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New Interest in Black and White

10 Mar 2017 12:12PM
In recent times, I have been exploring black & white landscapes. I don't use the method you mention, but instead I mentally visualise the scene in b&w. I can certainly understand how a b&w preview in jpeg would be useful. I'm a beginner at the moment, but I've enjoyed it a lot and I will further explore b&w photography. It requires a different approach and thought process to colour. It's great to try something different, as it can make you think more about it. I expect you will appreciate that a subject that doesn't work in colour could be perfect for b&w and vice versa.

I will upload some of my b&w efforts in the near future. I look forward to see any you have on your profile and future efforts.

Have you tried Nik Silver Efex 2 Pro 2? I have read it's very capable and popular software for b&w. It's also free. I have the software, but I haven't put it use yet!

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arhb 13 3.4k 68 United Kingdom
10 Mar 2017 2:48PM
So my Cokin orange filter (P002) arrived today.
First thing to mention is that it adds 2 stops to the exposure(eg without filter = 1/60 ~ with filter = 1/15).
3 shots below;
1 is Canon camera 'Standard' colour.
2 is Canon camera 'Monochrome'
3 is with Orange filter in 'Monochrome'.

So, the orange filter brightens the shuttered wooden doors and darkens the pale grey/blue walls slightly.
So to confirm, filters do affect the digital jpg(on camera screen) and the resulting RAW file once uploaded to ACR(and I would image, Lightroom.
StrayCat 16 19.1k 3 Canada
10 Mar 2017 7:13PM

Quote:Have you tried Nik Silver Efex 2 Pro 2? I have read it's very capable and popular software for b&w. It's also free. I have the software, but I haven't put it use yet!

Same here. I have it but haven't used it. I also have an earlier version on ON1 effects which has b&w effects. I find LR covers a tonne of ground also. I also have a DxO program that emulates various films. From reading a few articles and looking at some editing programs they recommend, one could get carried away and spend quite a bit of money on software. Probably a good idea to create a few actions that give you what you're looking for and save them.

Looking forward to seeing some of your images.

StrayCat 16 19.1k 3 Canada
10 Mar 2017 7:56PM
Wrong thread.Tongue
MGJ 12 372 6
10 Mar 2017 8:10PM
I just couldn't get on with Nik Efex. I used Pixel Genius, and had a licensing problem, so tried Efex. Nowhere near as good as Pixel Genius - but then PK has to be paid for. Got the licensing problem sorted.

In fact the B&W adjustment layer in PS is about as good as it gets - copied by On1. On1 has very good grain, so does Pixel Genius PK sharpener, (many different versions) and so does the ACR filter in PS.

Portraits - generally a green filter for skin, at least as a first port of call. Or always used to be. There is a lot of green in skin tones.

Actually, one genuinely doesn't need coloured filters any longer. A polariser and NDs, yes. However, IMO, the things most lacking in digital conversions are contrast and grain. Without grain one gets that very plastic conversion usually lacking in bite. And without contrast they often come out as that grungy grey and white. There is that "rule" that says one should have a true black and a true white in there - like all rules it is there to advise the wise and for the blind obedience of fools. However it is a reasonable start
StrayCat 16 19.1k 3 Canada
10 Mar 2017 8:35PM
MGJ 12 372 6
10 Mar 2017 8:52PM
The only thing you need to watch with both sharpening and grain routines - you must view at 100%. One can get into bit of pickle assessing the effect otherwise!!

I don't agree about doing ones retouching before conversion. Yes one will set global exposure and add extra contrast, and apply digital filtration - red, yellow, orange and green equivalent. But in PS one can do what the masters did - use local exposure (dodging and burning) to lead the eye, suppress detail and add statements/importance. Also we can now can add local sharpness and contrast which they couldn't.

For my money, once the conversion is done, the work starts, and in general one will make (a lot) more adjustments to a monochrome image than one does to colour. I have stopped uploading stuff to EPZ, and one might not make the effort for web stuff, but the adjustments are certainly true of fine B&W prints for sale, competition or exhibition. Mostly one can do it all in ACR, but each image is just littered with adjustment brush lollipops, or layers if working in PS.
Jestertheclown 11 8.2k 253 England
10 Mar 2017 10:26PM

Quote:Probably a good idea to create a few actions that give you what you're looking for and save them.

Actions are OK as a starting point, I suppose but I think that that's about it.
I've got a few which I use if I want to bash out a handful of snapshot type images but actions in general are, I find, of limited use for anything else; while they'll work well enough on one image, I invariably have to make further adjustments to subsequent ones. Sufficient adjustments that I might as well have started from scratch.
The same applies to Lightroom presets. Some are OK but I've got dozens of free ones (I'd never pay for them) that I've hardly ever used.
MGJ 12 372 6
11 Mar 2017 3:10PM
I agree Jester.

I do have quite a few actions, but I find them useful only for commands that require multiple button presses - Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E. Or for setting up burn and dodge highlights - the long one where one applies a mask with apply image.(which one then has to actually do)That sort of thing.

Likewise presets. - they seem to produce a sameness. Occasionally one comes across one that is useful, or someone asks for a specific effect.

Mostly one knows what one wants, and its just as easy to do it oneself, and to vary strength and effect as you go.
StrayCat 16 19.1k 3 Canada
11 Mar 2017 6:06PM
I agree also. I have resisted buying any of the highly touted, by themselves mostly, programs that promise amazing results, because upon further investigation much of it can be done rather handily in LR, or a few other older programs I already have.
StrayCat 16 19.1k 3 Canada
11 Mar 2017 6:28PM

A grab in Microsoft FSX and converted in LR and Nik Color efex.
StrayCat 16 19.1k 3 Canada
11 Mar 2017 6:52PM

Converted in Analog Effex
StrayCat 16 19.1k 3 Canada
11 Mar 2017 7:00PM

LR auto B&W
MGJ 12 372 6
11 Mar 2017 7:44PM
Contrast. Contrast Contrast.!!!!! GrinGrinGrin .

I would get my whites white and blacks black. You can afford to exaggerate in B&W. In the dreaded film days one usually printed on hard (high contrast) paper.

Bet in colour they are great, but converted they are grey and grey, not B&W. You don't have to like these examples, but I think they make the point. Contrast and sharpness - these were entered as DPIs in competition, and all did OK. 85119_1489261383.jpg


The oak is an example of not having high contrast.
StrayCat 16 19.1k 3 Canada
11 Mar 2017 7:50PM
I tried high contrast and I don't think it works with the images I posted. They are not photos, they are taken from Microsoft Simulator X and the higher contrast will show jaggies on some images. I'm working on a few photos now of wildlife, see what happens.

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