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busyEMT
08-24-2006, 03:10 AM
Obviously black and white is a problem for me 95% of the time. I have a pic I would like to run by the experts (and anyone else who cares to chime in):

this was touched up in the Canon software:
+0.3 Digital Exposure Compensation; white balance moved to cloudy; contrast to low; and red filter added.
http://twincitiesrailfan.com/images_lg/forum/keymad_081606.jpg

the original
http://twincitiesrailfan.com/images_lg/forum/keymad_081606_orig.jpg

I can't put my finger on what is off, so I can't ask for specifics. Have at it.

Ween
08-24-2006, 03:25 AM
How did you get the original to B&W? Was it JPEG taken in B&W mode in the camera or did you convert a RAW image (and if so, how did you make it B&W)?

photogeek88
08-24-2006, 06:56 AM
First off, I come from the Ansel Adams-school of black and white photography, where if the blacks aren't super saturated, the sky doesn't have a good solid gray tone, and the whites aren't super contrasty, it just doesn't work for me. It looks like you shot it on a pretty overcast day to begin with, so all of that white sky space that would be in a color photograph translates again to what seems even more white space in the black and white. That dead space can really be a killer, and it just makes it feel like a shot of a model railroad in a white room. That being said, I usually don't do anything with b/w unless its one of those one-in-a-million bluer than blue skys outside, with maybe just a few of those happy puffy clouds to give some contrast once you throw a red filter into the equation. And again, b/w is all about the contrast of those two tones, and the area around the ballast/siding is all just that same monotone gray. I'd either continue to kick the saturation up a notch, or preferrably crop that area out as much to keep in size standards. I like an Emeril BAM with my black-and-whites, and if it doesn't have that crisp popping contrast, it's just a really bland photo. The top shot is a great improvement from the original, but keep working the contrast.

busyEMT
08-24-2006, 01:20 PM
How did you get the original to B&W? Was it JPEG taken in B&W mode in the camera or did you convert a RAW image (and if so, how did you make it B&W)?Several months ago, I found the parameter settings in my camera (20D). There was a black/white setting and I got excited. When I sat down at the computer and looked at the B/W image in the EOSViewer Utility, I could convert it back to color. I always shoot in RAW and use the software to make a copy in JPG.

It looks like you shot it on a pretty overcast day to begin with, so all of that white sky space that would be in a color photograph translates again to what seems even more white space in the black and white.Yes, it was hazy but there was some stronger sun behind me. I guess my settings are the weakest point in this shot.

a231pacific
08-24-2006, 02:42 PM
Aaron,

I'm pretty much in agreement with Wesley. You need to have the full tonal range, from black to white and your re-work doesn't look like it has any really black areas. In Photos Shop, I select adjustments, curves then use the black dropper to click on an area that I want completely black. Then I take the white dropper and pick white lettering on a car, or some such to set the white point. This usually makes a dramatic difference right away, but the next step is to take the mid point of the curve and nudge it one way or the other until the shot looks good.

Your second shot already is a big improvement over the original. Since there weren't any clouds in the sky, I'm not sure that the red filter did much good.

Not much you can do about the featureless sky, but if you make the cut of hoppers dramatic enough, the shot will be a lot more interesting.

Michael Allen

Slopes09
08-24-2006, 09:47 PM
I'm trying to think of something to say here that hasn't been said. Sharper tends to look better for B&W photos, so I usually bump up the sharpen feature when I'm editing a B&W picture. I've also learned not to use the unsharpen filter for B&W, it seems to produce a softer look. Also, I'll echo the contrast importance. My photo teacher always says you need "black blacks, white whites, and a good range of mid-tone grays." Also, using colored filters on a camera tends to produce cooler effects than doing it on a program. This is just speaking from personal experience. Also, check out some B&W pictures on the database for some ideas. I have several(see link in my signature), Richard Hart (http://www.railpictures.net/showphotos.php?userid=4208) has a lot of good ones, as well as Brian Smith (http://www.railpictures.net/showphotos.php?userid=302) .

devights
09-12-2006, 05:12 AM
I figured it'd be good to show you my take on this picture. I have to agree with the love for high contrasty pictures. Back when I had access to a dark room (I really miss those days, there's something to be said about spending an hour working on one picture burning and dodging/applying differnet contrast filters/times to it until it comes out perfect) I always bumped up the contrast in my pictures, I think it gives them a more stunning feel.

http://www.nerdrebellion.com/images/touchup.jpg

I basically bumped up the contrast, lowered the brightness, and sharpened it a little. in the end the sky is the real killer in this shot.

busyEMT
09-12-2006, 07:51 PM
Ok, I have been toying with settings a bit and got this.

http://twincitiesrailfan.com/images_lg/bnsf4/bnsf6317_081606.jpg

I never tried uploading it here so it hasn't been rejected, but I am interested in what is wrong with it. I think with the numbers on the boards and rails being properly exposed, lightening up the darker areas would blow out this image.

jdirelan87
09-12-2006, 08:04 PM
There isn't enough contrast in your photo. The coal cars do not stand and have no depth of field. Also, when shooting black or white, you have to rememeber that colors that aren't the same in the world come out the same in black and white, ie, red on green will look black on black. Another example, the black coal cars against the dark green trees in the background. Next time, try to get more contrast by matching light colors with dark colors.

Edit;
Here is a great example of the bright on dark constrat I'm talking about;
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=158043

trainmonster
09-12-2006, 10:35 PM
Thanks Slopes for the plug! Here's my take on it. 'bout as good as I could get it. Got rid of the dead space. I like 'em dark and moody so this is my interpretation.

Looks like a good spot to get a train coming from the opposite direction though.

Rich

a231pacific
09-15-2006, 04:50 AM
This was a tough shot to work with. Here's the best I could manage. BTW, clean your lense or your sensor. When I darkened the sky I found several spots above the signal bridge. You can see them in devights version.

Michael Allen

Switched out
09-15-2006, 12:11 PM
Tough one all right, lots of fiddling with contrast and brightness and then having to add the clouds. Cropped to remove dead space.

Cheers,
Christine.

busyEMT
09-15-2006, 01:00 PM
Thanks everyone for your input. I actually probably should have started a separate thread, but I was looking for comments on the shot of the 3 Santa Fe units.

a231pacific
09-15-2006, 02:08 PM
I think Christine's version, where she had to add clouds, shows just how important the sky is in B&W shots. If you have sky in your shot, you really need clouds to get that black/white contrast. A gray featureless sky just doesn't work in B&W.

I tried to work with just what was on the posted scan, but apart from one cloud over on the left, there wasn't much there. Bottom line, I don't think that shot works in B&W and probably wouldn't in color either. Now, on a nice sunny day with clouds, it could have been very good!

Michael Allen

Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
09-16-2006, 12:49 AM
I think Christine's version, where she had to add clouds, shows just how important the sky is in B&W shots. If you have sky in your shot, you really need clouds to get that black/white contrast. A gray featureless sky just doesn't work in B&W.

Michael Allen
Which is exactly why I converted this image and uploaded this in B&W:

[photoid=157017]

Although the colors were great and probably would have been received better, I loved how the clouds look in 'contrasty' B&W.

Switched out
09-16-2006, 01:47 AM
Thanks everyone for your input. I actually probably should have started a separate thread, but I was looking for comments on the shot of the 3 Santa Fe units.I think this one is fairly close to spot on it needs a bit of sharpening and the shadow details could be a little brighter but not by much. Crop a little bit of the dead space and your done.

Christine.

devights
09-18-2006, 05:28 PM
Christine, what did you do to add the clouds to that one shot? They kinda look like difference clouds renedered w/ PS. I've never been able to make fake clouds look real. Any tips? Thanks!