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Barley in B&W

Posted by
Ian Bramham (Manchester, United Kingdom) on 17 July 2008 in Plant & Nature and Portfolio.

I thought I'd try experimenting with yesterday's photo by converting it to B&W and playing with contrast and grain.

NIKON D40 1/320 second F/8.0 ISO 200 15 mm (35mm equiv.)

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Kylie Greenan from Richmond, Australia

This looks very different in b&w Ian, it looks like a sketch and I love it, excellent work!

17 Jul 2008 5:15am

@Kylie Greenan: Thanks Kylie!....yes, it's very posterised but sometimes it's interesting to explore something more extreme.

Vincent Bertrand from Montréal, Canada

I sure love that very sharp look on that B&W version, but I think I still prefer the colour version. Thanks for posting both, it's a very interesting étude.

17 Jul 2008 5:23am

@Vincent Bertrand: Thanks Vincent.....I enjoy experimenting with different ways of processing photos to see what turns out.

Quinn from Canada

I think the colour version is so much better I can't even express it. Experimentation is great, and fun, but why disturb perfection? :)

17 Jul 2008 6:04am

@Quinn: Hi Quinn!....well I love experimentation and that's the main way I have of learning about what works and what doesn't. Photoshop is much more difficult than photography but it can also be fun. I used to do pencil drawing when I was an architectural student and this B&W conversion appeals to that side of me.

The other thing that I've been experimenting with a lot in recent months is perception of depth in photos and this version is also looking a little more at that side of things. Something I often do to try and give a photo more depth is to proportionally add more contrast to the foreground than to the background. If you look you'll see that this B&W version has better depth than the colour one which I think looks very flat (the light was very poor on the day I took this)

Mirko Herzner from Mühlheim am Main, Germany

This works really good, Ian! The grain is a little bit too heavy for me but fits quite good here. I like pictures of fields and crops...

17 Jul 2008 6:12am

@Mirko Herzner: Thanks Mirko....when you're experimenting with processing you have to push your own personal boundaries from time to time. I realise that this won't be to everyone's taste but it was fun to do and I like the graphic stylised quality.

ordinaryimages from KY Bluegrass, United States

...but the same processing for depth could be applied to the color version. best...jf

17 Jul 2008 6:49am

@ordinaryimages: yes, you're right but I'd already processed the colour one by then. Also I find that with colour I prefer to be more subtle with applying extra contrast.

jkjond from Grange-over-Sands, United Kingdom

I don't care for the colour one much - nice shot, but nothing to make me stop and look. I find the composition confusing in that one - a drab pole dominating a fairly bland scene, though the sky in the top right helps it along.

But this black and white is a completely different image. The pole takes on a secondary support role to break what could otherwise be a monotonous image. It is the reverse of what you usually strive for - that rock/bike/person as a foreground interest to the main subject - here you use the post as a background interest to the main act. There's so much more to appreciate in the richness and contrasts within this version than in the colour one.

... and if you can't have grain in a shot of grain, then when can you use it??? :~)

Drab light today - stacking experiment on hold. :-[

17 Jul 2008 7:43am

@jkjond: Hi John.....I should really have waited for another day when the light was better to take this but as you know the weather has been very rainy recently with lots of overcast grey clouds. There's definitely something about these simple power lines that is photogenic (I lreally iked your hill top photo in the lakes with the power lines)

António Pires from Lisbon, Portugal

The centers of interest for the two images are different; in the colour version is the sky, for the b&w the center is barley. Interesting how the post of the power line plays a non-negligible role in the composition.
The b&w version is stronger due to the increased contrast of the foreground.

17 Jul 2008 9:28am

@António Pires: Thanks António...I find it really interesting how very simple presentation changes in Photoshop can change the perception and emphasis of an image.

Lorraine from Gatineau, Canada

I probably would have loved it, if I hadn't seen yesterday's...sorry you can't beat yesterday's ;)

17 Jul 2008 10:14am

@Lorraine: Thanks Lorraine.....I know your first love is colour!

MadScientist from Düsseldorf, Germany

Today's shot might not be more beautiful than yesterday's one but I think it's more powerful. The greyish yellow tones of yesterday produce a dreamy, surreal effect, but your image of today is like a memory from childhood. I prefer the B/W version.

17 Jul 2008 3:24pm

Michael Rawluk from Prince George, Canada

I prefer yesterday's but as jkjond said, "if you can't have grain in a shot of grain, then when can you use it?"

17 Jul 2008 3:39pm

Paolo from Udine, Italy

I subscribe the comments by jkond and António Pires, I prefer the BW


17 Jul 2008 5:13pm

Viewfinder from Bradenton, United States

These are both so good. I love the warmly muted colors of yesterday's image. But today's has a crisp starkness in BW that is definitely compelling. I'd say this shot works really well either way, and I'd frame them both side by side.

17 Jul 2008 7:48pm

treehouse from whale beach, Australia

yeah i like this edit. The white border helps it too. this kind of shot would look awesome printed on paper (not photo paper, but paper).

18 Jul 2008 12:40am

Lorena from Fort Myers, United States

I really like what you did. It reminds me of good old film pictures...

23 Jul 2008 3:16pm

1/320 second
ISO 200
15 mm (35mm equiv.)