Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Black-and-White To The Rescue

When the colors in a muted image do not do justice to the scene you experienced, and no amount of optimizing helps, Black and White conversion can be a powerful tool.

This image was taken on a cloudy day with mist veiling the distant mountains.  While I could see the green of the trees and the blue of the water, the camera saw everything as a muddy blue, and attempting to optimize the colors just made everything look even more blue and dull. So I decided to try removing the color to see what it would look like in Black and White.

There are many ways to eliminate the color from an image. For this image, I used Lightroom 5. Lightroom has several different Pre-sets for Black and White conversions. I generally start with the Pre-set that looks best and then do more tweaking with Blacks, Whites, Saturation, and Luminance (the last two are in the HSL controls). Yes, you can still use the color sliders when working on a Black and White image. That is because Lightroom knows which colors are in the image, even though all you see is Black and White. So you can control the lightness or darkness of a color, and its saturation. This function gives you great control.

There are other ways to eliminate color from an image. Use whatever software you have to accomplish this.  Photoshop and Elements are not as good for this as Lightroom or Silver Efex Pro (formerly Nik, now Google), but if that is what you have, by all means use it.

Shutter Speed 1/200 sec.  Aperture f/16.  ISO 400.  Lens: Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS set at 70mm.  Camera: Canon 6D.  Handheld.

TODAY’S QUOTE: “Shades of gray wherever I go, the more I find out the less that I know. Black and white is how it should be, but shades of gray are all the colors I see.’  --Billy Joel

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