The Black and White Treatment.

Life is very busy at the moment – lots of distractions – and I am having difficulty keeping focus on progressing my photography. Often at times like this I go over my older stuff with the intent of giving the old stuff a make over – edit them in a different way to produce something new; I quite like messing around in Photoshop and Lightroom so this quite suits me, although some might say that I should just get out and take some different photographs but somehow with everything else (life) going on it is not always that simple. I am off to Normandy in a few weeks and I have great plans for that trip so watch this space. In the meantime I have been going over my old (2011) Northumberland photos and thought that I would share with you some that I have converted to Monochrome (mostly black and white but I do like the toned effect too) within the Photoshop plug-in Nik Silver Efex pro. I really like these – I wouldn’t be showing you otherwise – and they have had lots of positive feedback when I have posted them on 500px, Pinterest, Facebook, Fine Art America and Photo4Me, so I hope that you like them too.

Lobster pots stacked on the quayside.

Lobster pots stacked on the quayside.

Abstract river flow - water taking on a milky form through long exposure.

Abstract river flow – water taking on a milky form through long exposure.

Statue of Field Marshall Viscount Hugh Gough, K.P., GCB, GCSI, PC, who fought many campaigns oversees, now situated at Chillingham Castle, Northumberland.

Statue of Field Marshall Viscount Hugh Gough, K.P., GCB, GCSI, PC, who fought many campaigns oversees, now situated at Chillingham Castle, Northumberland.

Statue of Field Marshall Viscount Hugh Gough, K.P., GCB, GCSI, PC, who fought many campaigns oversees, now situated at Chillingham Castle, Northumberland.

Statue of Field Marshall Viscount Hugh Gough, K.P., GCB, GCSI, PC, who fought many campaigns oversees, now situated at Chillingham Castle, Northumberland.

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Warkworth Castle, Northumberland.

I love Northumberland and will go back there to capture its natural beauty again but converting to black and white or toning the images give the images a different dimension based on tone and contrast, light and shade rather than colour which changes how we view them.

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Rim-lit Bottle and Glass.

There are many subjects that I want to tackle at some point and this is one of them:-

A rim-lit bottle and glass – but I wasn’t sure of the best way of achieving it. I was flicking through this book looking for inspiration (not necessarily looking to fulfil this ambition):-

Photos that sell Lee frost.

when I came across the answer, or at least one answer (page 176), I decided to get to work. Lee Frost recommends a large backlight with a strip of black material covering the middle; I used a bit of black card instead as my black material was too heavy but I think that I achieved a pleasing result – here is my set up:-

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I have blinds in my studio and so I pulled them all down. Lee describes using “a couple of bottles of decent full-bodied plonk (knowing the contents would have to be consumed afterwards)”, I cheated; I used blackcurrant squash, and a cheap one at that! I didn’t drink the squash afterwards – it only has to look the part right?

I did take a light reading but this was only a ball-park figure as the light meter will give me a mid-tone (18% grey for those who need more detail) but I knew that I was dealing with extremes of the spectrum and not mid ranges – I tried various exposures around me metered reading until I was happy. Aperture was set at f16 so that I had sufficient depth of field and adjusted the strength of the octibox and flash head to get my exposure. I then tried a selection of compositions – the ones that I have shown are the ones that I was happiest with.

Post processing consisted of fiddling with contrast, saturation and exposure in Lightroom – I like to selectively sharpen my images so that large swathes of one colour, in this case black, don’t end up generating digital noise. I also made sure that I had absolute black when appropriate, for the same reason. I output my files from Lightroom as TIFFS in case I want to edit further in Photoshop.

I decided to try then as monochome images too; again I was pleased with the results:-

I created monochrome images in Nik Silver Efex pro. I gave each a different treatment; one has a sepia effect, anther a cool blue tone whilst the other two are black and white.

It is not that easy to see the subtle changes in treatment here but they can be seen in greater detail in my聽My 500px Fine Art Gallery聽here (the colour versions are there too).

Warkworth

Warkworth by paul2210
Warkworth, a photo by paul2210 on Flickr.

The river Coquet as it runs through Warkworth. This photograph was taken using a Canon 20D which had been converted for Infra-red. The camera was loaned to me (and everyone else in turn) by Lee Frost. I was on one of his courses in Northumberland. The IR camera gives a strange colour cast but I have made this one “Antique” Monochrome using Lightroom 5.