Tag Archives: black and white

Black and White conversion to the image “Island” (2)

In the last post, my photo, “Island” was converted to B&W by B&W conversion software, TrueGrain. This time, I will share how I edited the converted image. As I mentioned in the previous post, my inner vision I imagined was that the woods at the center was floating in the air, like floating Island. Now I have to make changes to achieve the concept.

At first, short grasses are growing around the island. I brightened this area to separate from the outer part (photo 1).  By the way, I used “Curve” layers of Photoshop for this type of changes.

Photo 1

Photo 1

Next, I looked at the forest at the other side of the river. The forest on right side of the island is brighter than left one so I darken the right side to make even (photo 2). It is a subtle change.

photo 2

photo 2

Then although the river is visible, it is too white and not noticeable. So I darkened the river (photo 3).

Untitled-3

Although the Island is main subject (center of interest) in this photo, the summits of the mountains are also an important element since they are acting as a complement of the main subject. So I wanted to enhance the edge (snow line) of the mountains. In this case, the brightness of the snow line was kept at same level, and the rocky aprt around the snow line was darkened (photo 4). It is subtle change but it is significant on print.

photo 4

photo 4

 Lastly, a tree was too white so it was darkened.

Let’s leave dodging and burning process at this point and see what will happen if I apply vignetting (Darkening or whiting corners). Before this process, I usually crop an image to appropriate composition and aspect ratio. For portrait works, I often use automatic vignetting tool equipped in Adobe Lightroom or Nik Color efex. But for landscapes, especially this case, I manually added vinetting. This is the original just after cropped.

L1050414-2 HP5 cropped copy

1.       Left bottom corner.

2.       Right bottom corner.

3.       Right top corner.

4.       I felt still not quite effective, so I darkened about 1/12 of the entire image from top edge.

5.       I see texture on a mountain on the left side. I Do Not want to see the detail. So the area was whitened.

6.       More vinetting on right top corner.

7.       Then mild vignetting was applied at all corners by Nik Color Efex to add retro mood.

8.       Still I did not see the impact of my inner vision so I added gradual neutral density digitally to darken the sky. Vignetting looks okay now. This is the result.

L1050414-2 HP5 cropped copy 08

Hmmm…it is getting closer but I still the Island is not standing out as I imagine.

So I tried another trick. It will be next time.  Stay Tuned.

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Black and White conversion to the image “Island” (1)

As I mentioned in my previous blog, I will share how I edited the black and white photo, “Island” posted in the previous blog.  First of all, I should talk about B&W conversion software I am using. Many photographers use software to convert a color image to monochrome image. It is very convenient since the software allows adding an effect of the color filter, (such as red filter for darkening sky or green filter for pleasant skin tone), mimicking many different types of B&W film, controlling grain level and adding toning such as sepia or selenium. Currently, I am using following three B&W converters.

Nik Silver Efex is the most popular B&W converter. It has many functions and some parameters can be locally adjusted by NIk’s famous “control points” method. Many types of film are listed for film mimicking. But I see “digital flavor” still remains. I would say It gives contemporary B&W image so I use the Silver Efex predominantly for my portrait works.

Topaz B&W effect doesn’t have film mimicking but is has many fancy toning so I occasionally use the software for toning at the end of process.

TrueGrain is very simple B&W converter; only I can do with the software are selecting a film type, adding an effect of the color filter, and controlling grain level. It allows modifying characteristic contrast curve of the selected film. It doesn’t have local adjustment or toning. Possibly, this is why nobody use (or knows) this software. But its film mimicking is very close to real film; it gives a kind of Lo-fi feel of the film. I use TrueGrain for my landscape photography since I would like keep natural feel to the images.

The original image was taken in foggy morning so the contrast of the entire image is somewhat low for B&W image.  I tried the B&W conversion with TrueGrain and I applied red filter but the sky is not dark enough and the “Island”, woods in the center of image was not standing out well. (photo 1)

L1050414

Photo 1

So I had to apply some preparation to the color image before the conversion. Now I should explain how the color filter works for B&W photography. When a color is mixed with a particular different color, the mixed color will be black (or white but ignore at this point). This is called complementary color. For example, the complementary color of blue is yellow; that is why a yellow filter darkens the sky. On the other hand, when the same color of the filter exists in an image, that part will be brightened. I use this idea to enhance certain parts of the image. This time, I planned using orange filter, complementary color of the orange is between blue and cyan.

First of all, I needed to darken the sky. So I have to select (mask) the sky and change its color to more blue / cyan (photo 2). Please click the image for larger view.

Photo 2

Photo 2

Next, I wanted to add a little more contrast to the trees in the island to enhance the drama and separate the island from its surroundings. Again I applied mask to the trees (Photo 3). Then the color of the trees were change to blue/cyan but the intensity of the change was not as high as the sky since I expected a little more subtle changes of the contrast (photo 4)

Photo 3

Photo 3

Untitled-3

Photo 4

At the same time, I felt trunks of the trees needed to be more distinctive, so orange (yellow and red) was added the trunks to lighten them (Photo 4).

Photo 5

Photo 5

Lastly, I brightened the whole island by “Curves” (photo 5).

Untitled-5

Now all preparation is done. Save the file as Tiff and convert the image with TrueGrain. I chose Ilford HP5 as film mimicking and applied orange filter. I added grain as well.L1050414-2 HP5

So this is the result. Please compare to the photo 1. Now the B&W image has more contrast and drama. Getting closer to the concept when I shot the image at the scene.

Actually, this is not done; real cooking will be done on the B&W image. It will be shared in the next post. Stay tuned.

Related post: Black and white photo – “Island”

Black and white photo – “Island”

This photo was taken in August, 2013 in Banff national park. I knew it would be foggy in the morning, so I prepared my camera gear for the next morning to shoot waterfowl lake. When I woke up, my tent was surrounded by mist. I rushed to the waterfowl lake. Well, usually, when I plan a shoot for a particular scene and am aiming a specific image, I don’t get images “I” feel wow. I sometimes say landscape photography is like Symphony but I have been thinking lately I still improvise a lot of time like playing jazz.
After I left the Waterfowl Lake, I drove up to Saskatchewan crossing. Then this scenery came to my eye. I stopped my car and snapped some shots. I didn’t apply any special techniques but I had particular final image in my head. The woods in the swap looked like floating island. Possibly, the idea was come from Japanese animation, unconsciously. I see it in black and white.

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Please click the image for the larger size.

Although the shooting was easy and quick, post-processing was a difficult delivery. I needed to start from scratch for 3 times to meet my inner view “Floating Island”. I am planing to share the post-processing I have applied to this in the next post.

This photo will be exhibited in my next gallery show titled “Wabi-sabi Wanderlust” in February at “Framed on Fifth” in Calgary.

A happy new year!

Fall trip to Kootenay Plains

Discovering a new location is always exciting for photographers. I visited Kootenay Plains first time in fall last year. Along Highway 11, I saw variety of sceneries. I am sure I can spend days to explore over there. In fall, aspen trees in prairies type of open land is beautiful and kind of unique to me. A difference from Jasper is I saw leaves of aspen trees turned to not only yellow but also orange in Kootenay plains. This year, i visited Kootenay Plains again. This year was wired. I saw both yellow and still green. Also some aspen trees had already lost their leaves.

Some people say not to visit the same place again and explore new places. But I like revisiting familiar locations. Things changes year by year; also something never changes. The picture on left is taken in 2012 and one on right is in 2013.

L1044100_DSC1522

By the way, Kootenay Plains is known to be quite windy. When I see motions and nice cloud pattern, it is time to try Lee Big Stopper ND filter. This image was from the trip in 2012, last year.


Windy day in Kootenay Plains by Hiroaki  Kobayashi on 500px.com


Windy day in Kootenay Plains
by
Hiroaki Kobayashi

Please click the image for larger size.

Portrait in Winter (4) – from the 2nd session.

I have being posting images of Jillian from the session in December. This time, I would like to share images from January session . The reason I wanted to repeat a photo-session with Jillian is that I could not complete all of my ideas in the previous session and also she is so beautiful, obviously.
I guess the mood of the session may have been different from the December session. Due to my mind set, the images are more casual and kind of candid feel to them. it may have been more relaxed; even Jillian brought up some photographic ideas. I LOVE to hear ideas from a clients. That excites me and I can keep shooting forever.

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Next image, while I was processing, this image reminds me the famous poster of the musical, Les Miserable. I did not expect this happened.

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On the other hand, I had an image of the next photo at the shooting and I specifically requested her to make a pose for this image. I also know I was going to make it B&W. I experimented some digital framing, and I chose the design of the film perforations to add classic feel. Do you like the framing?

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Please click the images for larger sizes, and please check other Jillian’s images in previous posts.

A weekend of the Calgary flood – Stephan Avenue

On June 20th, the most disastrous flood in 100 years hit in South Alberta. I woke up late in the morning of the day, I found some posts on Twitter talking about Canmore and Banff. Twitter posts were brief messages so I did not understand what was actually happening in Canmore. More people started posting on Facebook and I noticed the water level of the Bow River was drastically increased over night and houses along the river in Canmore were under danger of flood. Then the images on youtube were even more shocking. The Bow River was running violently. Actually, the high volume of broke the bridge on the highway 1 and access from Calgary to Canmore, Banff was shutdown.

I had a work to do at the other side of the city. I was driving on Memorial drive around 02:30 pm. The water level of the Bow River was very high but bridge pier were not covered by water. Actually people are still walking and jogging in the park along side of the Bow River. I remember people were talking about condition in Canmore and Banff, but not Calgary when I started my shift at 3 pm. But it did not take long for us to realize it was not unrelated disaster for us. The TV news was reporting showing horrible images of Bragg Creek, High River, and Bowness area was evacuated.

When I was going home from work at 11:30 pm, I saw many police cars everywhere. The Memorial Drive, which had been still safe 9 hrs ago, was now closed. Although it was nearly midnight, many people came out to watch violent river and take pictures.

Next day, when I woke up, Calgary was very different. All local TV news was reporting only the flood. Many areas were flooded and evacuated. Stampede Park was also flooded even though there were no more than 9 days by opening day of Calgary Stamped. I could not move from TV, not because I was excited by watching the news. I was just so shocked and lost energy. It was so devastating.

But I am a photographer. I could not stop the urge to document the disaster. But the images of the actual flood had been already published everywhere…hundreds of them. Moreover, I am not a press photographer. I was not interested in photographing violent water.

So I visited downtown on Saturday afternoon. All businesses in downtown core were closed but people could still access the area. The down town was really quiet, almost no traffic. It was like ghost town. Only I do remember is military truck passing my car. It was like one scene in a movie, “I am legend” but this was real.

 
Stephan Avenue on Saturday after flood - 4 by Hiroaki  Kobayashi on 500px.com

Stephan Avenue on Saturday after flood – 4

Usually, many people are hanging around on Stephan Avenue, the main street of the downtown on Saturday afternoon. But I saw only some cyclists and securities patrolling closed building. Also I think I saw some business owners came to their stores to check something before closing for days. Usually, I cannot photograph shadow like this picture in a busy normal day.     


Stephan Avenue on Saturday after flood - 2 by Hiroaki  Kobayashi on 500px.com


Stephan Avenue on Saturday after flood – 2

 Stephan Avenue on Saturday after flood -1  by Hiroaki  Kobayashi on 500px.com


Stephan Avenue on Saturday after flood -1 

All restaurant were closed, even Macdonald.  In normal weekend, people are enjoying beer and dining everywhere on the Stephan Avenue.


Stephan Avenue on Saturday after flood - 3 by Hiroaki  Kobayashi on 500px.com


Stephan Avenue on Saturday after flood – 3

More photos and stories are coming in the future posts.

 

 

Snowy afternoon in MAY – Bow Lake

I visited Banff, Alberta at the end of May. Unfortunately, I had a very cloudy morning, which is considered to be not ideal for landscape photography. But I believed I still can capture something. Then while I was driving to Lake Louise, snow started hitting the window shield of my car. When I reached to Icefield park way, I found a sign saying “The load is winter condition”. Again it was the end of MAY. Anyway, I decided driving up to Bow Lake, about 30 min drive from Lake, Louise. Snow was getting harder and actually trees covered by snow were pretty beautiful.

When I get to Bow Lake, the lake was re-frozen. obviously, I could not expect big shots. I was walking around the lake shore and looking for something to come to eyes. This photo is the one I found interesting.

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Please click the image for the larger size.

I used TrueGrain for B&W convertion and added structure and toning by Nik Silverefex. I would like to talk about my waorflow for B&W process in the future.

I really think my landscape photos are getting more subtle. How does this photo appeal to you?