I experimented with black and white processing using the pictures I took of my love and peace rose yesterday for this week’s mid-week monochrome. The raindrops stand out more strongly in black and white.
The photos were all taken with a Sony RX10iv camera, iso 100 and aperture ranging from 4 to 6.3, focal length of 8.8mm (24 in 35mm equivalent). I use Raw Therapee to convert the raw files to images and do the initial edits then switch to the GIMP to do final editing, including the conversion to black and white.
A chance ray of sunlight lit this rose, making it pop from the surroundings.
I continue my exploration of chiaroscuro.
This is a Renaissance painting using chiaroscuro:
I took these photos yesterday between rain showers. One typical feature of chiaroscuro is the light coming from a specific direction. In this case the sky was a mix of dark clouds and blue, when the sun hit a break in the clouds it came between some nearby trees.
Detail in the bright areas
Another feature is that the brightly lit subjects have a lot of detail. Since I wanted detail in the highlights I chose what some would consider an under exposure (I used the P mode and set the exposure compensation to -0.3) and made sure the depth of field was great enough to get the whole flower. The settings were F 4.0, 1/320s and ISO 100 the focal length was 8.8 mm (24 mm 35 mm equivalent).
High contrast between the lit subject and the dark surroundings (a.k.a., tenebrism)
I used Raw Therapee to darken the shadows without loosing detail in the highlights.
Moving the photo into the GIMP, I made a duplicate layer of the image, switched the duplicate to multiply blend mode, adjusted its opacity then used a tone curve on the resulting image to fine tune the contrast.
I’ve started a little artsy-fartsy project for this month, exploring a method I learned of recently called “chiaroscuro”. It was coined during the renaissance.
Definition of Chiaroscuro
Painters of the Renaissance and Baroque periods wanted to engage their viewers. Like the cinematographers of classic Hollywood, they used the play of light and shadow to give life and drama to their images. The word chiaroscuro is Italian for light and shadow. It’s one of the classic techniques used in the works of artists like Rembrandt, da Vinci, and Caravaggio. It refers to the use of light and shadow to create the illusion of light from a specific source shining on the figures and objects in the painting. Along with linear perspective, chiaroscuro was one of the new techniques used by painters of the Renaissance to make their paintings look truly three-dimensional.
Because June has naturally bright sunlight and the shadows that go with it, plus lots of flowers blooming, I am using flowers lit by the sun. Here are a few I’ve done in the past couple of days.
How I got the effect:
I intentionally looked for flowers that were in the sun where the background was shadowy. To make the photos more dramatic I used post processing. First in Raw Therapee (I shoot in Raw) I intentionally recovered as much detail as possible in highlights, keeping them as bright as possible without blowing out details, and darkening the shadows. Then, in the GIMP, I duplicated the image to a second layer then used the multiply blend mode, then adjusted the second layer’s opacity.
Do you ever challenge yourself to a project?
For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Flowers. Seems appropriate, since this is intended to be a Fun Foto project! I’m hoping to learn to use the manual mode on my camera better and test out different post processing methods.
The rock rose was converted to black and white using RawTherapee, an open source program, and the Columbine was processed using the Nik Silver Effects Pro plug-in for the Gnu Image Manipulation Program (GIMP). I added a vignette and a focus blur in the GIMP.