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Author Topic: photographing in black and white and in color  (Read 71801 times)

Isaac

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Re: photographing in black and white and in color
« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2015, 07:51:08 pm »

Also, I am slightly boggled by the laissez faire attitude toward color versus b&w. To me, they're totally different things…

Given a digital camera that will record colour, what do you [do] to record the best raw file for b&w that's different from what you would do to record the best raw file for colour?
« Last Edit: March 18, 2015, 12:19:59 pm by Isaac »
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mezzoduomo

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Re: photographing in black and white and in color
« Reply #21 on: March 17, 2015, 08:39:35 pm »

Given a digital camera that will record colour, what do you to record the best raw file for b&w that's different from what you would do to record the best raw file for colour?

I let the camera record a raw file and a B&W jpeg at the same time. Some cameras (e.g., Leica X) do a fabulous job with the B&W jpegs. I then have my choice of the jpeg or converting the raw file to B&W. The raw file conversion to B&W seldom beats the Leica B&W jpeg...at least IMHO.
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Isaac

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Re: photographing in black and white and in color
« Reply #22 on: March 18, 2015, 02:24:25 am »

You don't seem to mention whether you use the camera to make colour pictures, nor answer the question that was asked.
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Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: photographing in black and white and in color
« Reply #23 on: March 18, 2015, 04:19:22 am »

I let the camera record a raw file and a B&W jpeg at the same time. Some cameras (e.g., Leica X) do a fabulous job with the B&W jpegs. I then have my choice of the jpeg or converting the raw file to B&W. The raw file conversion to B&W seldom beats the Leica B&W jpeg...at least IMHO.

Hi,

That would depend on what one means with "The raw file conversion to B&W".
It could mean:
1. - converting the luminance component of the colour image to a monochrome image
2. - converting the luminance component of the colour image to a monochrome image, after first changing the Whitebalance
3. - converting the luminance component of the colour image to a monochrome image, after first changing the colour balance
4. - converting the luminance component of the colour image to a monochrome image, after first changing the colour balance, and with added (e.g. Quad-)toning

There are some great tools to really improve the 'conversion' process. I like Topaz Labs Black and White effects, but have also heard positive comments about Google/Nik Silver efex Pro.

Cheers,
Bart
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Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: photographing in black and white and in color
« Reply #24 on: March 18, 2015, 04:26:42 am »

I can't make sense of the initial quote. B&W is, to my eye, far more likely to be about chiaroscuro than color is, and isn't that "illumination"?

Hi,

There is more to it. There is tonal contrast from the subject reflections, augmented by the lighting contrast. When we start with a colour image, we can still change the subject's tonal contrast, like adding a yellow or orange filter for enhancing clouds in an image but now after the fact. This allows us to fine-tune the strength of the 'filter' for the optimum result. The power of that tonal adjustment is immense!

Cheers,
Bart
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SanderKikkert

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Re: photographing in black and white and in color
« Reply #25 on: March 18, 2015, 06:49:35 am »

If it was always the case it could indicate a lack of vision, in the sense that the photographer don't previsualize his/her shot in BW (or color) while shooting.

I flatter myself, I have some vague understanding of how little I know about the huge world that is photography; so let me ask you -- What prizes are awarded only to photographers who "previsualize his/her shot in BW (or color) while shooting"?

+1, enlighten us Diego, sure there are photographers who at the very least claim in interviews that they know beforehand what a shot is going to be like, but claiming that those who dont 'possibly lack vision'....hmmm.

In many situations, but especially quickly changing light and lots of moving clouds, I think and have experienced it is well possible that changes in the light falling on a subject dictate a different 'best' choice of processing the raws later on (B/W vs Colour), no way on earth to tell that beforehand.
Which is not to say of course that there are (stable) situations concievable where one might choose or expect to capture a subject with a B/W rendering in mind and even then one might look back at the the final result and conclude on comparison that the coloured version looks better. I remember a posting here of a crashing wave on a rocky coast where the remaining, yet minimal, colour of the dark blue water gave an unbeatable edge to the coloured original, at least that was the consensus, nothing wrong with not agreeing  ;)

Regards, Sander
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mezzoduomo

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Re: photographing in black and white and in color
« Reply #26 on: March 18, 2015, 09:55:41 am »

Hi,

That would depend on what one means with "The raw file conversion to B&W".
It could mean:
1. - converting the luminance component of the colour image to a monochrome image
2. - converting the luminance component of the colour image to a monochrome image, after first changing the Whitebalance
3. - converting the luminance component of the colour image to a monochrome image, after first changing the colour balance
4. - converting the luminance component of the colour image to a monochrome image, after first changing the colour balance, and with added (e.g. Quad-)toning

There are some great tools to really improve the 'conversion' process. I like Topaz Labs Black and White effects, but have also heard positive comments about Google/Nik Silver efex Pro.

Cheers,
Bart

Hello Bart,

I wish I knew exactly what you're talking about, but alas....

I have had some luck with the Nik Silver Efx, but my fiddling with color filters, and all the pre-sets and sliders therein usually amounts to nothing, at least nothing that pleases me more than the Leica B&W jpeg straight out of the camera.

Maybe Isaac will google and post a link that will shed some light on the technical aspects you refer to above.
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amolitor

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Re: photographing in black and white and in color
« Reply #27 on: March 18, 2015, 10:08:34 am »

When I'm holding the camera with intent to shoot, I'm either shooting color or b&w. Frames shot in one mindset rarely make much sense when converted to the other. Unless they're shot as snaps in the first place, then it doesn't much matter, often.

Your mileage may vary. I find color to be very hard to do, anyways.
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mezzoduomo

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Re: photographing in black and white and in color
« Reply #28 on: March 18, 2015, 10:10:13 am »

You don't seem to mention whether you use the camera to make colour pictures, nor answer the question that was asked.

Aren't your raw files 'colour pictures'?
And the only answer I can muster to the question is this: 'Over-expose a bit....like 1 stop or less'.
There are certainly more informed participants here than I am on that sort of question. And of course you can Google the answer if you haven't already done so.
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Isaac

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Re: photographing in black and white and in color
« Reply #29 on: March 18, 2015, 11:55:58 am »

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Diego Pigozzo

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Re: photographing in black and white and in color
« Reply #30 on: March 18, 2015, 11:59:01 am »

B&W is, to my eye, far more likely to be about chiaroscuro than color is...

I think than B&W is more about removing distracting elements (that is, colors) than about the specific photo content.
A good example can be seen comparing Migrant Mother with Afghan Girl: while colors has quite a role in the latter, the former would probably be worsen by the color.

In fact, many tried to color Migrant Mother, and I think the original is far better.


Also, I am slightly boggled by the laissez faire attitude toward color versus b&w.
I'm too, but it's a personal thing in the sense that I'm boggled when I do not try to choose beforehand if a shot is a B&W or a color one.
Others may not be boggled at all by this.

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Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: photographing in black and white and in color
« Reply #31 on: March 18, 2015, 12:08:57 pm »

Hello Bart,

I wish I knew exactly what you're talking about, but alas....

I have had some luck with the Nik Silver Efx, but my fiddling with color filters, and all the pre-sets and sliders therein usually amounts to nothing, at least nothing that pleases me more than the Leica B&W jpeg straight out of the camera.

Hi,

Just like B/W film, our sensors have a certain color sensitivity that is not uniform across the spectrum. Therefore colors, even if they have the same visual brightness, will translate to different shades of gray, depending on that sensor sensitivity.

We can modify that response by using a colored filter (attenuates certain colors and lets others pass, causing darker or lighter shades of gray) on our lens, but then we are limited to just a limited number of fixed choices. When we filter at Raw conversion time (by gently changing Whitebalance or even more drastically changing colorbalance), we can fine-tune much more precisely how certain colors will contrast as shades of gray. This allows to bring out e.g subtle shades of green/yellow as clearly visible different shades of gray, which would make a landscape much more detailed. We can also do the opposite is it distracts from another more important subject in the image.

Cheers,
Bart
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Isaac

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Re: photographing in black and white and in color
« Reply #32 on: March 18, 2015, 12:09:48 pm »

Frames shot in one mindset rarely make much sense when converted to the other.

So it's your mindset when taking the photo that's different, not your camera settings?
« Last Edit: March 18, 2015, 12:36:59 pm by Isaac »
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mezzoduomo

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Re: photographing in black and white and in color
« Reply #33 on: March 18, 2015, 12:22:29 pm »

Hi,

Just like B/W film, our sensors have a certain color sensitivity that is not uniform across the spectrum. Therefore colors, even if they have the same visual brightness, will translate to different shades of gray, depending on that sensor sensitivity.

We can modify that response by using a colored filter (attenuates certain colors and lets others pass, causing darker or lighter shades of gray) on our lens, but then we are limited to just a limited number of fixed choices. When we filter at Raw conversion time (by gently changing Whitebalance or even more drastically changing colorbalance), we can fine-tune much more precisely how certain colors will contrast as shades of gray. This allows to bring out e.g subtle shades of green/yellow as clearly visible different shades of gray, which would make a landscape much more detailed. We can also do the opposite is it distracts from another more important subject in the image.

Cheers,
Bart

Thx, Bart. I will be experimenting with these ideas, for sure. 
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Isaac

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Re: photographing in black and white and in color
« Reply #34 on: March 19, 2015, 05:52:43 pm »

Also, I am slightly boggled by the laissez faire attitude toward color versus b&w. To me, they're totally different things, and it's instantly obvious whether a picture should be b&w or color.

I'm too, but it's a personal thing in the sense that I'm boggled when I do not try to choose beforehand if a shot is a B&W or a color one.


This photo is well known: Island of Sifnos, Greece, 1961.

Cartier-Bresson also made a colour photo "Island Houses, Greece, 1961", apparently from the same position, without the child and showing the sky above the leftmost building ("Henri Cartier-Bresson – Here and Now", page 221).

Given the capabilities of digital cameras, wouldn't Cartier-Bresson have passed raw files to a retoucher who may well have processed the well-known "Island of Sifnos" photo in both colour and b&w?
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affu933

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Re: photographing in black and white and in color
« Reply #35 on: March 21, 2015, 08:40:34 am »

Yups, i love to do that, because it seems much classy... love that effect
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Diego Pigozzo

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Re: photographing in black and white and in color
« Reply #36 on: March 21, 2015, 01:58:30 pm »

Yups, i love to do that, because it seems much classy... love that effect
To do what?
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Isaac

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Re: photographing in black and white and in color
« Reply #37 on: March 23, 2015, 02:08:45 pm »

Frames shot in one mindset rarely make much sense when converted to the other.

Well --

Quote
Very few, if any images (especially the disembodied, decontextualized artifact/arty-fact we call the photograph) make sense when read as a single image. … The important question to ask is not, "Does the work say what I wanted it to say?" Instead ask, "Can I take responsibility for what it is saying?" … from time to time, one will receive new insights and learn new things when one engages with a medium. … Sometimes your pictures will closely correspond to your pre-visualized notion. Sometimes they will be vastly different.
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NancyP

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Re: photographing in black and white and in color
« Reply #38 on: April 01, 2015, 05:41:16 pm »

Harsh lighting? Try B&W. Subtle lighting? Try thinking about color.
In the film days, I shot B&W because it was cheaper and I could do the processing myself. Pure pragmatism.
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Diego Pigozzo

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Re: photographing in black and white and in color
« Reply #39 on: April 08, 2015, 10:09:57 am »

Harsh lighting? Try B&W. Subtle lighting? Try thinking about color.

Mmmm... not so sure... https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
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