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Thread: Black 'n' White conversion.

  1. #1
    Quinn's Avatar
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    Black 'n' White conversion.

    Morning everyone.
    I think Black and white conversions of images weather portraits of landscapes can be just the finest way to present a picture. Having said that getting it right is also one of the hardest things to achieve.
    Last year I went with the family to India on hols.
    This is a shot I took of a set of arches in a temple near Agra.
    Black 'n' White conversion.
    I always struggle with the conversion. One problem is that when Im looking at an image, Im not sure what it is that I want to achieve with it. Then, having started I find it hard to know when to stop!!
    Having said that, with this image, I wanted to make the most of the different hues and texture, and use light and shade to draw the eye through the arches to the square door in the wall at the back.
    Black 'n' White conversion.

    Apart from an honest opinion of my efforts here, how do you look at a colour image and decide what to do and how to do it...?
    Looking forward to your responses,
    Phil

  2. #2
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    Re: Black 'n' White conversion.

    Phil,

    Even though I grew up doing B&W darkroom work, I don't do a lot of B&W conversions these days, but for what little it is worth, I can tell you what I do. First, B&W is all about tonality, contrast, lines, and textures. So I first do a simple B&W conversion (in LR) and then ask myself: does this simple conversion highlight the lines or contrasts that make the image interesting? The answer is usually no. To start, it usually does not have a full tonal range, so I start by stretching that out, and I usually impose a little more contrast. I usually end up working on specific colors in the HSL panel--which is similar to using color filters in shooting B&W--to bring or subdue contrast in certain areas.A simple way to do this it to use the targeted adjustment tool in HSL, which will work on whatever colors are (hidden) in the image at that spot.

    However, none of that is what struck me about your image. I think the B&W image is interesting, but the composition is distracting. The interesting part, I think, is the nested arches and columns. The big flat space at the top draws my eye away from that. This site does not allow showing suggested crops, but I suggest lopping some of the top off and seeing what you think.

    Dan

  3. #3
    Quinn's Avatar
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    Re: Black 'n' White conversion.

    Thanks for that Dan. I can see what you mean. I havnt use HSL at all. I plan to re work this anyway, your suggestions are a good starting point!
    Chees

  4. #4

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    Re: Black 'n' White conversion.

    Phil,
    as Dan said B&W is all about line, texture and tonality. I usually decide what's going to be B&W at the time of shooting and only occasionally find a image that I intended for colour converts that well for me. Pressing the 'V' key in Lightroom will give you an instant black and white that helps visualise lines and composition and indicates what might be worth further effort to convert. What you have here I think is a picture that is more about colour and rather nice it is too, again agreeing with Dan the B&W is interesting but there are a couple of compositional points and I find myself looking more at the detail in the columns and arches than having them lead my eye through to the door. I would crop some off of the top and also a little off of the bottom and a tad off of the sides to emphasise the impact of the columns. I had a go at a black and white conversion with the crop I suggested - I'm not sure though if it accomplishes what you were after.

    Black 'n' White conversion.
    Last edited by bambleweeney; 16th June 2012 at 04:48 PM. Reason: completely the wrong picture ??

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    Andrew76's Avatar
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    Re: Black 'n' White conversion.

    Quote Originally Posted by DanK View Post
    This site does not allow showing suggested crops,
    Dan
    When did this happen? Did I miss something?

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    Re: Black 'n' White conversion.

    Hi, Phil

    Interesting image. I think what is pulling the viewer's eye from your dominant element is an imbalance of the light vs. dark areas of the image, which might be nicely rectified by a crop from the top of the the "frame" just above the first arabic arch (or perhaps even the 2nd one) to create more of a tunnel effect, with the sole source of brighter light being the facade around the opening. I made a quick try of it (I'll take it down if you prefer no unsolicited reworking

    Black 'n' White conversion.

  7. #7
    DanK's Avatar
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    Re: Black 'n' White conversion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew76 View Post
    When did this happen? Did I miss something?
    No, I did. I was looking for a function such as the one on Flicker that allows people to post suggested crops as "notes" on the image. I did not mean 'does not give permission to download it, crop it, and upload it again.' I wasn't at a computer with the relevant software. Sorry that I created confusion.

  8. #8
    Andrew76's Avatar
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    Re: Black 'n' White conversion.

    OK, thanks for clarifying! I didn't want to make a faux pas!

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    Re: Black 'n' White conversion.

    Philip, in answer to your original post - an addition - sometimes, BW can really save an image and give it a new life.
    That's the case of colour pics which does not have enough colour, or, when there is a colour too dominant

  10. #10
    Quinn's Avatar
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    Re: Black 'n' White conversion.

    Thanks all for your views, I think based on your suggestions, I will try this again and come back for your thoughts.. (if you would be so kind )
    That's the case of colour pics which does not have enough colour, or, when there is a colour too dominant
    I do like the image and I think as Eugen pointed out above, there is an over dominance of one colour in this, which is what lead mw to do a BnW conversion.
    Kevin, I have no problem with people altering my work here, its all part of as learning curve, and Thanks for the effort you put in to do it !
    I think what I need is a clearer strategy of what Im trying to achieve before I start.
    Watch this space lol
    Phil

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