Saturday, April 30, 2011

This is how I roll.

Here's the thing. I love black and white photography. It reminds me of the days I was tucked away in a darkroom and was trying to master the dodging and burning technique. One part of me is missing those analog days a lot these days. Another part of me just loves recreating those times in Photoshop. When I look at it without getting all melancholic about it, I know with Photoshop I have a lot more control about the look of my shots then I ever had in the darkroom.

For me monotone shots go a lot further then a straight conversion in Photoshop and adding some curves. I love to make something out of nothing. Using those same dodging and burning techniques. Sure it takes practice to do this and it is hard to explain why I do certain things but I believe that if you've never had the chance to work in a darkroom, you have no clue what it takes to get a great print. Shoot some film, develop it yourself, enjoy the fun of darkroom printing.

So enter this photo that I took on Wednesday.
When you look a the original RAW file (above) you see that it's just an avarage shot. Nice foreground detail, ok-ish sky with a nice pink cloud in the sky. But I instantly knew I wanted to convert this to black and white. Don't ask me why. It's a gut feeling. I think it was partly because I had a lot of details and textures to play with. I liked the light on the distant hills. Although I knew I would have to tweak this shot a fair bit to get to the end result I wanted.

After the black and white conversion in Photoshop Raw – this time I used a lot of brushes and local tweaks for this shot, directly in the raw convertor – I started the selective dodge and burn process.

I usually work in Aperture, but for black and whites I often switch back to Photoshop. Because I feel I have more control over the shot that way and it is a lot easier to manipulate sections of it quickly. In the end I had about 22 layers rocking this shot. Everyone of which was tweaking little sections at a time.

Stubbled Pasture

So this was the final result. What do you think? Am I a cheater? Am I over processing or over thinking this black and white thing? Tell me,make a comment I want to know!
I know my printing style is kind of hard. But I like deep blacks and pure whites... and most of all, drama! Yep I'm a drama queen ... eh king, I mean king!