Glen Goffin Photography

Thursday, January 28, 2010

84 B&W Ramblings

Sensible: What is it you want, exactly!?

Glen: ummm ... well what I REALLY want is a simple technique that makes my well lit, properly colored pics turn into luscious B&W images that just ooze with delicious silvery drama.

Sensible:  Yeah, well, good luck with that.  You might wanna try the K-Mart down in ... ummm ... Ulaanbataar.

Glen:  Is that near Doylestown?  Duh, nice try. Even I know the K-Mart actions are just cheap Chinese knock-offs. Meanwhile ... I'll accept a technique that lets me tweak a few knobs to get somewhere close to that in ... say ... 2 minutes :D

Sensible:  We're approaching planet Reality now.

Glen:  But I never got my in-flight drink ...?

Sensible: What control do you need to get this ... errr ... "silvery drama" thingy you're looking for?  I assume it will involve -
    a. Control of tone-to-gray mapping
    b. Vignetting, toning, grain, yada yada
    b. Dodge and burn control
    c. Control of local and global contrast

Glen:  I think it comes down to the tone mapping.  I can do all the other stuff pretty fast the old fashioned way.  What I need is a technique that corrects any and all color problems and then does the perfect tone-map to B&W.  Of course, the tone-mapping will need to be different for landscapes ... portraits ... yada yada

Sensible:  I'll get back to you.

Glen:  Yeah, that's pretty much what I thought. Meanwhile, here is an example of an image that needs better technique.

Boy with Camera Banner


Woody said...

I'm lazy. I usually do B&W in Lightroom. I even downloaded some (free) presets to help.

Once you're happy with the adjustments, print one on metallic paper. I have a nice B&W shot of Lake Galena printed on this in my office, above my TV. Please come by and check it out!

Woody said...

Another thought came immediately after I hit publish. Have you looked into gimp? I hear it's good, but I've not tried it ... yet.

Scott McQ said...

You've been wildly posting since I last checked and it looks like you're way beyond the questions you asked on my previous comment.
I'm relying mostly on tone mapping. But as you indicated it doesn't always give the pop I'm looking for - close.
One thing that bugs me is the color of the grey (sounds dumb, but that's how it sounds in my head). In the old days the color/tone of the B&W image came from the paper and the toner. I had the paper/toner combination that I loved. Now I find myself adding a selenium tone to my finished B&W conversions to give it the final look I like. Something you might like to play with. I have some formulas at home for different toner combinations - let me know if you want them.

Scott McQ said...

Oh - one more thought. You said you're shooting in JPG instead of Raw. It might be worth trying a shot in each and seeing if you get a better conversion from the RAW than you're getting from JPEG. The JPEG is pre-processed and doesn't have as much information as the RAW will have - so it may convert more to your liking.
Think I'll give that a shot.