Back Modifications (3)
Views: 97 (33 Unique)  Award Shortlist   

View From The Boat

By arhab
Taken in the middle of the day under the shades of trees in the edge of the lake.

My goal is to get a good black and white photo, after my two uploads before looks flat and lack of separation between the tones.

comment and modification welcome, thank you

Tags: Boat Black and white Landscape and travel

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


User_Removed 8 48 1 United Kingdom
14 May 2013 7:02AM
Lacks interest in content, even what is there is spoiled by the shabby front end of a boat.

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ErictheViking 5 124 102 Scotland
14 May 2013 7:43AM
Hi Muhamad
The 2 main things you need for a B+W image are interest and a good contrast subject.. In your image the bow of the boat has become very over exposed and dominates the image. Unfortunately the forest behind is very dense and with the mid-day light it is dark and uninteresting. The low angle also means you have lost the opportunity to use reflections from the water to add an interest point.

When you look at creating a B+W image you need to think about the tone changes rather than the colours. Many colours in B+W have similar tones and this makes the differentiation between each very small and hard to see when you convert the image.

Sorry I cannot be more positive with this image however by changing the time of day you take the image and the content you will improve the quality of your shots.

paulbroad 10 123 1250 United Kingdom
14 May 2013 9:06AM
The content will not let you get a decent mono. Everything is a similar tone and converts to similar grey. You need a better subject. Mono is not as easy as many believe. You are going, in effect, from millions of colour tones to 256 tones of grey and you must have a suitable tonal range in colour to make a good mono.

The trick is to recognise such a range.

Here you just have foliage and a rather insistent boat bow.

Fogey 5 96 13 United Kingdom
14 May 2013 10:38AM
Let's deal with this from the top.

A good black and white image should have a full range of tones from black through to white. The image you have posted doesn't have this, which is why we see a very bland picture.

The square format doesn't suit the subject and the prow of the boat in the lower half of the frame does nothing for the photograph at all.

That's the negatives out of the way. Now for the positives. The photo as it stands has got potential - just a bit of post processing is needed.

In the mod I have done, I have picked the natural highlights and accentuated the brightness and contrast in the trunks of the trees just to give them a bit of punch.

The foliage, left of frame: Again I have brightened the highlighted areas and added contrast to the shadows to try to make the overall grey colour pop. A quick crop, taking out the prow of the boat and some careful cloning to join up the shoreline.

I sharpened the image a tad, keeping it soft enough, (I hope), to retain that atmospheric feel the photo has.
mrswoolybill Plus
11 1.2k 1929 United Kingdom
14 May 2013 12:37PM
I'm seeing various problems here. First off, the focus is on the background whereas the image would work much better for me if it was on the foreground, the edge of the boat. That's the first thing we look at, it's where we would instinctively reach out with our hands. It needs to be sharp, hard, tactile. At f9, focusing on the rail would still have given reasonable detail in the background, but it would have made the rail immediate, the foliage more distant. Use of the burn tool on the foreground could help.
Secondly, as I commented on your last upload of rice fields, b&w images almost always need some true white and some true black. That's what brings the image to life, and also gives a sense of depth. This really is variations on the theme of grey. It needs brightness, contrast. When you make a b&w conversion, always check afterwards to see if you can enhance the light.
Thirdly, I feel that it needs a slight rotation, maybe 1 degree anti-clockwise. I'm looking at the ripples. It may be an optical illusion, but I think it would help.
Finally there's scope for quite a strong composition using the angular lines of the prow of the boat but that needs a tighter crop to 'contain' those lines. I think true square would tighten this up - as it is it looks flabby.
I shall see what I can do - a Mod will follow!
mrswoolybill Plus
11 1.2k 1929 United Kingdom
14 May 2013 12:51PM
Mod uploaded. I rotated by one degree anti-clockwise, then cropped to square, to put the diagonal directly into the bottom left corner and place the prow of the boat on the third. That also leaves a strong tree trunk framing the composition on the right.
Then I made a Levels adjustment to darken shadows and lighten highlights. I used the burn tool (midtones and shadows) on the boat, to make it look more substantial, and dodged the highlights in the foliage to increase the sense of sun filtering through.
See what you think.
Sooty_1 8 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
14 May 2013 6:44PM
I'm going to disagree with some of the comments above.

Firstly, there is actually a fairly decent range of tones in your picture. They are somewhat compressed, and can be brought out with judicious processing. You have dark shadows and bright highlights, with a lot of different tones in between.

Secondly, a good black and white image doesn't necessarily have to have a full range of tones in order to be successful. Sometimes the subject suits high key or low key treatment, sometimes a limited palette of tones emphasises the graphical nature of the subject and sometimes the subject is just more important than the exposure errors (but not that often).

There are generally 4 types of photo, in respect of colour/B+W:
1. It only works in colour.
2. It works both in colour and black and white.
3. It only works in black and white.
4. It doesn't work at all.

You have to assess whether a picture will fall into one of the categories. For a good black and white image, generally you have to have something that is independent of colour: ie a strong graphical element, shapes, faces, architecture, lines etc and/ or good contrast. Here we find the comments above, about different colours looking similar tones in black and white. Reds and greens, for instance. We have to change the filtration in order to make the colours stand out from each other in black and white - using channel mixer for instance, or PS's more advanced black and white adjustment tools. A colour will lighten itself more (in B+W) the stronger the filter effect is, and darken the opposite colours. So a red filter will darken a sky, and lighten skin tones, red brick etc, whereas a green filter will lighten foliage but slightly darken skin. A basic knowledge of the colour wheel is required, to know what the effects of a particular filter will be, then you can use that filtration to adjust how tonal values appear in the picture: ie to create "tonal separation."

Unfortunately, this is a picture in category 4. As mentioned, there is no real subject, the trees are bland, the boat intrusive, it looks like you have a dirty lens as there is evidence of flare, and it isn't very sharp. It doesn't translate well to black and white, so you are really on a loser from the outset.
There are too many members on here who think a picture will look better in black and white because it is more "arty", whereas in reality, you really need to have black and white in mind at the shooting stage, and find a subject that suits it. Trying black and white because a picture is bland in colour rarely works.

This picture doesn't do well in black and white because, apart from the boat section, the rest of the frame is very similar in tone, so nothing stands out as an obvious subject. If you want good black and white, to start with, look for contrasts in tone, easily definable shapes and pictures with a definite and obvious subject.

Sooty_1 8 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
14 May 2013 6:47PM

You get the same effects from applying the filtration in photoshop.

pablophotographer 6 952 335
15 May 2013 2:14AM
Hi. I saw the picture from the thumbnail size and I wondered what was it all about, in the beginning I thought I was seeing a top part of a house's pointing roof. As I opened the picture, it brought me into your boat. Pure magic. Your picture travels my eyes to a river of a tropical place. I think we may sometimes, mistake the role of the picture not as an end but as a means to travel us somewhere we may have not been; to mistake and look for things that are or not are there rather than see things which are there.

The most challenging part of the picture is the lighting. I think you should play with contrast and brightness and try various results, you may come with something more strong.

But for me the rest is fine.
The dog in your boat
arhab 6 43 2 Indonesia
18 May 2013 5:55AM

Firstly, there is actually a fairly decent range of tones in your picture. They are somewhat compressed, and can be brought out with judicious processing. You have dark shadows and bright highlights, with a lot of different tones in between.

You are right Nick, Somehow the photo looks darken than the original, i think because of compression when uploading.

I was surprised by the response on this photo. because I really like this photo, regardless over exposure on the boat, i think there is different tonal on the trees. thank you all for the comment and the mod, Smile

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