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Thread: Feedback for this Newbie please on conversion to B&W

  1. #1
    Coinneachmhor's Avatar
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    Feedback for this Newbie please on conversion to B&W

    Hi, I took this picture on a dull and damp day in January. It is of the Lower Falls in Glen Nevis, near Fort William and is one of my favourite spots in the world. Unfortunately, the original was rather dull and the water was blown out, however I was inspired by one of Donald's B&W images of a river to try converting to B&W. I desaturated the RAW image in Elements, reduced the exposure slightly and increased contrast, blacks and fill light. I then applied a levels layer to bring out slightly more contrast in the dark areas and boosted brightness slightly to compensate, before applying my newly learned dodge and burn techniques (I have only been doing digital photography and Photoshop for about a year) to try to bring out the atmosphere of the enclosed gully and the drama from the power of the waterfall.

    I would really appreciate some feedback on what is missing or anything else I can do to improve this.

    The original was shot at F 5.3; 1/200s; ISO 3,200 @44mm

    Thanks

    Kenny

    Feedback for this Newbie please on conversion to B&W

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    pnodrog's Avatar
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    Re: Feedback for this Newbie please on conversion to B&W

    Cropping just above the horizontal branch and getting rid of the sky improves the impact. I would probably also crop out the bridge but for me it is the sky that is doing the damage. On my screen it looks a bit dark and gloomy, you may have reduced exposure just a bit too much. A final tweak, maybe cloning out or burning the two little bright bits at the bottom of the photo and you should have good tonal range and a pretty reasonable start to B&W.
    Last edited by pnodrog; 6th September 2012 at 08:43 PM. Reason: dodging should have been burning but I think you realised.

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    Re: Feedback for this Newbie please on conversion to B&W

    Exactly what my first thoughts were.

    Once you crop out the sky you can probably increase the brightness, mostly highlights, until the water risks overexposure.

    ps. I do like to see 'real speed water' as in this shot.

  4. #4
    Coinneachmhor's Avatar
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    Re: Feedback for this Newbie please on conversion to B&W

    Thank you both for your feedback. I will have another play with the image taking onboard your very helpful suggestions

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Feedback for this Newbie please on conversion to B&W

    Kenny

    I've often thought, when up visiting my dad in Spean (it's okay folks - Kenny and I know each others families going back over a long number of years), of trying to get that shot. You've shown that it can be done. I haven't stood in that spot for many, many years.

    I'd go with Paul's and Geoff's comments and suggest that if the whites on the water flowing downstream from the falls, were lifted a bit (maybe a bit of dodging) that would give the whole thing a lift. Compositionally, and with the suggestions above taken on board, it's a cracker.

    ps - I think the image of mine that you might be referring to is one of those taken at Buchanty Spout. I intend to spend quite a bit of any free time I get at that spot over the next 5 or 6 weeks. Apparently it's one of the best places in the country to see salmon leaping and they are on the move during September/October. I know exactly the shot I want. Whether I get it or not is another matter.
    Last edited by Donald; 5th September 2012 at 07:05 PM.

  6. #6

    Re: Feedback for this Newbie please on conversion to B&W

    Hey Kenny,

    Everyone has made all the suggestions I can see. I really like the photo and the natural look to the running water. Can't wait to see the reworked image.

  7. #7
    Coinneachmhor's Avatar
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    Re: Feedback for this Newbie please on conversion to B&W

    Thank you all for your feedback and encouragement. I have reworked the original and then taken the advice and applied to a different image taken a few miles downstream at a place called The Roaring Mill. This originally included more of the pool, but in an attempt to capture what I think was the most dramatic area I have cropped significantly around the main point of focus so it's not too busy and also removes the same sky issue that was in the original.

    Plenty of learning ahead of me yet but again, please fee free to point out where they can be improved.

    Donald, I look forward to seeing the results of the salmon run. I was fishing the Esk for salmon last week when a 20lb monster jumped about 8 yds in front of me. When I said to my friend I wish I had my camera his response was "the way your day is going you wouldn't have caught it on the camera either!"

    Feedback for this Newbie please on conversion to B&W

    Feedback for this Newbie please on conversion to B&W

  8. #8

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    Re: Feedback for this Newbie please on conversion to B&W

    That edit is a lot better.

    With the second image, I feel that you have a shutter speed problem here which has created 'unsharp water'.

    To produce 'crisp water', the way I like it, I would be looking at 1/1000 or faster. The alternative, is a much slower speed to produce a smooth 'milky water' effect.

    You have managed to get away with it in the first image because the water is somewhat distant; but the close crop of the second shot exaggerates the water blur which looks odd against the sharp edged rock.

  9. #9
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Feedback for this Newbie please on conversion to B&W

    I agree that the re-work of the falls is now a much stronger image.

    I note what Geoff says about the second one, but I like it. You have nailed that bit of rock beautifully and, yes, completely freezing the water would have made for, perhaps a more dramatic image, I think that the rock is so well shown that it can carry the bit of blur on the water.

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    Re: Feedback for this Newbie please on conversion to B&W

    Kenny I think it looks much better. Just a hint - If you need to recover blown out highlights I suggest you cheat. Don't burn the highlight but clone from an area that retains detail. Set the brush to about 8% opacity and the blend mode to darken. You should end up with just a hint of detail/texture and avoid the muddy look that can creep in.
    Setting to darken has several advantages one being that you can clone over a dark rock or cliff edge and it remains unaltered so it looks more natural at the edges and you do not have to worry about doing any selections.

    P.S. don't tell anyone else.
    Last edited by pnodrog; 6th September 2012 at 08:53 PM.

  11. #11

    Re: Feedback for this Newbie please on conversion to B&W

    Hey Kenny,

    Much better! One can almost hear the roar of the falls and feel the cool breeze generated from it as well. Nice capture of the rock, maybe a little faster shutter speed for my taste anyway.

  12. #12
    Coinneachmhor's Avatar
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    Re: Feedback for this Newbie please on conversion to B&W

    Thank you all once again - this is a great experience having folk who are so eager to provide both feedback and share your "how to" experience. Having never shared my images with anyone outside my immediate family before last weekend, I was very nervous of posting but your support and encouragement have banished any such thoughts.

    Geoff - I agree that the water would be better sharper (or milky) but inexperience didn't allow my thoughts to develop on site. I will try again on my next visit north.

    Donald, thank you for your encouragement - I am aspiring to build a B&W portfolio now thanks to you!

    Paul, my artist daughter tells me that in creativity there is no such thing as cheating but your (now our!) secret is safe is safe with me - at least until I can use it to help someone else.

    Carl - thanks also, I may well use your description of the image in the future when it's ready for the wider world.

  13. #13

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    Re: Feedback for this Newbie please on conversion to B&W

    Quote Originally Posted by Coinneachmhor View Post
    Hi, I took this picture on a dull and damp day in January. It is of the Lower Falls in Glen Nevis, near Fort William and is one of my favourite spots in the world. Unfortunately, the original was rather dull and the water was blown out, however I was inspired by one of Donald's B&W images of a river to try converting to B&W. I desaturated the RAW image in Elements, reduced the exposure slightly and increased contrast, blacks and fill light. I then applied a levels layer to bring out slightly more contrast in the dark areas and boosted brightness slightly to compensate, before applying my newly learned dodge and burn techniques (I have only been doing digital photography and Photoshop for about a year) to try to bring out the atmosphere of the enclosed gully and the drama from the power of the waterfall.

    I would really appreciate some feedback on what is missing or anything else I can do to improve this.

    The original was shot at F 5.3; 1/200s; ISO 3,200 @44mm

    Thanks

    Kenny

    Feedback for this Newbie please on conversion to B&W
    First of all I like it.For "bettering" in PSE image>transform>free transform to modify only a little the perspective.Then enhance>adjust lighting>levels>input levels from 255 to around 200-as your taste said you.Then with lasso tool at 15-25 px.make a selection on the dark area then ctrl.j to do a copy of the selection and levels on it.Then create a new layer with normal opacity,then foreground color at 200/200/200,brush tool with opacity 5-15% to paint some mist on the water.In the end filter>adjustments >photo filter>deep blue at a density 10-20% or another colour as your taste

    Feedback for this Newbie please on conversion to B&W

    to write took me much more than to do

  14. #14

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    Re: Feedback for this Newbie please on conversion to B&W

    Feedback for this Newbie please on conversion to B&W
    To obtain a more dramatic effect-lasso tool on the upper half then ctr.j then image>transform>free transform on the selection then a free transform on the entire image to narrow it and flip horizontally

  15. #15
    Coinneachmhor's Avatar
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    Re: Feedback for this Newbie please on conversion to B&W

    Thank you very much for the feedback. I am off to try this so I fully understand.

  16. #16

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    Re: Feedback for this Newbie please on conversion to B&W

    ooooh wow, all the edits are very, very cool! Make me feel like I am right there.

    Cool photo!

  17. #17
    Coinneachmhor's Avatar
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    Re: Feedback for this Newbie please on conversion to B&W

    I particularly like what you have done with the 2nd image and the tighter crop as while it loses the scale of height (for me knowing the subject), it more than makes up for this in terms of the portrail of the power of the water.

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