Old 07-16-2017, 07:16 PM   #1
Pkwlsn
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Default Black and White Processing

Does anyone have any tips on processing steam photos in black and white? What works and what doesn't? What kind of look is RP.net typically looking for in a B&W image?
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Old 07-16-2017, 10:58 PM   #2
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You won't go too far wrong with a look like this (smoke, contrast, light on drivers):

Image © Juice Junkie
PhotoID: 367958
Photograph © Juice Junkie
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Old 07-17-2017, 06:43 AM   #3
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Most of the better shots look like to have high contrast. I would use a more modern film such as t-max or Acros too. An orange filter will kick up contrast in most daylight scenes, but will eat up 2 stops. A yellow filter has a bit less of an effect, but only takes away one stop.


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Old 07-18-2017, 12:07 PM   #4
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If views/popularity on RP are of concern to you, I think I can safely say that in most circumstances, B&W will reduce your views. Sure, once in a great while, someone will post an interesting legacy photo, or a super-creative, artistically appealing monochrome, but the vast majority of B&W images die an agonizing death here.

I agree with Kent with regard to the look that works. To those of us who appreciate a good B&W, high contrast is important. Of course, the conditions that produce that type of image are generally the same as those that produce a good color shot. Folks who think they are "saving" a low-contrast, cloudy day shot by going B&W would usually be better off staying with color.

I rarely post B&W here. I usually need to have a pretty good reason. I posted this one last night:

Image © Kevin Madore
PhotoID: 623539
Photograph © Kevin Madore

I think the original color image is more interesting and appealing, but I had color temperature problems. The flashes used to light the subject did not light the entire plume, and the result is rather odd looking:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/112261...7675231800736/

Try as I might, I was not able to get that orange-colored plume to look natural. I thought about just leaving it the way it is posted on Flickr, but was concerned about RP's reaction to the color issues. After playing with it in B&W, I decided that the image did look a bit like a legacy flash-bulb shot and was probably best presented in that format.

I'd be curious as to what people think. If enough folks prefer the color version, I might try a re-upload and see if it flies with RP. Meanwhile, I am not expecting great reactions on the B&W. It might give some featureless diesel wedgies a run for their money.
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Old 07-18-2017, 01:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinM View Post

I'd be curious as to what people think. If enough folks prefer the color version, I might try a re-upload and see if it flies with RP. Meanwhile, I am not expecting great reactions on the B&W. It might give some featureless diesel wedgies a run for their money.
The orange plume does look odd. Taking the orange out leaves a B&W train in front of a yellow station, also odd. Maybe if the sky had some blue in it.

I suspect that some (most?) of the B&W shots on RP were converted to avoid bad color rejections. That was the case with my three.
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Old 07-18-2017, 02:19 PM   #6
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Why I don't post on the forum first.
I really liked the submitted image. I was going to point it out for this thread how it fit what I consider a good B/W steam photo, strong blacks, whites, lots of tones in-between and a vintage look. The problem I have with the color version is the station color and placement overwhelms the image although I admit it gives it pop and probably attracts views. Also the sky detracts from the star trail. A station colorized version would be interesting if allowed.

Lets see how it does during the day.

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Old 07-19-2017, 01:51 PM   #7
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Thanks for the inputs, guys! Based on this, my thinking is that the decision to go B&W was probably the right one. Unfortunately, the shot only pulled about 450 views in 24 hrs, making it by far, the least popular image from my recent series from the DSNG Charter. I continue to maintain my position that going B&W on RP is the kiss of death from a popularity standpoint. I'm just guessing that the majority of RP viewers were born into a digital world, and never shot a B&W picture, or looked at a B&W TV set. They likely see the moon landings as prehistoric. Gawd, now I feel really old.
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Old 07-20-2017, 05:21 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinM View Post
Unfortunately, the shot only pulled about 450 views in 24 hrs, making it by far, the least popular image from my recent series
,

Create images that make you happy. In the long run that's what brings satisfaction. The tastes of the crowd come & go. It is fickle. The work of many famous photographers went unrecognized for years until finally being "discovered." You time will come as well. Unfortunately, that time will likely be after you've died.


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Old 07-20-2017, 12:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noct Foamer View Post
,

The work of many famous photographers went unrecognized for years until finally being "discovered." You time will come as well. Unfortunately, that time will likely be after you've died.


Kent in SD
Being a 'known' railroad photographer carries the same amount of fame as an un-credited extra in a made for TV movie on the Hallmark Channel..



Loyd L.
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Old 07-20-2017, 01:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbassloyd View Post
Being a 'known' railroad photographer carries the same amount of fame as an un-credited extra in a made for TV movie on the Hallmark Channel..
Loyd L.
Yes, that's true, but at least when you're dead, SOMEBODY will think you did something worthwhile with your life, and you won't be completely forgotten.
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Old 07-20-2017, 01:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinM View Post
Yes, that's true, but at least when you're dead, SOMEBODY will think you did something worthwhile with your life, and you won't be completely forgotten.
If it takes a bunch of stupid train pictures to prove my life was worthwhile, I've lived my life completely wrong.

Loyd L.
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Old 07-20-2017, 05:28 PM   #12
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----------->
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Old 07-20-2017, 05:55 PM   #13
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Better to be remembered in this small way than to be remembered for all the wrong reasons:
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Old 07-20-2017, 09:07 PM   #14
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Keeping it rail rail related, remembered for wrong reasons:
Here are the headstone and final paperwork of Daniel Stott, station agent at Garden Prairie, IL.

Dr. Creamer was convicted and then pardoned under questionable circumstances by the governor of Illinois(things don't change.) The British did not take so kindly and he was hung as a serial killer. He was evidently proud of his work and proclaimed to be "Jack The Ripper" as the trap opened.

It is a long and interesting story, the wife testified and disappeared.

Bob Jordan
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