This week’s “How To Do Stuff” will focus on how different High Dynamic Range (HDR), monochrome conversions can enhance a subject and draw attention to specific details that can get lost in a full color image. I’ve chosen a beautiful piece of machinery from the National Capital Trolley Museum, the Capital Transit Company (CTCo) 09.
While strolling through the museum garage, I noticed these odd looking brushes at the front and rear of a beautiful red caboose like trolley. So, I focused on the details and came up with this image.
- Monochrome in Beautiful B&W
The color image, though nice, just doesn’t seem to do justice to the brushes. And that’s the reason for this HTDS post. Many folks consider black and white photography to be the only true expression of monochromatic imaging. But, the definition describes it as art work or photography created with one color or shades of a single color. So, that leaves us with a very large potpourri of possibilities.
To start with, I used Image > Adjustments > Black & White in Adobe Photoshop and pretty much left the conversion alone except for a slight increase of the yellow to add a little more contrast in the brushes. I’m making global modifications to show that it doesn’t take very much effort to get some pretty interesting transformations. I added a small amount of sharpening and contrast to bring out the depth of the brushes and wheels of the trolley.
To add more of an artistic expression to the image, I loaded it into Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 and added a very slight Vignette. To warm things up I applied the Toning, Sepia 21 filter for that slightly warm tobacco stain look that seems to be so popular.This version turned out very nice with the warmer tones. So, not wanting to stop yet, I moved the image back into Photoshop for a final transformation into what we usually see as a Sepia tone photograph.I added an adjustment layer and applied Photo Filter with Sepia set at 90% and voila, the perfect, classic sepia toned image.
- Monochrome in Living Color
I’ve included a few additional monochrome examples using the Photoshop Photo Filter Adjustments Layer to show just how versatile monochrome techniques can be from an artistic perspective.
You can either navigate to the Photo Filter selections by going to Image > Adjustments> Photo Filter or by opening a “Create new fill or adjustment layer” on the Layers tab and selecting it there.
I’ve shown the color selections here. And, as you can see, there are many choices available along with the ability to select the strength. I’ve used nine colors at 50% intensity but adjustments can be made for more or less dramatic effects.
I normally don’t overdo it when working with monochrome. But, for a stronger statement, the higher percentages usually “speak louder” so to speak. :)The variations are endless. This is only a small sampling of what you can do with the Photoshop filters. I will be doing another post on this subject to cover the Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 variations and to showcase the strength of that software.
Equipment used: Nikon D700 with 28-70 f/2.8 lens set to f/16, ISO 3200. Manfrotto 190XPROB with 486RC2 ball head.