Back Modifications (5)
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River Nene Cygnet

By strokebloke  
On a hopefully more serious note, following the Border Plants, this is a shot of one of our local cygnets; shot with the F5, on Kodak Gold 100 35mm neg.
Another PS exercise, following the scan & clean-up.
Levels, Contrast, small areas of Burn & Doge, tweak the eye which had almost disappeared into the blackness of the 'mute' bill.
Finally convert to B&W; not, I hasten to add, to hide any flaws.
Simply because, following experimentation, I preferred it B&W Smile

Tags: Black and white Digitally manipulated Cygnet Wildlife and nature

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


pamelajean Plus
12 1.1k 2007 United Kingdom
13 Jun 2011 5:53PM
Hello, Jack. This looks good to me. If there was any burn-out on the original, you have dealt with it effectively. And the eye looks good too. In fact, it was the first thing I noticed. Reading your description, you say that you converted to black and white after your other adjustments. This has left you with a fairly flat image that lacks contrast. I would have done the conversion first, then the adjustments. My first modification shows a levels adjustment. My second has a small bit of canvas added to the left (there wasn't much water to clone with, so please excuse my effort here) because I feel your swan was a wee bit tight in the frame. You were obviously going for a very close and centralized shot, but I just couldn't resist.

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Jestertheclown 9 7.7k 252 England
13 Jun 2011 5:56PM
Tricky one Jack.
And I don't mind admitting that I'm a bit out of my depth with this.
It looks as if it's underexposed and the levels say that it is but increasing exposure just blows the highlights and adjusting the contrast via levels makes the blacks very black without lifting the shadows particularly well.
So! I fell back on shadows/highlights again and that yielded a result of sorts.
You don't say just how you went about converting it and I've a feeling that that's where the problem lies.
As you know, there are lots of ways to convert an image to B/W and I suppose we've all got our favourites. I sometimes use the channel mixer in CS5 and more recently, I've begun using "Lightroom" after seeing a tutorial on here.
Let's see what the others have to say. I'm sure someone more knowledgeable than myself will have something worthwhile to offer.
I'll be back.

strokebloke 9 493 17 England
13 Jun 2011 6:10PM
What a difference Pamela. Conversion 1st: Adjustments 2nd: I'll certainly store that gem away for future reference.

Quote: ..... a very close and centralized shot

Only because there was nothing to show but relatively flat water, that's all Smile
strokebloke 9 493 17 England
13 Jun 2011 6:15PM
Well I have to say Bren that for someone whose
Quote: .... a bit out of my depth with this
you've produced a remarkably good contrast to what I submitted. You underestimate yourself.

I converted to B&W simply by ticking the box in the Channels Section of CS4 - nothing more elaborate or technical than that, I'm afraid.
strokebloke 9 493 17 England
13 Jun 2011 6:27PM
Bren, I went back to my original, following your observations & I could see exactly what you meant by it being underexposed.
So I adjusted, using Levels at 54/1.00/250 & produced Mod 4 above.
I'm not sure, [as I'm typing this] how close it is to either yours or Pamela's Mods.

I've blown it a bit now, as when I did my Mod, instead of saving it with a new title, I just inadvertently pressed 'save', so the original has been overriddedn. I may have it elsewhere in my folders
Jestertheclown 9 7.7k 252 England
13 Jun 2011 6:48PM

Quote:I just inadvertently pressed 'save'

. . . yep! Been there, done that!

When you convert using the channel mixer, tick the box as you did, then move the sliders up and down and watch the differences to your image. You can apply as many, or as few, changes as you like but make sure that the final total of the percentage figures for each colour total 100%. And that, in the simplest possible terms, is how it works.

As an aside, if you're interested in producing a few B/W images, you might like to have a look at this.
You can instal it as a plug-in to Photoshop or use it as a stand-alone.
Even if you only use it now and again, it's worth having and used in conjunction with Photoshop, the possibilities are endless.
And it's free!


strokebloke 9 493 17 England
13 Jun 2011 7:36PM
Have had a look at 'at this' Bren. Downloaded it, & will decide at some point whether to have it as a plug-in to PS or leave it as stand-alone.

Thank you, for that. Very much appreciated Smile
pamelajean Plus
12 1.1k 2007 United Kingdom
14 Jun 2011 1:11PM
Your mod looks good, Jack.
I tried Levels first and it seemed to work ok, so I didn't try anything else.
I use PaintshopPro, so your settings will be different to mine, and it wouldn't be any good telling you what I used.
As to losing your original, I have never had that problem, but I can appreciate the frustration if that should happen. Hope you find another copy.
strokebloke 9 493 17 England
14 Jun 2011 3:37PM
Its on a neg, if the worst comes to the worst Pamela.
So all is not lost

Thank you, once more, sincerely, for the time and effort that you put in on my behalf.


PS: I presume you did look in on Bren's Mod of the Border Plants. GrinGrin
banehawi Plus
13 1.8k 3863 Canada
14 Jun 2011 6:29PM
Ive added my mod to the bunch Jack, but I have to say this is almost impossible to recover to look like an acceptable image at all.

Its terribly flat and lacking in tonal range, the eye is overdone and to me look quite unreal, - so back to the drawing board with this one for me.

Your original may well be very good, - however, somewhere in the journey from film to digital youve lost the Swan.

strokebloke 9 493 17 England
14 Jun 2011 7:04PM
Thank you Willie.
In the light of your judgement, I'll certainly go back and see if I can find the neg original, and scrutinize it closely.
Somehow, I can't imagine that the neg is, in fact, 'very good', if the end result is unacceptable.

Quote: .... somewhere in the journey from film to digital youve lost the Swan

Certainly, I find the conversion process from analogue to digital a challenging one.
If I can find the neg I may well have another try and re-load at a later date.
I would value your judgement, if I'm able to do that


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