Decades ago, in my film days, B&W as an art form was not something you converted to. It was a planned decision you made based on the subject. And if you wanted quality B&W you started with the proper B&W film for the job. As Ansel Adams taught it was all about pre-visualization; how did you want your vision or interpretation of a given subject to look? Every step of the way we had many excellent choices in films and B&W papers to create that B&W vision.
It was a big deal when I set-up my darkroom to print the B&W negatives I deemed worthy of printing. Then I’d spend an entire weekend printing, souping, washing and drying prints until the wee hours of the morning.
Our only choice for converting color images to B&W back then was using Kodak Panalure paper on color negatives, but the results were not very impressive. In addition, because the Panalure was a resin coat product it was far from archival due to color shifting (bronzing) and orange spotting in reaction to light. It was thus not a paper of choice for fine art printing.
Today in our digital realm it is amazing what we can create with color RAW files as our source images. I can now pre-edit (Adobe Camera RAW) make a JPEG convert to B&W (NIK Silver Efex Pro) and if needed do retouching cropping and noise reduction (Photoshop) creating a spectacular new rendition of my color file in 30 minutes!
It’s important to note that you’re not going to create a spectacular image out of nothing. As has always been the case you must start with a good image; the old adage comes to mind—You can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear!
A B&W result using my favorite software….
|NIK’s Silver Efex Pro-2|
This is the finished image with NIK’s Silver Efex Pro-2 using the B&W Push preset with some of my own tweaking. Then I used NIK’s DeFine2 noise reduction.
Here’s the original image after prepping….
|f11.0 @ 1/400 sec., ISO 400; Lens @ 100mm|
I always prep my RAW files in Adobe Camera RAW before I drop the resulting JPEG into NIK.
In this image I made these adjustments:
- Exposure…..- .20
- Contrast….. + 5
- Highlights…..- 88
- Shadows….. + 53
- Blacks….. - 72
- Clarity….. + 11
- Vibrance….. + 18
- Saturation….. 0
Note: I’ve learned over the years to take it easy when using Clarity and Saturation; two fo the most over used sliders in the digital world.
That’s it for this week…Have questions don’t hesitate to ask…’Til next week…
Author: Jerry W. Venz, PPA Master Photographer, Craftsman
Training site: http://www.LightAtTheEdge.com
Client site: http://www.TheStorytellersUsa.com
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