A bit of advise please.

Discussion in 'The Black & White Gallery' started by Grandpa Ron, Sep 25, 2019.

  1. Grandpa Ron

    Grandpa Ron No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have been chasing my tail trying to do a color to black and white conversion.

    I am pretty much an "as shot" person so most of my b&w conversions are simply to desaturate and a few minor curve tweaks to improve the contrast and exposure but this one has me stumped. No pun intended.

    I shot this old tree in color, so my first move was to desaturate. I notice the leaves were too light, almost like snow. So I adjusted the curve to improve the lighter sunlit shades but it still looked too bright. I have tried numerous other attempts including adding color filters to the color print then desaturating. They all looked artificial to me.

    I am working with GIMP and beginning to wonder if I am trying to see in black and white, what is not there. Any suggestions would be welcome.


    Tamerak.jpg Temerack desat.jpg Temerack curve adjusted.jpg




    View attachment 179986 View attachment 179987


     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2019
  2. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Your links are broken
     
  3. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    ... and what App are you using ?
     
  4. Tropicalmemories

    Tropicalmemories No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Can't see the image - but generally desaturation is not the ideal way to convert to monochrome. You can lose the high contrast and subtle tones that's often needed to make a good black and white image.

    Most editing programs have a black and white conversion option, some with options for color filters.

    I generally boost contrast a little before conversion, and choose a color filter that will help to make the subject stand out.

    Anything in the image with a similar color to the filter will appear a little brighter.
     
  5. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    In B&W tonal contrast is everything, a wide or high tonal contrast contains areas with both black or very dark and extreme bright or white, makes for a stronger image. One thing that might be throwing you is that bright colors like greens, reds, blues, yellows, can fool you into seeing color contrast, not tonal differences. If all the elements are only bright colors like red, green, yellow, blue you will end up with an image with only bright tones of grey when you convert, and a rather flat image. Sometimes you can move to get a different viewpoint, so you're shooting a brightly colored subject against a darker background

    These types of scenes are a place where you need to use the histogram. From your image you can see the data shows maxed out data in the highlights, less in the shadows, and almost none in the black.
    upload_2019-9-26_7-33-14.png
    Based on the colors in your image and this histogram, I would have expected your conversion to turn out as it did. Colors convert to different dark or bright grey tones in a black and white. Red, violet, and blue will convert to darker tones, while orange, yellow, and green will convert into rather bright tones. If you keep that in mind when you compose your shot, you'll be ahead of the game on contrast range in post

    Back in the old days of film, it was common to use filters on your lens to make colors appear lighter or darker, to adjust your tonal contrast range. For example using a yellow filter will make blue and violet appear darker, because yellow is opposite on the color wheel.
    upload_2019-9-26_7-45-37.png
    I'm not familiar with how gimp works, but in Lr, it's fairly easy to apply the same effect in the HSL panel adjusting the corresponding sliders.

    Lastly unless you just have to do it, avoiding midday sun is always a good idea, as it tends to create a flat image anyhow.
     
  6. Grandpa Ron

    Grandpa Ron No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Smoke,

    Thanks for the details. As you mentioned, I think this is one those times when the considering the B&W outcome, starts before pushing the shutter.
     
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  7. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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  8. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    And if you're not thrilled with editing anyhow you could always just do it in camera. Most now have a B&W or Monochrome mode.
     
  9. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I've been shooting B&W film for years, and have done B&W digital images too. I've had some accepted into juried exhibits and hanging on a wall (so I figure I must be doing something right...). It often starts before I go out to take photos thinking and noticing how the sun and shadows look; I've sometimes changed my mind on what film I'm going to use before I go out the door (because it's gotten hazy/cloudy, etc.). So yeah, you probably are right you needed to think about it before you released the shutter.

    But I also have been out taking photos with my digital camera and gotten something good that had a lot of nice contrast and decided to do it in B&W. I go into Photoshop and use Remove Color, not the preprogrammed conversion. But that seems to take getting proper exposures, and seeing the light. Maybe that just takes years of experience.

    With the tree photo I see a lot of light and medium tones, and not much dark; the tree trunk and shade is all that would likely be black. Maybe with an adjustment to the exposure, or framing differently to get more of the shade, it could've worked better. You can't put in what isn't there... if there's not much dark or contrast then there's not going to be much variety of grays or much black.
     
  10. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    And I'm lately reading misconceptions about monochrome - that's ONE color, B&W is an absence of color. When I do cyanotypes those are blue and white, that's monochromatic. (And according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it means one color or hue.)
     
  11. Grandpa Ron

    Grandpa Ron No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Coming from the film years, the term Black and White included the sepia and other colors used on the photo paper print.

    With the passage of time and the advent of digital, words like monochrome, ISO, post processing etc. have come into vogue. That is fine, language is always evolving.

    However, for some of us it is still, a gas pedal, an icebox and a stove. Semantics is not one of my strong points. :)
     
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  12. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Hmm, took your image and played with colour sliders (especially blue) and contrast adjustment in LR ... though it does look like an infrared film influence (I miss that type of film).
    <Artifacts due to working with jpeg>

    Tamerak.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2019
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