Experimenting with foliage

Tim Tucker

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I agree with Gary on this. The first has a subtle potential and by far the best (of an excellent bunch). It's good to see that you're thinking of the B&W output, but think of the image in colour and visualise how the luminosity changes when you filter out certain wavelengths. Going for punch and contrast may give it 'pop' that satisfies the casual glance, but print it on the wall and stare at it for a number of days and you will see beyond the casual glance and subtlety is the key.
For instance there are some plainer leaves in the near centre, new leaves, greener? So how would a yellow filter (darken blues, green more luminous) look? Think of the whole scale of tones available and how you scale these in your finished image more than pushing your contrast towards the edges and speaking in the same dark/light across the whole image. If I were to offer an analogy I would say that you're using the letters a-f and t-z to define your contrast. But if you used a-n and m-z you could introduce a lot more tonal variation across the image and still keep the contrast between light and dark constant across the image. Things are not absolute!

Here's your image again, but this time with my edit on the right. There is a very distinct and abrupt transition, my edit on the right has far more grey tones and gentler gradation. And my question to you is can you see the join? I assure you that there is a very abrupt join, but if you cannot see the difference is there really any change? Now look at the image from side to side, which is brighter? Which side has deeper black? Which side has more depth? And which side has more contrast? Things are not absolute.

ex-1.jpg


EDIT: To make it a little clearer consider an egg lit from 90 degrees, (so there's no limb effect). Now reduce it to the extremes of contrast so it's either black or white. Now you have an oval that's half black and half white. What happens to the 3D effect? The image is completely flattened.
Now consider how do you make part of the white area look brighter and the dark area look deeper black? You can't because you've used the maximum scale already. But if I use a grey scale I not only keep the 3D effect but a small area of pure white stands out as brighter and a small area of deeper black stands out as darker.
 
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jcdeboever

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I agree with Gary on this. The first has a subtle potential and by far the best (of an excellent bunch). It's good to see that you're thinking of the B&W output, but think of the image in colour and visualise how the luminosity changes when you filter out certain wavelengths. Going for punch and contrast may give it 'pop' that satisfies the casual glance, but print it on the wall and stare at it for a number of days and you will see beyond the casual glance and subtlety is the key.
For instance there are some plainer leaves in the near centre, new leaves, greener? So how would a yellow filter (darken blues, green more luminous) look? Think of the whole scale of tones available and how you scale these in your finished image more than pushing your contrast towards the edges and speaking in the same dark/light across the whole image. If I were to offer an analogy I would say that you're using the letters a-f and t-z to define your contrast. But if you used a-n and m-z you could introduce a lot more tonal variation across the image and still keep the contrast between light and dark constant across the image. Things are not absolute!

Here's your image again, but this time with my edit on the right. There is a very distinct and abrupt transition, my edit on the right has far more grey tones and gentler gradation. And my question to you is can you see the join? I assure you that there is a very abrupt join, but if you cannot see the difference is there really any change? Now look at the image from side to side, which is brighter? Which side has deeper black? Which side has more depth? And which side has more contrast? Things are not absolute.

View attachment 126335

EDIT: To make it a little clearer consider an egg lit from 90 degrees, (so there's no limb effect). Now reduce it to the extremes of contrast so it's either black or white. Now you have an oval that's half black and half white. What happens to the 3D effect? The image is completely flattened.
Now consider how do you make part of the white area look brighter and the dark area look deeper black? You can't because you've used the maximum scale already. But if I use a grey scale I not only keep the 3D effect but a small area of pure white stands out as brighter and a small area of deeper black stands out as darker.
To be honest, I kind of made the variable darkness on purpose. I thought it made the image a little more interesting but I am not opposed to looking at it again when by a PC. I know it bends rules a little more.
 
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jcdeboever

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I agree with Gary on this. The first has a subtle potential and by far the best (of an excellent bunch). It's good to see that you're thinking of the B&W output, but think of the image in colour and visualise how the luminosity changes when you filter out certain wavelengths. Going for punch and contrast may give it 'pop' that satisfies the casual glance, but print it on the wall and stare at it for a number of days and you will see beyond the casual glance and subtlety is the key.
For instance there are some plainer leaves in the near centre, new leaves, greener? So how would a yellow filter (darken blues, green more luminous) look? Think of the whole scale of tones available and how you scale these in your finished image more than pushing your contrast towards the edges and speaking in the same dark/light across the whole image. If I were to offer an analogy I would say that you're using the letters a-f and t-z to define your contrast. But if you used a-n and m-z you could introduce a lot more tonal variation across the image and still keep the contrast between light and dark constant across the image. Things are not absolute!

Here's your image again, but this time with my edit on the right. There is a very distinct and abrupt transition, my edit on the right has far more grey tones and gentler gradation. And my question to you is can you see the join? I assure you that there is a very abrupt join, but if you cannot see the difference is there really any change? Now look at the image from side to side, which is brighter? Which side has deeper black? Which side has more depth? And which side has more contrast? Things are not absolute.

View attachment 126335

EDIT: To make it a little clearer consider an egg lit from 90 degrees, (so there's no limb effect). Now reduce it to the extremes of contrast so it's either black or white. Now you have an oval that's half black and half white. What happens to the 3D effect? The image is completely flattened.
Now consider how do you make part of the white area look brighter and the dark area look deeper black? You can't because you've used the maximum scale already. But if I use a grey scale I not only keep the 3D effect but a small area of pure white stands out as brighter and a small area of deeper black stands out as darker.
So I figured out today how to convert to gray scale, thanks for that. I just move the color sliders and open a tone curve window in Gimp. A little more to work with after converting to gray scale I see.
 
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jcdeboever

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Too much in my face. There's something about those two that just make me feel a bit claustrophobic.

IMO, you are pretty critical of others posts if they are different. I get you may not like them and all. But some people may view your same olde bird pics as flat out boring. However, I know you post the occasional non bird photo but you are known for bird. I trust that when I look at your 50th post (in the month) of a egret, hawk, or whatever, people do not question your image. Your images are good, OK?

I may be mistaken, but since I have been on here... As an example, when have you taken time to help an up and coming great artist like @ZombiesniperJr ? Not a great example because he has a super father that is guiding him. Again, I have may missed your guidance but that is not the point. You once, tried to help me but you clearly did not have a grasp on the concept of coaching. I respect you and admire your images but with a little effort (not that you have the time, I understand) you could guide sense your such an expert.
 

Tim Tucker

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So I figured out today how to convert to gray scale, thanks for that. I just move the color sliders and open a tone curve window in Gimp. A little more to work with after converting to gray scale I see.

Absolutely. Here's a shot of no artistic merit purely to show the visual difference between two methods of converting to B&W.

On the left I took what is probably the 'normal' method. Opened in camera raw, lifted highlights, dropped shadows, corrected contrast, added a little clarity and checked the greyscale box.

On the right I did nothing in camera raw other than default first stage sharpening. I opened the image in Photoshop, added a Selective Colour adjustment layer in which I adjusted the luminosities and balance of the colour, added a B&W adjustment layer where I fine tuned the luminosities of the colours. I then added a touch of contrast with a curves layer.

One was done by adjusting global luminosity, the other by adjusting the luminosities of separate colours.

ex-1.jpg


It is not that one is more correct than the other, and I shall pass no comment on the differences. I'm just trying to demonstrate the amount of fine control you have by adjusting the luminosities of colours.
 

bulldurham

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Too much in my face. There's something about those two that just make me feel a bit claustrophobic.

IMO, you are pretty critical of others posts if they are different. I get you may not like them and all. But some people may view your same olde bird pics as flat out boring. However, I know you post the occasional non bird photo but you are known for bird. I trust that when I look at your 50th post (in the month) of a egret, hawk, or whatever, people do not question your image. Your images are good, OK?

I may be mistaken, but since I have been on here... As an example, when have you taken time to help an up and coming great artist like @ZombiesniperJr ? Not a great example because he has a super father that is guiding him. Again, I have may missed your guidance but that is not the point. You once, tried to help me but you clearly did not have a grasp on the concept of coaching. I respect you and admire your images but with a little effort (not that you have the time, I understand) you could guide sense your such an expert.

An opinion as to what I like or do not like shouldn't be construed as a critique. A critique to me is when you get into detail about what pleases or displeases you such as Tim's notations on the first image. I did note the images were too large for my liking and they made me feel claustrophobic, but I did not say they were stupid, or badly processed or anything negative about the images and did note I liked the first one.

My concept of coaching comes with 20 years of teaching 75 high school kids a day the art of photography (the first ten years of that was strictly film work and even when we got into digital, they still had to master film, first). Generally, I had just about enough time to look at the work, assign a grade and get on with the next project, but in the program I taught, AICE Advanced International Certificate of Education through Cambridge University, I maintained a 17 year, 92% pass rate so I must have been doing something correctly. Here's my thing. I think most of us should self-critique far more often and take what others say more as an afterthought than as some holy grail of infinite knowledge. There are people on here who have a great deal of knowledge and insight and in some instances they pass it on. I taught my students how to critique themselves (honestly) and each other so they could be independent thinkers and doers. If you would prefer I did not comment on your work, I shall endeavor not to do so.

As to mentoring others, I have done quite a few though mostly via PM. It's a tricky business because so many folks are thin-skinned and take critiques personally which is never the way a critique should be taken. Me, I just get over it and go about the business of posting 50 more bird shots :)
 

bulldurham

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"It is not that one is more correct than the other, and I shall pass no comment on the differences. I'm just trying to demonstrate the amount of fine control you have by adjusting the luminosity of colours."

You can also exact quite a bit of control using mid-tone luminosity masks. it's generally much quicker and easier. Often, when making a conversion, I will add a B&W adjustment later, immediately change the blend mode to Luminosity so I can still see how I am affecting the color values. I flick back and forth between luminosity and "normal" to check the tonal balance. When I am satisfied, I use Normal to make the conversion how I want it. From there, I generally will do a mid-tone correction and lastly, I use NIK's (it's free) Silver Efex Pro2 for my final B&W adjustments, add control points etc.
 

Tim Tucker

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"It is not that one is more correct than the other, and I shall pass no comment on the differences. I'm just trying to demonstrate the amount of fine control you have by adjusting the luminosity of colours."

You can also exact quite a bit of control using mid-tone luminosity masks. it's generally much quicker and easier. Often, when making a conversion, I will add a B&W adjustment later, immediately change the blend mode to Luminosity so I can still see how I am affecting the color values. I flick back and forth between luminosity and "normal" to check the tonal balance. When I am satisfied, I use Normal to make the conversion how I want it. From there, I generally will do a mid-tone correction and lastly, I use NIK's (it's free) Silver Efex Pro2 for my final B&W adjustments, add control points etc.

Ahh... But that wasn't the point of the exercise. The point was to show that there are different approaches that produce different results and understanding what's possible along with how to achieve it will help your visualisation. I think that many photographers see luminosity as contrast in brightness only and not as a property of colour. Colour can also be bright or dark, something you can change by the use of colour filters in film photography, and it changes the visual nature of the greyscale in your image. I deliberately restricted my approach on each side, rather than use a hybrid approach, to demonstrate you can produce different visual results.
I use a combination of many techniques, and am always experimenting (and forgetting!) The biggest problem I find is that by locking yourself into one method to achieve a result you invariably use it to produce one similar output. You will cease to produce anything different.
As to what's easier, you haven't used the Selective Colour adjustment layer much then. ;)
 

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Oh, but I have. I find that almost every time I do an edit, I try different approaches to achieve the same end. Sometimes it works and sometimes I end up in a box canyon, but always I learn something. You say potato, I say Patatoe.
 

bulldurham

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What you do in B&W can also be applied in a color image with equally interesting outcomes;

As it came out of the camera with some minor ACR adjustments:

deer as shot.jpg


Selective Color Only

deer 2.jpg


Selective Color and a B&W Adjustment layer, Blend Mode to Luminosity

deer 1.jpg
 

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