Back Versions (1)
Modifications (2)
Views 126 Unique 61 Award Shortlist   

Fork Handle.

By mistere
As it's film Friday i thought i'd seek some advice about B&W film and converting images to B&W.
The image i've uploaded was shot on a Nikkormat FT with a 50mm F2.0 lens. Exposure was mostly guesswork
as the light meter in the camera didn't work. The original image came from a digital scan of the negative.
I don't have a clue what the film was but JD may be able to help out there as he provided and developed it.
I uploaded to the critique gallery mostly for advice on the conversion to B&W rather than the image itself.
B&W is an area i know that i need to improve on. I tend to over process most of the time.
I used Nik Silver Efex and started with the classic Neutral pre-set. Any advise would be much appreciated.
V1 is the original.

Tags: Tools Garden Black and white Nik Silver Efex Pro2 Film Friday

Amazon Kindle Unlimited Offer: 1-Month For FREE!


mistere Plus
7 6 4 England
20 Sep 2019 11:18AM
This image has been uploaded for critique, the poster is looking for constructive comments and advice only.
Please don't pick between versions. V1 is only there as a base image for the critique team. Thanks.
banehawi Plus
16 2.4k 4217 Canada
20 Sep 2019 1:26PM
I like the mono conversion, and dudler is the man youre looking for re film I imagine.
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.7k 2375 United Kingdom
20 Sep 2019 5:10PM
It's an excellent b&w conversion, giving a lot of added strength to the original. I opened the original in Silver Efex, you took this a long way beyond basic Neutral. I particularly like the darkening on the red channel for the fork handle. Fiddling around with the sliders I managed something quite similar but nothing better than yours.

mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.7k 2375 United Kingdom
20 Sep 2019 5:19PM
So I tried an alternative approach...
mistere Plus
7 6 4 England
20 Sep 2019 5:31PM
Thanks Moira, that's very encouraging. It did take a lot of fiddling and a few different versions
before i settled on this one. I need to learn a good deal more in order to speed the processing up.

Chinga Plus
10 3 2 United Kingdom
20 Sep 2019 5:50PM
I like the overall composition, The subject is well placed and it made an interesting image.
Isabel GrinGrin
dudler Plus
17 1.5k 1809 England
20 Sep 2019 6:37PM
The negative was on Fuji colour film as I recall...I always scan at low contrast, because you can always pull it back in processing - if you blow highlights in scanning, they aren't ever going to come back.

Therefore raising contrast is a given - and my feeling is that you usually need to do that, or at least some work on tones, even with a higher contrast scan.

There's an old 'rule' that the histogram should cover the full width of the graph - it's the digital equivalent of the old requirement to use all the tones the printing paper allows, from pure white to deep black. It's often a good thing to do, but every rule is made to be broken.

Here, though, deep blacks and small areas of white are satisfying - your main version has plenty of body. By using different filters, or playing with the channels, you can alter relative tones between different colours in the frame (as when using monochrome film, you can alter things with coloured filters on the lens).

Then, the usual artistic considerations apply - what looks right, what reflects your feelings about/memory of a place, person or situation, or even just what looks really, really cool.

I reckon you've done a good job with this conversion, Dave.
mistere Plus
7 6 4 England
20 Sep 2019 6:59PM
Thanks John.
I did learn quite a lot about the colour channels while I was working on this.
The histogram was most uncooperative, trying to get full coverage ended up with a very
over exposed looking image. I turned it off and went with what looked ok.

Saastad Plus
1 16 15 Norway
20 Sep 2019 7:13PM
I think you are doing a good job with this photo Dave. Not easy to get it much better.
I think there is no facit. It is different from picture to picture. I always make several different versions. And at last put them up agains each other. But there is many better mono entusiasts here that maybe can give much better advice than me.
Good luck !

paulbroad 13 131 1293 United Kingdom
20 Sep 2019 8:19PM
Having spent near 40 years in mono darkrooms of different standards, on and off, there is no definitive correct final image. It is what looks right? what suites the intended purpose. you may go for high contrast in a gritty street scene, a lower contrast for back light.

I use the simple mono conversion in Photoshop, playing with the colour sliders to get the effect that looks best. The rules ay a full range of grey tones with a whit and black at the ends. often the rules work.

dark_lord Plus
16 2.7k 749 England
20 Sep 2019 8:33PM
You've done a fine job there Dave.
It's great to see your starting material and somehting I'd like to see more from people who upload for critique.
Given my current blog series on mono images, and I have one about scanning coming up later in the year I can't really ignore this one!

It's hard to offer advice on this as you've a fine conversion, so what you did was just right. What you learned along the way will be very useful.
Of course, I could produce a different mono image but as with most things mono there's a lot of personal preferences.

As John says, a low contrast scan is easier by far to work with. It means all the det\il is there to be seen and brought out, and possibly hidden of you want a high contrast look.
Essentilly, consider this scan as a RAW file. Indeed I've had some low contrast wishy washy RAW files which needed a lot of work.
Fully 'correct' the scan first, that is, get the best colour image you can. That gives the most information to work with for going mono.
You may have done that.

I agree that you don't want to be a slave to the histogram, it's a guide. In most cases you will have/want that full range of tones. Some scenes don't, and that's when to go with 'what looks right. You may take the tones down so you have a pure black. The result may look harsh, but yu can bring up the shadows using the Shadows/Highlights tool.
This shouldn't introduce noise as it's only pushing back those darkish tones to where they were originally on the histogram (remembering we had a low contrast original with the darkest tones already a quarter or third the way along the histogram. This just boosts the contrast in the lower tones and enhances the detail.

Once you have your colour original sorted, the mono route is like any other conversion. I like the Nik pliugin, but Photoshop, Affinity and Lightroom all have perfectly fine mono conversion dialogs. Nothing wrong with the Channel Mixer either.

It may not sound helpful if I say each image is different (images taken at the same time in the same lighting will be much the same, of course). In practice you'll be adjusting the sliders by dfferent amounts so that there's good black and white tonal contrast rather than colouir contrast. I find the red and yellow sliders make the biggest difference, though opf course it does depend on what colouirs are present in the original.
Be prepared to make further Levels, Curves, Contrast etc . adjustments after conversion You may need to make local adjustments, for example to lighten a face or shadows, just like dodging in the darkroom (I made sure I spelled that correctly Blush). Nik is great in that it offers adjustable Control Points.

Though as I say, based on this example you don't have a problem.
Just some iffy colour film Wink
mistere Plus
7 6 4 England
20 Sep 2019 11:07PM
Thank you Keith.
That's very helpful and encouraging.
I hadn't thought of processing the colour image first. Something to remember for the next one.
dudler Plus
17 1.5k 1809 England
21 Sep 2019 8:34AM
'Pre-processing' the colour image can help with filter/channel adjustments, too...

Going through the gallery for yesterday's posts (I was out walking - silly, I know, so didn't do this yesterday) I'm amazed how many shots there are where people haven't thought about the tonal range, and have posted muddy-looking pictures. Not just B/W, but colour as well...

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.