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Thread: Please comment on my b&w conversion

  1. #1
    thatguyfromvienna's Avatar
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    Alexander Rose

    Please comment on my b&w conversion

    I know the shot is poorly framed; I actually took it as a snapshot when I was on a walk through downtown Vienna.
    You can see parts of St. Stephen's reflecting in the glass.
    To get the picture right, I should have moved back and to the left but unfortunately, there was a gathering of people as some street theater was going on.
    What I'm actually asking for is some feedback on the conversion to black and white.
    Thank you.

    Please comment on my b&w conversion

    Please comment on my b&w conversion

  2. #2
    CougarFool's Avatar
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    Re: Please comment on my b&w conversion

    Hi Alexander,
    I think that the conversion works well. It has brought out some lovely detail in the clouds. It has also got rid of the distracting, competing colours.

  3. #3
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Please comment on my b&w conversion

    Absolutely nothing wrong with the conversion, that I can see. One effect of it however, is to bring up the pattern of the tiles at the lower left of the frame that are cladding the building. It makes them look a bit 'blotchy' and draws attention down to that area.

    The histogram looks fine for such a shot (accepting that the sunlight reflecting on the glass is inevitably causing that area to be blown).

  4. #4
    thatguyfromvienna's Avatar
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    Re: Please comment on my b&w conversion

    Thank you so much for the valuable input. And for opening my eyes.

    Nigel, with very few exceptions, I like monochrome architecture shots better than colored ones. Because monochrome means more contrast and more emphasized structures. But what you say is so true - monochrome means getting rid of competing and distracting colors as well! A shame I never came up with that myself!

    Donald, I see this building a few times a week and while color correcting the initial shot in LR and converting it with Nik, I was probably looking at it for another hour and became what we call "betriebsblind" in German, one of those words you just cannot translate without losing too much of its actual meaning. It's the state you reach when you occupy yourself for too long with one thing and miss the obvious. Like counting sand grains in the desert.
    When I was editing the photo in Silver Efex, I really loved the detailed structure in the lower left. Unfortunately, you are so right - the focus of the image should be the glass and the reflections but the structure only distracts from it.
    I'll try to mask that part when I have more time and apply less structure there.

    Again, thank you both for teaching me a valuable lesson.

  5. #5
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Please comment on my b&w conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by thatguyfromvienna View Post
    When I was editing the photo in Silver Efex, I really loved the detailed structure in the lower left. Unfortunately, you are so right - the focus of the image should be the glass and the reflections but the structure only distracts from it.
    Alexander
    You could try putting a control point on that area and lower the Structure but increase the Fine Structure (Note - Sliders in Silver Efex Pro 2 for those that don't use it). That might just lift a bit of the detail, but not so much as to dominate the picture. Or you could try Amplify Whites and Amplify Blacks to more subtley increase the contrast in that area. Be interesting to see what effect trying these things would have.

  6. #6

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    Re: Please comment on my b&w conversion

    Alexander; IMO the B&W image does not improve the shot. The original is quite nearly monochromatic anyway, and the sky reflection actually helps define the reflection of St. Stephen's.

    As has been mentioned, the enhanced definition of the tiles detracts from what I consider the main focus of attention. If your intention was to make a photographic record of the architecture, then the lamp post spoils it.

  7. #7
    thatguyfromvienna's Avatar
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    Re: Please comment on my b&w conversion

    Donald, I keep forgetting about the control point. That would be a much quicker solution than masking. Will give it a try.

    Jim, unfortunately I didn't have a permit to chop down that post. That's a main issue you have here in Vienna: On every photo you take, there are either tourists, lamp posts, signs, road signs, billboards or power lines. I don't even remember how many times I was literally running around my motif, changing angle and distance to get rid of all those nuisances, just to find out that it's simply impossible.

  8. #8
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Please comment on my b&w conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by thatguyfromvienna View Post
    Donald, I keep forgetting about the control point. That would be a much quicker solution than masking. Will give it a try.
    Oh, never forget the Control Point tool. I can have 40/50 control points in some of mine. The great things is that you can group them, so that you then only have to adjust one in order to cause the same effect on others in different parts of the image.

    It adds an amazing extra dimension to finishing an image.

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