Old 11-07-2009, 07:02 PM   #1
Chris Z
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Default Help on contrast on B&W

I figured since I was on a roll with B&W, I'd process some more like that. I have a rejection, where I'm not sure on how to fix. This B&W stuff is new to me, and help in understanding is greatly appreciated.

I thought it may be a tough one because the sun had already gone down and there wasn't much light left. That's what I figure is part of the problem. Very little shadow. Never the less, I was wondering if this is still fixable somehow?

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...&key=660656057

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Old 11-07-2009, 07:14 PM   #2
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Are you using a filter? Filters are pretty much a necessity with B&W film. Besides that, I don't know what you could do -- maybe darken the trees?
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Old 11-07-2009, 07:19 PM   #3
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No filter was used at all on this one. It was too dark for one and I figured it would just end up becoming a blur if I did.

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Old 11-07-2009, 07:33 PM   #4
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Lighten the photo and then add contrast. Flat light is hard to make look right.
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Old 11-07-2009, 07:35 PM   #5
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I messed around a bit and came up with this. I'm not exactly sure if this is what it supposed to look like. Opinions?

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Old 11-07-2009, 07:42 PM   #6
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BW is all about brights and darks, whites and near whites and black and near blacks. This shot has lots of middle tone - the foliage might as well be blank gray space. There is only a tiny bit of white and then the black engine. It isn't a good candidate shot for this, I think. Maybe if there is lots of color variation that can be turned into interesting variations in gray through the use of channel mixing or filters, no way for me to tell.

Not every image 'fits' the BW mode.
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Old 11-07-2009, 07:51 PM   #7
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To dark now
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Old 11-07-2009, 08:00 PM   #8
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The edited version looks a bit overprocessed for my taste -- you are trying to add too much contrast where there isn't any and it looks forced.

Indeed B&W requires an understanding of the tonal relationships between highlights, mid-tones, and shadows. While I wouldn't agree that you need extreme contrast for a black and white image to have impact, if it is a flat scene with a short tonal scale then you have to make up for it with compositional structure and subject choice. I'm thinking of the Bechers.

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Old 11-07-2009, 08:10 PM   #9
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Lighted and added contrast and sharpened.
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Old 11-07-2009, 09:00 PM   #10
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I just discovered a whole another area in photo shop dealing with B&W. This program never ceases to amaze me. Here's yet another example which I like better, but not sure if this is yet correct. Maybe I'll play around with this newly discovered area and see what I can learn.

I like what milwman did, but I think I'll probably get hit for the same thing. Thanks for the help guys.

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Old 11-07-2009, 11:48 PM   #11
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Is this literally black and white film? Or a digital file converted to b&w?
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Old 11-08-2009, 12:07 AM   #12
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It's a digital file converted to B&W. B&W is new to me, so there's this learning curve to go through.

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Old 11-08-2009, 03:07 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Z View Post
It's a digital file converted to B&W. B&W is new to me, so there's this learning curve to go through.
That's good though. Save the original and keep trying. To me, it looks like ther's too much of a "red" filter being added. Are you by chance editting in DPP or Adobe PSE7? How did the shot look in color?
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Old 11-08-2009, 04:53 AM   #14
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Here's a copy of the color version. Also a couple of other ones I've been working on. The original had lighting issues as the sun had already gone. Hence, no sun, no shadows. That's what's making it tough. Opinions on the other shots also appreciated.

I think I may having been doing too much narrow gauge stuff recently and maybe I just need to give it a rest for while. I'm surprised at how many images I ended up just in two and a half days.

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Old 11-08-2009, 07:34 AM   #15
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Hello Chris,

Like Januscz and Nath explained, not all pictures are good candidate for a true B&W shot. When I say "true", I mean not just to do give nostalgic side to your shot or because the light was too bad.

Nath explained well the "tone" subject and with a quick look to your three pictures, I realise most of them have string colours but tones are kind of the same and medium. Let me drive my commuter trains for most of this Sunday and I will come back with a complete post about it

Good day,

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Old 11-08-2009, 03:45 PM   #16
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I think a lot of us start out with B&W by thinking that a poorly-lit color image is always a good candidate for B&W (I am guilty of that, there may even be a thread on here about it from a few years ago). As you experiment more, you'll find what images work and don't work, but I have to agree with the others there that the large areas of ground cover are just dead space in B&W, and there's nothing that's standing out saying "look at me!". In the color version, you've got the contrast of red vs. black vs. green, though I agree the light is rather poor. Once you convert to B&W, you have almost no contrast in tonality.
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Old 11-08-2009, 07:38 PM   #17
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So this would be a better candidate? I'll leave the others alone.

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Old 11-08-2009, 08:05 PM   #18
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Yes, I guess that works. I see that lighting is just as important to B&W as it is for color.

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Old 11-08-2009, 08:25 PM   #19
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[quote=Chris Z;102796
I think I may having been doing too much narrow gauge stuff recently...[/QUOTE]

There is no such thing as too much narrow gauge!

The first photo is a very good angle for the image. However, the light is making all that foliage look real ugly and hard to look at, particularly in B&W. I think it could work with expert processing since it is not, right now, working in color or B&W. Maybe an HDR type look?

The coal dock one is a very good angle. Again processing needs to lighten the sky, darkened the boiler front and the sand house.

The yard shot is maybe good to go. The post and speeders harm the compo I think. I do like the star effect; some others may not.

As far as B&W, just keep thinking about tones, textures, light and dark, contrast.

One other hint, it helps sometimes to crank up the contrast. Generally in color, I don't touch it but in B&W, it often makes the difference. Just watch out for your histogram.
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