Wednesday, January 6, 2010

One Image, Two Views

Inspired by other photographers, online and in real life, I've been playing more with black & white photography. It appears so simple, yet can easily become complicated. There must be a dozen and one different techniques to create a black and white image.

This is another image from one of my Cheadle Lake walks. The original is a bad image, with an ugly, muddy background, and blown highlights. But I like the composition, and I like the subject. (Perhaps the better option is to return and shoot another image with better light and correct exposure.)

Ive been playing with gradient maps in photoshop. It's a technique I learned from a website link that Mike sent me. It's an interesting technique and it gives some intriguing control over the image. I've had better success with some other images, but it did a lot to salvage this one. I like the post and chain in the foreground, but the background is a lost cause. (Yes, definitely need to reshoot.) I've left just a hint of color to this image.

 On the other end of the spectrum, there is color and lots of it. Sometimes I see something in an image that just begs to be oversaturated. (Really, I don't hear voices...mostly.) This is a portion of the same image, highly saturated, heavily clipped and rotated. As a composition, I love how it turned out. It may even make banner status one of these days. It has the right proportions.

More of my b&w photography


  1. BlueKat:

    I am from the old school of photography. B&W to me is using film and developing the negatives myself. I have darkroom equipment and enlargers to do my own printing. I also do my own framing and mounting.
    I find that with digital B&W you don't get max D-max. I think the only printer that can come close to printing good B&W is the Epson 3800

    bobskoot: wet coast scootin

  2. Nice experiment Kari! I like doing B&W and with the gradient map method you have a lot of control. As Bobskoot says, film is good too but it's more work. Photoshop is a breeze in comparison. Next time you're in NW Portland, go to Pro Photo Supply and look at the B&W's on the walls.

    I like the roughness of the post and chain in the B&W. And the color shot is not oversaturated IMHO. The color is nice and rusty. The slight amount of vegetation adds to it too.

  3. I'm finding that lighting and texture are the two things that contribute to the quality of a good B & W.

    Listen to the voices. It adds to the adventure.

    The background seems fine. Looking at it, I find the items in the foreground are more distinct. A clearer background might take away from that. Unless you had another idea for the background?

  4. Hi Bob
    Wow, you can take it from start to finish! I did some photography and darkroom work back in high school (not that I was a good student). I didn't like developing the negs, but making prints was fun. And there's something about being "hands on" with real materials, that is missing with digital/photoshop.

    I still have my old minolta that was my graduation present. I was using it until I went digital in 2003. Might be fun to dig it out again.

  5. Thanks Mike,
    I agree it does allow for a nice degree of control. Have you clicked on some of the color gradients? You can get some wild effects that way. Think 70's psychodelic :)

    My co-worker (photographer) loves pro-photo. I've wanted to go there, but I hate driving in the big city - Especially downtown. (Sheesh! and you ride a bike there!)

  6. Hi Irondad,
    Yes, I'm starting to notice that too. The right light & nice contrast. Some images turn muddy when converted, others pop.

    I didn't have any ideas on the background other than I just don't like it. Overall I think it looks too harsh. I didn't like the light that day, and I guess that's what I see in the background-harsh light bouncing back at me. I need to go back early in the morning when the light is better.