Back Modifications (7)
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Applecross Trees

By Bigpoolman
A rare venture into B&W. Feedback appreciated.

I liked the way the clouds followed the same path as the branches of the tree,

Tags: Scotland Spring Applecross Landscape and travel

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15 May 2017 11:28PM
I like the Tones in this image. The sky is fantastic and I think I would like to have seen more of it and feel that the branches of the tree obscure some of it. It is good however to seem a Black and White Landscape from you.
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.8k 2408 United Kingdom
16 May 2017 10:01AM
It's an interesting subject, I'm not sure that it works entirely here because of the complexity of the twigs against the patterns in the sky. I think the idea would work better with a cleaner, starker tree, maybe a dead trunk.

Could you upload colour please, as a modification? Assuming that this started off as a colour image, rather than in-camera b&w. It occurs to me that a lighter sky could allow the branches to create a more distinct pattern while retaining the sense of movement of the clouds.
banehawi Plus
16 2.5k 4239 Canada
16 May 2017 12:38PM
In the interim, the image can work, however as it is, its rather dull, consisting mainly of mid tones.

A solid black point and a white point, with a tone curve can make this a lot more edgy, interesting. Mod loaded with this done.

Look forward to your colour version, and this is likely connected to how you converted to mono.


pamelajean Plus
15 1.5k 2218 United Kingdom
16 May 2017 5:30PM
I think it's the way the "clouds follow the path of the branches" that I like about this, Tim.

I offer a modification for your consideration.
Firstly, I mirrored the image so that the tree faces to the right. Because we read from left to right we also look at an image from left to right, and having your subject face to the right often feels more comfortable. Either way can be effective, but suggest different moods, so the choice is sometimes based upon the mood you want to create.

I then added canvas to the right side. Even if I hadn't mirrored the image, I would have suggested more space in front of the tree, in the area into which it is "facing". This general idea applies to animals, insects, flowers and lots of other things. My reasoning is also to have more of the sky and clouds, so that we can appreciate the cloud formation even more. It may be that your original has more space and that you cropped it, so that would enable you to crop differently.

I also brightened the image and increased the contrast.

dark_lord Plus
17 2.8k 769 England
16 May 2017 8:19PM
It's an attractive subject though it's quite fussy, there's a lot of great detai but nothing for the eye to latch on to. Sometimes that works in an abstract image for example, but this is a recognisable subject so Moira's suggestion of a starker subject would work better.

However, well seen that the clouds and branches correspond with each other. Maybe a crop of just the top half of the frame.

As you say it's a venture into mono it would be helpful to upload the colour version and say how you converted to mono. That way we can offer alternative suggestions and conversions.
Even after converting, a contrast tweak is needed in order to avoid a 'muddy' look of just grey tones, as Willie says true black and white points, in order to give the image punch.
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.8k 2408 United Kingdom
17 May 2017 8:13AM
Thanks for adding the colour original. I really like the patterns in the sky so I haven't cropped - I think the original has a better sense of the relationship between the branches and the sky.

I've uploaded a very quick b&w conversion, worked in Nik Silver Efex Pro, which can be downloaded for free from Google. All I did was to darken in the red channel, lighten blue and cyan, add a bit more contrast and brightness, and a slightly darkened vignette. To my eye it seems lighter, airier, while still showing the cloud patterns.See what you think.

Edit: My first b&w has uploaded twice... I've added a second version which I prefer.
banehawi Plus
16 2.5k 4239 Canada
17 May 2017 1:08PM
Original is very "flat", - lacking in contrast. That really would need to be rectified to produce the best mono.

dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1849 England
18 May 2017 6:57PM
I like all the versions, yours and the mods.

Fussy subjects require technical perfection: every twig sharp, perfect exposure. And I think you delivered...

A soft original can be beefed up: an overcontrasty one is hard to rescue.

A good job.
18 May 2017 9:00PM
Thank you all for your comments and suggestions. Sorry for the delay in replying, been out cycling the last couple of days.

Just to re-clarify, the second upload (in colour) was a different image to the first albeit only slightly different in that the sky patterns are not quite the same and its zoomed out further. I did no editing on the colour image so it is rather flat as suggested.

The first image was converted to B&W in Lightroom and was edited as usual for a full tonal range (at least on my histogram it is). I then used Silver Efex for the first time!

Overall I think a bit more of the sky and less of the tree is much better. More contrast also works. Not sure if I prefer the mirrored image or not, but I should have thought about it so thanks for the suggestion.

Ignoring editing deficiencies etc, do any of you have a clear preference as to which original composition you prefer. I appreciate they are not markedly different.

Great suggestions and critique as usual, many thanks

dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1849 England
19 May 2017 4:54PM
I can't say I have a preference, Tim - they are different, iwth appeal in slightly different ways.

Depending on which Nik filters you use, the process can introduce some tonal weakness... And it is fine, of course, to do the whole of the ocnversion using Nik. When I do this, I often check the histogram (and how it looks) afterwards - though I rather like the out-of-camera B/W that my Sony bodies deliver...

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