Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Mladenka in the Wind: Followup

I changed the picture I uploaded to flickr for "Mladenka in the Wind". Here are the two pictures side-by-side (top and bottom) so that you can see and compare the differences. Originally when I finished this picture, I was not impressed with the contrast and punch of the black and white version. Even though I added a little bit of split-toning in Lightroom, I was still unimpressed with the punch. It bugged me throughout the night and the next day (yesterday) so I sought help from experts who pointed me in the right direction.

In Photoshop I learned 2 new methods of processing B&W images using Channel Mixer and Gradient Map. Combined, you have a lot of control over how the B&W conversion/process works. The Channel Mixer allows you to accentuate a certain channel (red, green, blue or any combination thereof) and Gradient Map allows you to map the existing tones to specific black and white tones thereby creating more contrast.

So I gave it a whirl and when I finished the new black and white version of "Mladenka in the Wind", I replaced the old flickr picture that I uploaded from the day before.

That being said B&W is still challenging to me especially because the dynamic range of tones on the face are so narrow that in order to create contrast in the entire image I sometimes wind up brightening all light and highlights but consequently making the darker areas on the face too bright (because they are considered "lights") and blurring all highlights and shadows on the face. It's a fine line creating punch and destroying the image. I spend too much time on highlights and shadows in Photoshop to later lose all facial features to blown whites.

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