September 22, 2014

the b&w vs. color dilemma

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

After using the photo [above] as the header yesterday I immediately knew s-o-m-e-t-h-i-n-g was wrong. When I looked at again later in the day I liked it even less. Usually I like ALL of my children [my photos] but this one began to cause me considerable consternation. Something was wrong--deeply wrong… If you need to see the color version again, click here.

My first thought was that it seemed too yellowish, and as a color image it probably was. But then I realized the sky was that sickening sky-blue color that I so truly dislike. I often wonder why God made the sky blue--maybe I should ask her. The sky-blue color had to go. The yellowish tinge had to go. I finally realized I needed to convert it to a black and white image.

Now, for those of you who aren't avid Photoshoppers, let me explain. With the click of one button the image went from sickening to sweet, but it still wasn't right. I needed to darken what was previously blue substantially--and with Photoshop that is as easy as moving a slider for that particular color. In the non-digital days I would have known to use a red filter on the lens--just like Ansel Adams would have done to get his rich dark skies. You see--the red filter would have absorbed the blue light, making it appear darker. Essentially, the computer and Photoshop do the same thing, electronically.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Now, this is NOT a black and white. It has some subtle but beautiful [I think] shades of green moss on those tree trunks. To convert this into a black and white would have been a travesty. The photo speaks; "moss". If I had I converted it to a black and white it would have spoken; "blah".

That concludes your Photoshop lesson for today. Take the rest of the day off. Best regards, Don

Donald Kinney Quarterly - volume 2014 issue 3 will be available October 1
Donald Kinney Quarterly - volume 2014 issue 2
Donald Kinney Quarterly - volume 2014 issue 1


John @ Beans and I on the Loose said...

Good tutorial Professor Donald.

AphotoAday said...

Thanks JOHN (SINBAD'S DAD) -- Curiously you are the second person who has given me the moniker of "professor" in the past week. But the title is undeserved--you would understand if you knew how poorly I did in school. Nevertheless, with b&w vs. color--I barely began to cover the many aspects of the dilemma. I often regard b&w as the "easy way out", and photographers who insist in using it sometimes think they are current personifications of the great photographers of years gone by. The common downfall of a lot of photographers is their egos, IMHO. I struggle with mine most every day. Humility goes a long way. The day I start thinking I am actually "good" at what I do is the day my work will begin to suffer. We are all students, not professors--hopefully.

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