"Sometimes imagination is no more than randomness applied." —Piet Francke

― Scapes CritiqueBlack & White editing

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Matt Quinn
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Black & White editing

Post by Matt Quinn » Wed May 16, 2018 1:37 am

"What are your thoughts?"

Duck,

I learn by experimenting, taking risks, and failing, so let me go first and see what I can learn and whether this is what you had envisioned.

As you know, I am eager to improve my b&w photos; specifically, for me that means that the images will be strong but not extreme; attention-grabbing without any "special effects;' true to the scene so no introduction of items that were not there; full, smooth and rich range of tones; transitions that are not sudden or sharp unless part of the original scene. I like blacks that are rich and deep, midtones that glow and lights that pop. And I want to retain detail in the important areas but am willing to accept extremes in the areas that won't be noticed or are unimportant.

These reflections result from comments an instructor in an on-line course made about my images. Put simply, she wrote that I need to make smoother transitions in my tones, and try to create a "surreal" image that more accurately reflects reality.

With that in mind, here is the progression of what I did with the image. (My camera was the Sony Cybershot RX100, the original release.) I like the blacks on the trees and the detail that is evident. I like the grays in the leaves; on my MB Pro, however, it is hard to tell whether the massing of leaves in the middle of the image is attractive, distracting or inviting. I want the final result worthy of more that a casual glance, and, in the best of worlds, deserving lengthy contemplation.

Question, therefore: what specific steps should I take to achieve what I described in the second paragraph above?

Thanks. Matt

First is the original, sooc.
Screen Shot 2018-05-15 at 6.35.58 PM.jpg
Second shows what I did in PS:
Screen Shot 2018-05-15 at 6.39.07 PM.jpg

Third shows the final:
Screen Shot 2018-05-15 at 6.40.08 PM.jpg

The fourth shows full screen mode:"

Thanks. Matt
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"...approach the light as opposed to the subject." Stan Godwin

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Post by Duck » Wed May 16, 2018 3:47 am

Matt Quinn wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 1:37 am
"What are your thoughts?"

Duck,

I learn by experimenting, taking risks, and failing, so let me go first and see what I can learn and whether this is what you had envisioned.

As you know, I am eager to improve my b&w photos; specifically, for me that means that the images will be strong but not extreme; attention-grabbing without any "special effects;' true to the scene so no introduction of items that were not there; full, smooth and rich range of tones; transitions that are not sudden or sharp unless part of the original scene. I like blacks that are rich and deep, midtones that glow and lights that pop. And I want to retain detail in the important areas but am willing to accept extremes in the areas that won't be noticed or are unimportant.

These reflections result from comments an instructor in an on-line course made about my images. Put simply, she wrote that I need to make smoother transitions in my tones, and try to create a "surreal" image that more accurately reflects reality.

With that in mind, here is the progression of what I did with the image. (My camera was the Sony Cybershot RX100, the original release.) I like the blacks on the trees and the detail that is evident. I like the grays in the leaves; on my MB Pro, however, it is hard to tell whether the massing of leaves in the middle of the image is attractive, distracting or inviting. I want the final result worthy of more that a casual glance, and, in the best of worlds, deserving lengthy contemplation.

Question, therefore: what specific steps should I take to achieve what I described in the second paragraph above?

Thanks. Matt

Hey Matt, I took the liberty of splitting this post to a new topic where your question can receive it's due diligence. The other post was about discussing the critique sections overall and felt this post was out of place there.

As for your problem you presented; there are several parts to it that need to be addressed separately since there are multiple steps to getting the desired results. Overall, yes, the online instructor is correct when she says it's about controlling the tones in order to get the desired results. However, say that is what you need to do without explaining how to do it is like the blind leading the blind. Not knowing the specifics to your previous instruction I will move forward in my own fashion.

First, a step back to basic because by understanding the basics you will be able to follow more complex theories. I apologize in advance if I travel too far back into the basics for you.

A digital image is comprised of three images containing 256 tones of gray ranging from pure black (0 value of white) to pure white (255 value of white). Each of the three images are taken with three different filters that remove a specific part of the color spectrum. The results are three images of the same subject containing three different tonal ranges. The differences between the three images allows the computer to extrapolate a range of colors based on the three combined channels (RGB or 256 x 256 x 256 = 16,777,216 colors).

This comes into play when converting an image to black and white because within Lightroom and Photoshop you are able to adjust the various channels in order to control the lightness or darkness of specific channels. As you are discussing Lightroom you can see that Lightroom offers 8 channels to play with in the B&W Panel. This allows you to control specific color ranges of your image to fine tune the overall look you are trying to achieve.

Channel manipulation doesn't stop there either. In the Basic Panel you have two additional sliders to help adjust your black and white tones; the Temperature and Tint sliders. While not as subtle as the B&W tools, these two sliders can really alter the global look of a black and white image and often it may take a few back and forths to get a look that is pleasing to you.

That takes care of the mechanical aspect. The harder part is analysing the image and determining what and how much to alter the tones. For that I often suggest you find the subject and determine how best to present it. This in itself is a long course in composition and subject to ground relation, leading lines and so forth. Not getting too complex, once you find the composition that fits the image well, the tones need to be shifted to enhance that composition. Of course that comment is better demonstrated than explained in writing so perhaps a new video is in order. :-D
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Post by Matt Quinn » Wed May 16, 2018 5:19 pm

" Of course that comment is better demonstrated than explained in writing so perhaps a new video is in order. :-D"

Of course.

Thanks Duck. I knew a little of what you wrote as it affects photos taken with my Nikon or Sony. But my Leica M Monochom does not have any color filters. Only luminance. Does that suggest TWO videos? And, I wonder whether there is any difference between two photos taken of the exact same scene, one with the Nikon, later processed into B&W, and one with the Leica. Would that be of interest to you for me to try? If I could do it.

I didn't know about using the Temp and Tint slides. Thanks; that will help.

"This in itself is a long course in composition and subject to ground relation..." Okay, new terms, new concepts. What should I do about this? How do I learn this?

BTW, got very good news yesterday; the cancer is in full remission but I will still have to complete the full course of six treatments over the next 9 weeks. Although I know the crappy experiences that await ahead, they are not much of a burden in light of this diagnosis. Thanks for your generous help and concern.

Matt
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Post by Psjunkie » Wed May 16, 2018 6:16 pm

SORRY....This is off original topic But WOW..WOW..WOW, Matt this is wonderful news and I am very happy for you,,,always great to hear when treatment works for someone......hang in there and get it finished up..good Luck!!

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Post by Duck » Wed May 16, 2018 6:55 pm

Matt Quinn wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 5:19 pm
Thanks Duck. I knew a little of what you wrote as it affects photos taken with my Nikon or Sony. But my Leica M Monochom does not have any color filters. Only luminance. Does that suggest TWO videos?
Sure, complicate things, why don't you. As I understand it the Leica Monochrom does not use the standard RGB filters for image capture. This is indeed different than converting a color image since a traditional color image records the luminance values of only a part of the color spectrum per channel. Your Leica is designed to capture the full luminance range of an unfiltered image (or a single full spectrum channel).

Here is a simple explanation;

In order to capture color a camera needs to know what part of the color spectrum is being reflected back from the subject. For example, a red ball will reflect the red properties of light while absorbing the others. Because we are only dealing with three channels (Red, Green and Blue) there needs to be a way of determining other colors, yellow, for example. For that the computer uses algorithms by comparing the differences between the three channels. In this case yellow is derived from combining both the red and green channels. These three original color channels are created by recording the reflectance values (luminance) of the scene with a filter that removes different parts of the color spectrum. Since in traditional color imagery we are dealing with the combined values of three 'partial' recordings of the full spectrum the actual luminosity of an image needs to be calculated (or extrapolated) from these combined channels. Even if a color camera has a monochrome setting, it is still an extrapolation.

With a true monochrome system, like the Leica M Monochrom, there are no filters splitting the color spectrum to begin with so the luminance capture is a true luminance of a scene. This means that it won't react to the same type of processing designed for a three channel system because it is a single channel image.

Hope that makes sense.
Matt Quinn wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 5:19 pm
And, I wonder whether there is any difference between two photos taken of the exact same scene, one with the Nikon, later processed into B&W, and one with the Leica. Would that be of interest to you for me to try? If I could do it.

I didn't know about using the Temp and Tint slides. Thanks; that will help.

"This in itself is a long course in composition and subject to ground relation..." Okay, new terms, new concepts. What should I do about this? How do I learn this?

BTW, got very good news yesterday; the cancer is in full remission but I will still have to complete the full course of six treatments over the next 9 weeks. Although I know the crappy experiences that await ahead, they are not much of a burden in light of this diagnosis. Thanks for your generous help and concern.

Matt
Trust me, composition is a lifelong educational journey. Here is an example of how tone is influenced by composition and vice versa; Our eyes tend to move towards areas of lightness and areas of focal sharpness (that's why so much emphasis is placed on background blur). One compositional technique that utilizes light and dark contrasts is what is termed figure/ground relation and a perfect example are when you see the silhouette of a person walking through a pool of bright light. Henry Cartier-Bresson and his contemporaries used this technique effectively. When processing for such an effect, the tonal qualities are manipulated to add or enhance that figure/ground relation. Here is an example I recently posted...

Image

In this particular image I purposely darkened the scene to create a pool of light. If you notice the man's dark pants are within the circle of light while the light upper body is backed by the darkness of the background. This creates an effect of figure/ground relationship that when viewed as a whole we can see it is a figure of a person walking through a pool of light. Without this separation the figure would not be as strong, blending in with the surroundings. This, of course, is just one example.
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Post by Matt Quinn » Wed May 16, 2018 8:59 pm

Psjunkie wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 6:16 pm
SORRY....This is off original topic But WOW..WOW..WOW, Matt this is wonderful news and I am very happy for you,,,always great to hear when treatment works for someone......hang in there and get it finished up..good Luck!!
Thanks Frank. Really appreciate all the support from pM-ers. Matt
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Post by Matt Quinn » Wed May 16, 2018 9:59 pm

Duck, Now that I understand what it is, tell me how you did it. It seems to work well for a single figure against a broad background, like your walker or the stone or the barnacled piece of wood. Or architectural photos of large buildings against a blank sky. I wonder whether it works for landscapes like the trees photo.Thanks.

And thanks for the good wishes. Matt
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Post by St3v3M » Sun Jun 17, 2018 4:12 am

This is a fun discussion and I hope to learn more along with you! S-
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