May in black and white

For the past year or so I’ve been studying black and white. Specifically using open-source software (the GIMP and Raw Therapee). It is very interesting to see how different elements catch your eye when you remove color.

Here are a few photos from the past few weeks.

Spring woods

True spring green: Sunlight hitting the trees as they start to leaf up.
Fern Cove on Vashon Island in Puget Sound.
Fern Cove's spring woods converted to black and white.
Converted to black and white using the GIMP’s built-in mono-mixer tool.

Do you think it still feels like spring with the color removed?

Siberian Iris

My neighbor’s irises.
Raw Therapee has a tool that allows you to selectively brighten or darken individual colors.
Converted to black and white using Raw Therapee’s luminance equalizer method.
Silver Effects Pro in the Nik collection has a lot of really great pesets. This one is called "Fine Art".
Converted to black and white using the Nik plug-in to the GIMP.

This photo, with two variations shows how you can get different effects. I couldn’t decide which of these two black and whites to choose. In one the flowers stand out more from the background but there isn’t as much emphasis on the design on the petals. What do you think?

Un-furling

This photo is almost a mono-chrome in greens. The contrasts are in brightness and the sharpness of the details.
A bracken fern unfurling.
Another Nik collection preset: Film Noir #3.
Converted to black and white using the Nik plug-in to the GIMP.

I chose this one because it is almost monochrome in green. It’s probably not a fair comparison because the black and white had the background darkened and blurred a bit. Maybe I should go in to the colored one and try to emulate that effect.

Spring Sky

Changing weather viewed over Colvos Passage on Puget Sound.
Simple de-saturation using the GIMP’s built-in tool.

I was curious to see what would happen to this photo that doesn’t seem to have much color in it. It was a surprise to see that the black and white feels a bit warmer than the original.

For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge and Brashley Photography’s Mid-Week Monochrome.

If you are interested in trying out these open source (free!) programs here are a couple of posts that might help: The photo processing tools on my belt.

10 thoughts on “May in black and white”

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