Sunday, April 19, 2015

SmoothBW

 

Smooth Black and White

The post, Extreme Black and White, looked at B&W photography using just black and white with no or very few gray tones. In this article we will look at “smooth” black and white, using all or most of the tones available to digital B&W imaging. The images in this post are presented as JPG images with 256 shades of gray. That is enough to make well processed images appear gorgeously smooth and complete. Let’s start with a couple of examples.

Aircraft EngineThe Beast

What the two photos above have in common is smoothly painted surfaces, fine detail, and sharp focus. Than can make very nice B&W photographs.

Fine detail and texture can make photos come alive in B&W as the the next two examples show.

Common GracklePark Bench

Architecture has always been a favorite subject for black and white photographers. Image manipulation can be especially effective with such buildings and their environment. 

Atlanta Skyline

... live by the sea ...

Click on any of the images to see then larger.

Landscapes also can be very effective in well-processed black and white, bringing out dramatic skies is a popular effect.

Tranquil Afternoon

Indeed, black and white can be “smooth” and “gorgeous” with any subject that has a wide range of tones. The trick is “filling the histogram”, making sure that there are rich blacks and soft, subtle whites, and a full range of tones in between.

LJK_7666-X1-2000

Four-thirty in the Afternoon

Even flowers, normally a subject strictly for color photography, can look great in B&W.

Lady Slipper Orchid

A smooth b&W photo can make you forget that the color is missing.

Contemplation

Fine portraiture can be specially effective in black and white.

Horace 

Full tonal range, fine contrast, rich blacks, clean highlights, put those things into a photo and you have a fine image. If you have a compelling subject and draw the viewer into the picture, and you carefully attend to light and exposure, black and white can be smooth and satisfying.

This article was first published at the other Café Ludwig blog.

.:.

© 2015 Ludwig Keck

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Painterly Transforms

Painting in the garden was totally out of the question, the sudden cold spell and the cutting March winds made being outside quite intolerable. My artist friends had retreated into the studio and were milling about looking glum. This was my day to host the group. There was Gustav, Joaquin, Vincent, Paul, Claude, Emil, well the whole gang was here with nothing to paint. So I tacked up a recent photo as inspiration and broke open the case of cheap French wine. Things got going and enthusiasm reigned until I rang the dinner bell. They all came rushing to partake in my culinary creations. Artist!! Always hungry!

This is what was left on the easels:

What?!  You want the sober version of this story? You got all the way down here only to doubt …. oh, alright.

I was testing Dynamic Auto-Painter PRO 4. This program for transforming photos into painterly images has a huge number, ok, 48, presets that emulate the style of different painters, even individual paintings. There are seemingly an endless number of adjustments and options so you can individualize the effect and style considerably. Even during the running of the automated process intervention is possible. Quite a powerful tool. It runs moderately fast. Output size can be controlled and there are other options. You can learn more on the Media Chance site.

.:.

© 2015 Ludwig Keck

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Model Shoot

Model Shoot – Portrait Photography

 

“Hi, I’m Atra, your model for this portrait photography shoot.”

Black Vulture

“You call this a studio? Some dilapidated old lumber out here in the woods?”

“Well, the lighting is ok. Open shade works well on me.”

“So what is it you want? A formal full length portrait? That is a bit old-fashioned you know. You need a whole wall to show a print well. Most folks don’t have that much space.”


Black Vulture

What are you shooting at? Aperture at f/5 to f/5.6? That’s good for portrait work. Enough depth of field for my countenance and it softens the background.”
“And your focal length? 165mm, well that’s a bit long for people, but it works for us coragyps.”

“But look at those bright spots of light coming through the trees. They are distracting.”

“No, “bokeh” is not a good excuse. Move around a bit to get a denser background.”

Black Vulture

“Alright. How about an over-the-shoulder view. That shows off the great texture in my black plumage.”

“Go ahead, come in a little closer.”

Black Vulture

“But look at the background you picked now. There is a tree right behind me.”

“That’s bad, always bad for portraiture. Didn’t they teach you that?!”

Black Vulture

“A bit better, but this background is still too busy and distracting. How about we move over to that grassy spot?”

Black Vulture

“Now your cooking! We’ll make a photographer out of you yet! Soft background for me and still some indication of the natural environment. You know, I am a wild bird!”

“ Go ahead come in closer. Get my good looks large for folks to appreciate.”

Black Vulture

“What do you mean I blinked? I did not! I merely used my nictitating membrane to moisten my eyes so you get a nice catch light. That is important you know. Always focus on the eyes. And be sure to get a good catch light. Makes me look alive!”

BlackVulture

“Well, you did ok. I think we can call it a wrap. Besides I am getting hungry and I was promised a fresh, juicy road kill as payment for this gig.”

 

.:.

© 2015 Ludwig Keck

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Photographers

On the Hunt

Photographers are a crazy bunch. They are dedicated, opinionated, persistent, enthusiastic, and always looking for things and places to photograph. They can make captivating images of mundane trash and find new ways to show thrilling sights. They drag their gear into difficult places, at odd hours, and take unreasonable risks to get their shot. They turn their cameras on most anything, why, even on each other!

Here then, my pictorial ode to my fellow photographers. You may smile and chuckle and wonder what they captured. Why do they do all that? The last photo in this collection should answer that question.

So why do we stick to our hobby? It’s fun!

.:.

© 2015 Ludwig Keck