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Archive 2013 · BW skies
  
 
ctrout
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · BW skies


I want to start working with black and white a bit this year. I have been browsing tons of shots and one thing that strikes me is the great range of tones and contrast that some people are able to produce in their work. One of the most striking features of my favorite shots has been the skies. Many of them look nearly black even in daylight shots. I have tried working with some of my previous RAW shots and working with them in BW and just cannot manage to get anything near the same level of "pop" that I am seeing in some of the work that I have seen online. I assume that much of what I am lacking is post processing skill in BW. Can anyone share some technique or point me to some good tutorials maybe?


Jan 14, 2013 at 03:41 AM
Travis Rhoads
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · BW skies


For me, getting that black sky where a blue sky once existed comes from two things. First using a Graduated ND filter will darken the sky at the darkest places, and then playing with the blues slider in the B&W conversion tool in Photoshop. You have to be careful though, too much playing with that slider and you can get some banding in the graduated colors.

Do you have a sample image that you have tried to work on?



Jan 15, 2013 at 05:47 PM
ctrout
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · BW skies


I don't have a specific image. I am just finding that in general, my images really lack the impact in BW that I see in many images across the net. Skies have just been a specific feature that I notice more than usual. I suppose I could post a couple that I am currently working on that show some promise.





Jan 19, 2013 at 12:47 AM
Travis Rhoads
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · BW skies


the image of the barn shows that you were shooting more toward the sun, albeit more of a side angle, gonna be really hard to shoot toward the sun and get the deep blues that you need in the sky to get the dark skies in B&W. Shoot with the sun at your back.




Jan 22, 2013 at 12:21 PM
airfrogusmc
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · BW skies


Heres a few of mine. These first couple were done in processing. It does take some practice when first getting the exposure correct and then processing from raw to get the right tones and saturation for when i take it into CS4. Then its Image/adjustments/black and white then move the blue slider to the left and the cyan slider to the left until you get the desired effect. Be careful because it can get some bad artifacts in the skies especially if you haven't exposed properly and processed the images properly. I took me a while to get it nailed down and I still sometimes don't get it quite right.








This was taken with a Leica MM and an orange filter. No danger of those artifacts with this.


I hope this helps...



Jan 24, 2013 at 04:11 AM
ctrout
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · BW skies


This is what I am looking for but I am unclear on the specifics of your processing. I'm ok with photoshop but really can't afford or justify an upgrade from the version 7 that I am still stuck with. It's been working well for me for many years. I'm convinced that much of the magic lies in the processing but being brand new to BW, I am just struggling to make my images "pop." I know that it is critical to start with great, well-exposed images to begin with.

I think some of what I am missing is dynamic range in the original captures. I found a great shot with awesome DR in a forum (a single capture, not HDR trickery). I downloaded it and messed with it a little because I thought that it would make a good BW and it DID look great when I was done. I'm going to pitch a tent for a few days in the mountains this weekend and see what I am able to come back with. I'll post some of what I get when I get the chance.



Feb 01, 2013 at 05:27 PM
 

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ctrout
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · BW skies


Still not doing well on the dark skies but I'm lacking a polarizing filter. I did get out this weekend and tried to get a few shots. The skies were pretty featureless but I got practice with composition and BW processing anyway. Here are some results.










Feb 04, 2013 at 04:32 AM
airfrogusmc
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · BW skies


Heres some overcast skies and a few others that I did that I think turned out OK. Time of day is important I usually don't shot with a polarized filter.



















Feb 04, 2013 at 06:31 PM
ctrout
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · BW skies


They look great but as I mentioned after your last post, I don't know how to arrive at these results. I am using PS7 and I have the channel mixer tool that sounds like what you are using. I read somewhere that I shouldn't go any more than -20 on the blue slider or it may create unwanted artifacts. I have tried the channel mixer in all three channels to varying degrees and I just can't seem to get what I am seeing in your photos.

Can anybody give me any advice on this? airfrogusmc, if I sent you a raw file of one of my shots, could you work your magic on it so I can see if my files are even capable of the look that I'm after? You'd help out an E-7 Flyboy wouldn't you?



Feb 05, 2013 at 02:45 AM
airfrogusmc
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · BW skies


Yeah, send it. I will PM you with my email. I would recommend getting CS6. I am upgrading soon from CS4. The controls for B&W are almost a must to get these kinds of B&W images


Feb 05, 2013 at 04:46 AM
ctrout
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · BW skies


I forgot all about this thread but stumbled across it again so I thought I would post an update. I tweaked a bit and figured out how to get at least one of them to pop. A local arts publication actually even picked it up and published it along with several of the others that I posted in this thread above. Thanks for the help and inspiration all!



Dec 16, 2013 at 05:30 AM





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