Black & White Fence (Almost)

Don’t know if it is because I like color more than black & white (unless B&W is someone else’s photo, someone who knows how to do black and white photography) or I like breaking rules (just a little bit). Hope Cee has a sense of humor today because I’m entering this in her B&W Challenge: Fences. I enjoy looking at this fence gate taken on a frosty winter morning.

Wishing Cee and everyone else a relaxing weekend; enjoy everything you do. Please stay safe and get vaccinated if you haven’t already.

Black and White: A Learning Opportunity

I don’t convert many of my photo to black & white because I love color, but this one seems a natural for this week’s Lens-Artist Photography Challenge. What fun I had experimenting with different settings to make it just as I saw it, or thought it was, or what it should be. This week’s host, Anne, asked that we share our workflow so others may learn a tip or two. What fun.

This house was along an endless highway in South Dakota (photo taken in 2013) with nothing around it for miles. When I was cropping I was torn between wanting the house fairly large and close up and wanting to show the vastness of the landscape. This was the sweet spot between the two extremes. I shoot in color and converted the image to black & white in Adobe Lightroom (Version 4.0). I just read that shooting in color gives us a lot more data that increases tonal qualities when converted to B&W in Lightroom, as opposed to shooting in B&W.

The first thing I did was reduce the clarity just a little to give the house and ground a softer look – maybe a warn patina. Then I experimented with filters but they created too much contrast resulting in very dark house and ground, but I liked what the blue filter did to the clouds. I decided to not use a filter and try modifying the the blue/grey level in the color adjustments and found that worked really well. Decreasing blue/grey made the clouds warmer in contrast to the house and ground. I also used the graduated filter to decrease highlights in the clouds making them more pronounced. The corner in the center of the house was very dark, eliminating detail so I used the brush stroke on the plane facing right to lighten shadow tones while still leaving some shading.

I learn by playing with different sliders but didn’t keep any adjustments made after those I shared here. What fun to try lots of adjustments and then be able to go to history in the left column and go back to where I was most satisfied.

That is the technical aspects of this image, but what I keep thinking about is the history of this structure. It is a big house, was it a big family? Was it built in stages, with add-ons as the need for more space increased and the farm prospered? Why was it abandoned? I know there is a story hidden within these walls. The dark cloud overhead tells us that there were dark times within.

Trying to Make Them B&W

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I know how to turn my photographs into black and white, but I need to make my mind want to do black and white. I have nothing against the colorless mode and have really enjoyed viewing other photographers’ works in black and white. But when I make an image of the world, I don’t want to see it in black and white when there are so many colors hitting my retina and lighting up my brain. I even like the image of this boat, taken on the southern shore of Nova Scotia.

But the color is so much more interesting.

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I have spent a considerable amount of time post editing each image and then just looking at them, enjoying them. But I seem to linger over the colored image a little longer. That is how they have studied preference and recognition in infants, by measuring how long they gaze at something.

I would really appreciate hearing from all you photographers and those of you who enjoy photography to give me some feedback. Tell me which one you prefer and why. If you love black and white, share with me your thoughts of why this image does or doesn’t work. I’m looking forward to hearing what you have to say.