&w conversion tool is fully of unnecessarily complicated options. I tend to use calculations for my conversions, copying the Alpha channels to layers and then layering them. I rarely use actual masks without some specific need. Unsharp masking will introduce a type of grittiness that you may or may not want. With a sharp enough photo of a textured enough subject to begin with and reasonable use of contrast, curves, or levels adjustment layers, you may find the photo is as gritty as you need without having to sharpen. If it isn't, then you can start toying with unsharp masks.

    Hope that helps.
     
  9. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I would say ISO and decreased exposure up to one stop worth. There is inherantly more contrast between higher negative density values than between lower values.
     
  10. jplunk

    jplunk TPF Noob!

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    alpha, chris, thank you both. this does help. i've been in graphic design for some time now and have recently been re-introduced into photography by way of necessity (product shots). but it was almost like a drug when i picked the camera back up after 15 years of not seriously shooting...oh yea, i remember this great feeling! so i'm hooked now and i'm not putting it down and portraits, particularly those very personable, gritty ones are really calling my name. you guys have helped tremendously. thank you!
     
  11. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You're welcome. Welcome back to the dark side.
     

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