Technique Tuesday – Simple Techniques for Drama in Black and White Images

From a 2011 trip to China. . .

Never discount the ability to create effective photographs during a rainy overcast day!

On my last day in Yang Shao, China we were hit with some pretty bad weather. Instead of staying in the hotel, I traveled to a view point along the Li River to shoot some limited edition, fine art black and white images. I knew from experience that images taken on a day like this could yield dreamy photos with just a basic amount of dodging and burning once converted from a color capture.

My workflow for these images was fairly simple. I created a virtual copy in Lightroom, desaturated the image by dragging the Saturation Slider to 0 and then using the Brush Tool to selectively dodge and burn areas of the sky to make the clouds pop. Then, Jay Goodrich, my co-leader on this trip, opened the images in Photoshop and added an Auto Curves adjustment layer that, to my surprise, made the images just jump off of the page.   When I have more time than I do on location, I will further refine the black & white image by using NIK Software’s Silver Efex Pro 2 software.  This will allow  me to really fine-tune the image.

I am always amazed at how many ways there are to process an image to get the results that I am looking for in my pursuit of creativity.

2 Responses to “Technique Tuesday – Simple Techniques for Drama in Black and White Images”

  1. Neil Powell says:

    Great post. It’s cool to hear how others approach capturing their vision and then comparing and learning. Thanks, Art.

  2. Lynne Simons says:

    Beautiful images. Thank you for sharing with us how you accomplished the processing! I am about to learn Lightroom and Photoshop and this may help me immensely when I work on black and white images.

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