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Thread: B & W Color Filters

  1. #1

    B & W Color Filters

    I will be ordering the Nik Software Complete Collection tomorrow. I have Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 trial and am thrilled with what can be accomplished with this software. I checked B&H Photo and they want $159.00 for SEP2 or $219.00 for the complete collection. I watched one of the tutorials, 3 times, http://www.niksoftware.com/learnmore...arketing+Day+1
    on the use of the collection with lightroom 3 and it has had my mind in high gear about all the possibilities of the collection uses. WOW! WOW! Now for my all important questions to the professionals here. "Where can I find a comprehensive list of the color filters used in B & W photography that would explain what color and their effects? question number 2 "If not, Can someone give me a list of colors and effects used in B & W photography that is used most commonally to enhance certain tones (example I know that a red filter can give clouds a terrible storm look). I have read posts and tutorials till my brain is on overload at times and I have to back off. But I am ready for another round. I apologize for not posting much lately but I try to get as much info from other folks' posts and tutorials before I start asking too many question. Besides I do not feel qualified to speak about another's work when I know so little. I will be interested in portraiture and landscape also images with the church activities adults and children. So please bare with me as I am getting started. Thanks to all ahead of time for your thoughts and help.

    Carl
    Last edited by Carl in Louisiana; 13th March 2012 at 01:15 AM.

  2. #2
    Poaceae's Avatar
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    Re: B & W Color Filters

    A google search turned up this link which should help answer your question. http://www.jackspcs.com/filters.htm
    Last edited by Poaceae; 13th March 2012 at 02:51 AM. Reason: spelling error

  3. #3

    Re: B & W Color Filters

    Thanks John, that site is loaded. I can usually find things on google but for some reason just could not find the right combination of words for the in-depth list you found. Now to try and understand which way to go from here.

    I quess my next question would be would be better to shoot in color and let SEP2 convert or to shoot in monochrome to start with. Which would end up giving the best B & W for PP?

  4. #4

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    Re: B & W Color Filters

    If you're going to start editing shoot in raw. You have a lot more information to play with.

  5. #5

    Re: B & W Color Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew1 View Post
    If you're going to start editing shoot in raw. You have a lot more information to play with.
    Thanks Andrew, I have started shooting in raw last week. Does that mean that you can shoot monochrome in RAW?

  6. #6
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: B & W Color Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl in Louisiana View Post
    Thanks Andrew, I have started shooting in raw last week. Does that mean that you can shoot monochrome in RAW?
    Carl

    When you shoot in Raw try and train yourself not to think about 'shooting in colour' or 'shooting in monochrome'. What you're doing when you shoot in RAW is that you are capturing all the data, including the colour information. So, you're capturing everything that's there. But all you are doing is capturing the data. You then have to decide what you do with that data once you get your file loaded up onto the computer. Are you going to keep it all, or are you going to get rid of some of it; i.e. the colour information?

    That's what shooting in RAW is all about. You are in total control, not the camera. It's like having to think differently about what you're capturing.

    Before, shooting in JPEG, you were capturing a final image. And you had decide before you pressed the shutter whether you were going to make a colour or B & W image. But now, you capture all the information and you make the final image afterwards.

    Does that make sense?

  7. #7

    Re: B & W Color Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Carl

    When you shoot in Raw try and train yourself not to think about 'shooting in colour' or 'shooting in monochrome'. What you're doing when you shoot in RAW is that you are capturing all the data, including the colour information. So, you're capturing everything that's there. But all you are doing is capturing the data. You then have to decide what you do with that data once you get your file loaded up onto the computer. Are you going to keep it all, or are you going to get rid of some of it; i.e. the colour information?

    That's what shooting in RAW is all about. You are in total control, not the camera. It's like having to think differently about what you're capturing.

    Before, shooting in JPEG, you were capturing a final image. And you had decide before you pressed the shutter whether you were going to make a colour or B & W image. But now, you capture all the information and you make the final image afterwards.

    Does that make sense?
    Oh yea I think that helps a lot to set things right in my mind on RAW. One less thing to think about in the field, to a point. And by that I mean I always wonder when I shoot an image is how it will look in B & W. I guess thats just because I like the B & W images so much. Thanks Donald you have been a great help!

  8. #8
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: B & W Color Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl in Louisiana View Post
    Oh yea I think that helps a lot to set things right in my mind on RAW. One less thing to think about in the field, to a point. And by that I mean I always wonder when I shoot an image is how it will look in B & W. I guess thats just because I like the B & W images so much. Thanks Donald you have been a great help!
    Carl

    Just to mix things up a bit more - Your question about shooting in RAW or JPEG is very different from the question of training yourself to 'see' in B & W.

    I've written on here before about it and said, Michael Freeman, in 'The Complete Guide to Black & White Digital Photography' (2009), acknowledges that many good B & W images are only chosen to be B & W once they are reviewed after being shot. But he goes on to state, "... 'full' black & white photography means anticipating, selecting and composing monochrome right from the start. And the only way to do this is to train oneself to think and see in black and white. There are optical aids ... but these are really tricks to fool the eye .... . More effective long term is constant practice and experience in mentally filtering out colour information" (p140).

    So, looking at a scene and training yourself to see what that will look like in B & W is a skill in itself. But even though you are shooting RAW and capturing all the colour data, you can get your camera to help you.

    You can set your camera to 'monochrome'. Now, that doesn't mean that you are only going to capture B & W data. It doesn't. You're still going to capture all the data including the colour information. But what it does mean is that you will get the camera's interpretation of it in black & white on the back screen of your camera. This is the camera telling you what it thinks this will be like in black & white. That can help to 'see' what your final image might be like.
    Last edited by Donald; 14th March 2012 at 08:00 AM.

  9. #9

    Re: B & W Color Filters

    And with RAW you can now easily see which is better, colour or B&W... or have both. The great thing about RAW is it lets you change your mind, because the edits are non-destructive. If you shoot a B&W jpeg it no longer has the colour info so you can't have a colour version. Likewise if you open a jpeg, change it to B& save over the original (a dumb thing to do of course) you have changed the source file. However, with RAW, any adjustments you make to a RAW file are saved in a separate file (called a sidecar file) - no actual change is made to the original RAW data. When you next open the RAW file it will read the adjustments from the sidecar file but if you want to you can simply change the slider settings to undo all/any of those adjustments.

  10. #10

    Re: B & W Color Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post



    'full' black & white photography means anticipating, selecting and composing monochrome right from the start.


    Y
    Thanks Donald,

    So, how does that differ from any other shot? or do I just need to put that book on the wish list?

  11. #11

    Re: B & W Color Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by dan marchant View Post
    And with RAW you can now easily see which is better, colour or B&W... or have both. The great thing about RAW is it lets you change your mind, because the edits are non-destructive. If you shoot a B&W jpeg it no longer has the colour info so you can't have a colour version. Likewise if you open a jpeg, change it to B& save over the original (a dumb thing to do of course) you have changed the source file. However, with RAW, any adjustments you make to a RAW file are saved in a separate file (called a sidecar file) - no actual change is made to the original RAW data. When you next open the RAW file it will read the adjustments from the sidecar file but if you want to you can simply change the slider settings to undo all/any of those adjustments.
    Thank You Dan,
    I think I am starting to get a much better understanding of RAW vs JPEG. With RAW the field is wide open to all possibilities. JPEG is set in concrete.

  12. #12
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: B & W Color Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl in Louisiana View Post
    Thanks Donald,

    So, how does that differ from any other shot? or do I just need to put that book on the wish list?
    I'd certainly recommend putting the book on your wish list.

    How does it differ? Well, I suppose it's about asking yourself a question when you look at a scene (Try it as you are reading this). Turn around and look at the room you are in. Can you see it in Black & White? If you were to take a B & W picture of it right now, what would that look like? Can you 'see it' in black & white. What tones of grey would everything you see turn out as? Would it work as a B & W image?

    One of the 'rules' I imposed on myself to try and learn how to do that was by always deciding before I pressed the shutter, whether I was shooting for a B & W or a colour image. So as I was looking at the scene through the viewfinder, I was telling myself what I expected this to look like in B & W. Do that often enough and it eventually starts becoming the way you see things. Like Freeman says, it's about mentally stripping out the colour information.

    And that rule is one I continue with. If I shoot a frame to make a B & W image, I will never consider changing my mind and making a colour image, even if I see it would work. In my own personal rule book that would be cheating, because I didn't try to make a colour image. I made it to be B & W. And if it doesn't work as a B & W image, then it's dumped.

    And in the same way, if I try to make a colour image, I will never look at it in monochrome just to see what it looks like, because it was not shot to be B & W.

    Now some folks will say that that is a stupid rule to impose upon yourself. Fair enough. But it works for me.

  13. #13
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: B & W Color Filters

    I'm not an expert but a yellow filter was permanently on the medium format school studio camera; apparently it is good for skin tones.

  14. #14
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    Re: B & W Color Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    I'm not an expert but a yellow filter was permanently on the medium format school studio camera; apparently it is good for skin tones.
    I never used a filter for my studio work (except some diffusion or sotening filters). However, I liked the light green X-1 flter for ourdoor portrait work because it retained good skin tones and had some positive effect on haze and sky tone. Many photographers also used a light green filter for indoor portraits.

    Here is a great link to filter descriptions:

    http://www.hoyafilter.com/pdf/HOYACatalog.pdf

    My filter kit included:

    UV filter: there were/are several types but, tell you the truth I never saw much difference between the skylight 1A and skylight 1B, etc. However as opposed to today's digital use of UV filters simply as lens protectors; UV filters did have a positive impact on haze reduction in film photography.

    X-1: Mentioned above


    #8 or K2 (yellow): The K2 and X-1 were my most used filters, The K2 seemed to provide results that somewhat duplicated what I saw without performing any major change in the image. I did not like the K2 for the people I shot since many of my family members had reddish or blond hair and the K2 seemed to lighten that hair, sometimes to an objectional degree. It would, however, somewhat minimize skin blemishes, Remember, this was the "Pre Photoshop Dark Ages" of photography...

    #15 or G (orange): This filter provided extra darkening of the sky and superior haze cutting. It was a bit strong for my day to day use. But, it did a dramatic job on most landscapes.

    #25 (red): This filter was exceptionally strong and I used it only ocasionally. It tended to make the sky exceptionally dark and people's faces excepionally white. It almost made the shot look like Infrared.

    BTW: I never shot B&W infrared photography. I did however, play around with a specialty film which was Ektachrome Infrared Camoflage Detection. I was able to appropriate some of this film from Navy stock for training purposes. The unique attribute of this film was that it could differentiate between live and dead foliage. The live foliage registered as red and the dead foliage or painted camoflage registered as black. It was a fun film to play with but, primarily had great military value in detecting camoflage.

    I could really have gotten along quite well keeping the X-1 filter on my lens. The X-1 was not a well known filter. IMO, most photographers who shot in B&W and used filters; used the K2 as their main tool...

    There were/are many other filters used in B&W photography but, many of them had very specific uses such as in micro-photography.

    There were also a ton of color correction filters but, these were almost never used for B&W photography.

    Then there were ND filters but, they were not used as prevalently as they are today.

    If you can get your hands on a old photography book, these usually devoted a lot of space to the various filters. My public library has a used book sales section and I often see older photo books sold at a pittance.

    Here is a listing of most of the various filters...

    http://www.jackspcs.com/filters.htm

    Polarizing filters did not seem to be used as regularly as they are used today and GND filters were also not used to any great degree except by some professionals or specialists...
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 14th March 2012 at 04:09 PM.

  15. #15

    Re: B & W Color Filters

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    I'd certainly recommend putting the book on your wish list.
    Done I will order it next Tuesday afternoon and Thanks a million for the help and the heads up on the book. I like your rule, but it sounds like it would take an awful lot of will power to stick to it may give it a try to see how I will like it and if I can handle the pressure....LOL
    Last edited by Carl in Louisiana; 15th March 2012 at 12:46 AM.

  16. #16

    Re: B & W Color Filters

    Thanks Steve & Richard,

    I think for now I will forget about filters and try using the filters that will be in Nik Software's Complete Collection, B & H Photo has it on sale for $219.00 a considerable savings over all. I have been watching tutorials on everything that comes in that package and liked what I saw and just hope it will deliver like the SEP2 has been doing IMHO I think it will. Also I feel I need to get some more milage under my belt before buying anymore accessories like filters. With the weather clearing up a bit now I will be able to start getting out early in the mornings when everyone else is still in the bed, I am an early day person so some sunrises may be in the near future. Also some night softball games. Thanks for all the help to everyone this has help clear up a lot of things in my mind.
    Last edited by Carl in Louisiana; 15th March 2012 at 12:50 AM.

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