Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Trying Something Different in Black and White Post-Processing

Any modern photographers will tell you that post-processing is very important, and is an integral part of the whole digital photography workflow. Only through experimentation and exploring different options can we discover new things, and learn to pick up what works for our own style and preferences.

Two cats and a bird



Health Concerns

After School 

Piercing eyes

Patient Costumer

Stuck with Mommy

Kind Stranger

Busy Market

Joy of being discovered

I won't reveal what I did for this set of images just yet. But first, what do you guys think of the "new" black and white look? 

17 comments:

  1. I'm a regular reader/follower of your blog. Always great posting. Just curious...comparing with photos posted on other blog (eg...Steve Huff). Your B&W is more of a greyish/sepia tone rather than true B&W.
    Is it intentional/your style? I'm viewing on the same PC...so it can't be my monitor fault....Thanks.

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    1. you were right, the warm tone is intentional.

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  2. I agree this is more sepia/grayscale, pretty much what I am use to seeing on you blog anyways. I am not as anal as many who need to distinguish the difference. I post process Black and White. It's my favorite method. Not for the drama or the evoking of emotional stimulation, because I simply see the world in Black and White. The good old American way, fella, lol! Would love to see your workflow as you progressively develop it. This process can be as daunting as color or terribly simple.

    Myself? I process my ORFs as a full color shot via the GAWD AWFUL slow OV2 (Oly Viewer. Why? Its like taking the shot over every setting in camera is right there. I love that). I adjust WB, Exposure, Distortion then shadow adjustments, maybe add or change a filter add an art filter, etcetera. I shoot color never Mono. However, if time permits I will view it on the LCD that way just to get an idea. I then tiff my ORF files and noise reduce if necessary. I am a fan of HDR but with a very realistic approach. No halos, over exaggerated details or burned out pixels. Software of choice? HDR Efex2 hands down best single RAW converter in the HDR genre. From there I port to Silver Efex where the B&W fun begins. A shout out to B&W Studio from Power Retouche which was my first conversion software.

    But Im curious if you simply use the tried and true methods of quick converting? LAB/CMYK/RBG? I love the LAB way. The L rendering usually is High Key and has some interesting renditions in the software I use. Or are you using the Adjustment Layer/Channel Mixer method? OK. Ill stop here and check back when you post your secrets! lol.

    Good Day

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    1. I also process my ORFs with viewer 2 !! It is slow, but the monotone files it produces are simply amazing. The richness of tones and there is that special feel to it (don't really know how to describe), I even have a friend from Australia who told me his Olympus OMD produces the most amazing black and whites ever.
      I like to add a little warmth to my black and white images. I am ok with them being pure, true black and white, but there is something about that golden, warm glow that I am drawn to. In Malaysia, the sun an be unforgivingly hot, hence it somehow evokes that feeling when I was shooting those images.

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    3. Don't own the OMD just yet but you have definitely stirred interest. You've already convinced me to get that 75mm and that was a purchase I have not regretted. Odd focal length or not. I love, yes love, OV2 and yes the Monotones have grown since Masters. The additional color filters is just awesome not to mention Luminance control a decent amount of color filtering (Chrome Yellow is a fave of mine for High Key/Overexposed B&W shots!) a lot can be accomplished with this under utilized software. It is and will be a staple in my workflow. Now if OLY could address the speed/batch issue.... While batching I use DXO but the color rendering *drools* has failed to have been duplicated by ANY software other Olympus's own. Now they seem to give the B&W shooters some more tools.

      Back to subject, I personally love the warmth you add it has a Cinematic feel that keeps me focused on one thing at a time in many of your busy Street shots. Two cats and a bird hands down is my favorite in this post and being an avid Flickr user and browser one tires of cat shots very quickly. But this one is amazing the cat in the gated doorway, in my opinion, dominates the shot. If it were in color Id probably focus on the bird instead. Good job!

      Again I like where you're going and personally black and whites compliment your Street genre. The filtering you do magnifies it. Good work man.

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    4. Ecclesiast,
      Thanks for the kind words. The 2 cats and a bird was a lucky shot, I saw the first cat climbed up the steel grill door, and the second cat came in. So I took a few shots and waited, then the crow flew in, so close to the cat !! But then the crow was huge, I think the cat must have hesitated judging the size of the crow. I was hoping that the crow would fly away, but it did not, it walked away from the frame (out of my composition) and flew. Or else a shot of the cat pouncing at the crow and the crow just took flight..... now that was something I had in mind !!! Alas nothing works as planned or envisioned usually.
      I agree, Olympus Viewer 2 gives the famous Olympus signature color. That is the prime reason why I am staying with it. I just could not achieve the same color tones with other softwares.

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  3. Look a bit like the old Neopan to me. You do process them all separately, right? The "busy market" shot looks more like Tri-X, but cleaner. I like the warm tone. I recall also some of the warmer Sepia tones you did in the past, those were nice too. The "piercing eyes" guy gives me the shivers, lol. I don't like what I read in his eyes.

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    1. Hey Andre,
      Yes I processed all images individually, and paid attention to each and everyone of them. This time I really spent a great deal of time and effort in editing them. I shall explain in coming entries, we shall see. Nothing surprising, but surely different than usual.

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  4. I can't really tell why, but I think I prefer your "normal" processing. Perhaps these shots lack a bit of contrast, or perhaps it's my natural aversion to change that's at play here...

    Nice photography, as always!

    Take good care.

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    1. Thanks Bert !!
      That was strange, I added plenty of contrast in this series !

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    2. Coming back for another look, I did notice something odd: your photographs look a lot better if I view them in an external viewer. Somehow, it seems that Firefox does a really lousy job at resampling the images... The images are a bit smaller (and a lot sharper -> much better microcontrast) when viewed externally.

      I don't know if there is something to be done about this, but it seems to me that it would be best if the page displayed the images without any resizing, thus preventing any further loss in IQ.

      Be well.

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  6. Love it! Gorgeous colour. Thanks Robin for a wonderful insight of art photography.

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  7. I'd prefer different processing, to tell the truth. But with whatever processing, the first image: two cats and a bird, is a simply superb image.

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