Category Archives: photography

Echos of light

Mirrors

A fancy old mirror seems like it just needs a story to go with it.
Mirror, mirror on the wall…
A broken mirror found in the desert.
Self portrait in a broken mirror.
Sunset in the rear view mirror.

Reflections

Sometimes nature provides the mirror.

Clouds reflected in the Columbia River at Cascade Locks, Oregon.
Dramatic sky reflected in Puget Sound.
Trees at Fern Cove on Vashon Island, reflected in the tide flats.
Sky and trees in the wet tide flats at Fern Cove on Vashon Island.
Reflection lakes at Mount Rainier.
The mountain.

For Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge: Reflections and Mirrors. To convert to black and white I used the GIMP for some and Nik Silver Effects Pro for others.

The originals:

Colorless love and peace

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.

Bud of the heirloom rose, love and peace, turned to black and white using the GIMP.
This bud’s for you.
The love and peace rose in full bloom. The black and white treatment is in the GIMP.
In full glory.

These were changed into black and white using the GIMP. A post describing the technique I used is: Mountain landscapes in black and white.

The color images are:

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.

The other side of the mountain

 Naches River in Eastern Washington, Even though the river flows through the land is arid and there are few trees.
I always seem to pull over in this spot.
Scenery along the Naches is absolutely gorgeous, whether in color or black and white.
Naches River in Eastern Washington

We took the long way home from The Mountain last week, in order to get some apricots in Eastern Washington. The climate on the far side of the mountain is quite dry and the landscape is stark compared to the lush near rain forests on the western side, but it is beautiful none-the-less.

I think the landscapes have a classic, timeless look in black and white.

These were turned into black and white using the GIMP, open-source software. I used the same methods as I did for the post: Mountain landscapes in black and white.

For Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge: Fields and landscapes.

The color images:

Mountain landscapes in black and white

As I mentioned we went to The Mountain last week. (“The Mountain” is Mount Rainier.) Inspired in part by the old black and white photos on the walls of Paradise Inn and in part by the Lens Artists Photo Challenge for this week, I’ve spent some time experimenting with photos from our trip in black and white (a gallery with the color photos is at the end of the post for comparison).

The Mountain is classic, which makes it a great subject for black and white. Every year is both the same and different, depending on the weather and when we can get reservations. This year was on the early side, although the hot weather we had last month sped up snow melt some.

View of The Mountain from Kautz Creek, just inside the Nisqually Entrance.
Myrtle Falls at Paradise.
Tatoosh range from a trail at Paradise.
Clouds and mountains.
Reflection Lakes at Mount Rainier.
Stevens Creek

In this post I have focused on landscapes, on my other blog I posted some black and whites of wildflowers from last week using the same processing methods: Mount Rainier wildflowers in black and white.

How to get the look:

For these photos I used the Gnu Image Manipulation Program, a.k.a., the GIMP to create the black and white images. I used two different tools, both found in the Desaturate submenu of the Colors menu: Desaturate and Color to gray. I put the color to gray image over the desaturated one and experimented with different blend modes. In the cases above I chose the soft light mode. Then I adjusted the opacity of the color to gray layer to get the effect I liked.

The steps were:

  • Load the image.
  • Resize the image and sharpen it (resizing usually softens an image).
  • Fine tune the tone and contrast using either the levels or the tone curve (black and white often looks better if the contrast is greater and the whole range from black to white is used). In the photo of the falls I used layer masks to use different settings for the falls, which were in shadows.
  • Make two duplicates of the adjusted image.
  • For the top layer I used the Color to gray filter (Colors>Desaturate>Color to gray). Adjusting the parameters to suit the image.
  • On the lower layer I used the Desaturate tool (Colors>Desaturate>Desaturate). I tried all of the methods available and chose the one best suited to the photo.
  • For the Color to gray layer I changed the layer mode and adjusted it’s opacity.
  • I added a vignette to some of the photos.

If you are interested in trying out the GIMP (a free, open-source program) for black and white here is a post that explores some of the tools available: Black and white digital photo processing using the GIMP.

Color images used for this post:

One-to-Three Photo Processing Challenge

One-to-three is a monthly photo processing challenge on my other web site, theSquirrelChase.com. I’d love to have you join in: The challenge is simple: take one photo and get creative with it by processing it three different ways. Then share the results, with a link to this month’s post. I’ll do a start up post on the first of each month and at the end of the month I’ll do a round up, so we can all share in the creativity and fun.

Here’s my July 2020 contribution:

How to get the looks above:

I did four instead of three. These all use open source software: the GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program) and the G’mic plug-in for the GIMP.

The top row is filters built into the GIMP: Both the Cartoon and Simple linear iterative clustering are found in the Filters menu. Filters>Artistic>Cartoon and Filters>Artistic>Simple linear iterative clustering.

The second row uses two G’mic filters. Both dream smoothing and Kuwahara are in the Artistic group. Filters>G’MIC-Qt>Artistic.

Here is the original image:

Bright clouds over the Olympic Mountains just after sunset on Puget Sound.
Just after sunset.

Background

Since having to isolate due to the pandemic, last spring, I’ve been doing a lot of experimentation with photo processing and I thought it might be fun to share some of the things I’ve discovered and see what others are doing.

I’m hosting the challenge on the other site to try and keep my WordPress.org skills.

Link to the One-to-Three Photo Processing Challenge.

Five petals

A rock rose.
Columbine

The only fives that caught my eyes this week.

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.

If you are interested in checking out Raw Therapee or the GIMP there are a few posts here: The photo processing tools on my belt.

For Cee’s Black and White Challenge: Five.

One-to-Three Photo Processing Challenge

One-to-three is a monthly photo processing challenge on my other web site, theSquirrelChase.com. I’d love to have you join in: The challenge is simple: take one photo and get creative with it by processing it three different ways. Then share the results, with a link to this month’s post. I’ll do a start up post on the first of each month and at the end of the month I’ll do a round up, so we can all share in the creativity and fun.

Here’s my June 2020 contribution:

How to get the looks above:

I’m continuing experimenting with Topaz Studio 2. This month I am experimenting with a landscape image. I used the abstraction tool on the first one, playing with the various settings for th first image. For the next two I used presets, but reduced the opacity of the effects.

Background

Since having to isolate due to the pandemic, last spring, I’ve been doing a lot of experimentation with photo processing and I thought it might be fun to share some of the things I’ve discovered and see what others are doing.

I’m hosting the challenge on the other site to try and keep my WordPress.org skills.

Link to the One-to-Three Photo Processing Challenge.

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.

One-to-Three Photo Processing Challenge

One-to-three is a monthly photo processing challenge on my other web site, theSquirrelChase.com. I’d love to have you join in: The challenge is simple: take one photo and get creative with it by processing it three different ways. Then share the results, with a link to this month’s post. I’ll do a start up post on the first of each month and at the end of the month I’ll do a round up, so we can all share in the creativity and fun.

Here’s my May 2020 contribution:

How to get the looks above:

I’m continuing experimenting with Topaz Studio 2. To get the final image I first added an abstract filter that simplified the picture. Then I added a stroke to make it look like a painting using the impressionist filter. Finally I experimented with the AI ReMix filter.

Background

Since having to isolate due to the pandemic, last spring, I’ve been doing a lot of experimentation with photo processing and I thought it might be fun to share some of the things I’ve discovered and see what others are doing.

I’m hosting the challenge on the other site to try and keep my WordPress.org skills.

Link to the One-to-Three Photo Processing Challenge.

One-to-Three Photo Processing Challenge

One-to-three is a monthly photo processing challenge on my other web site, theSquirrelChase.com. I’d love to have you join in: The challenge is simple: take one photo and get creative with it by processing it three different ways. Then share the results, with a link to this month’s post. I’ll do a start up post on the first of each month and at the end of the month I’ll do a round up, so we can all share in the creativity and fun.

Here’s my April 2020 contribution:

How to get the looks above:

I’ve been experimenting with Topaz Studio 2. This week I’ve been playing with the Impression and AI Remix filter. The impression filter has an awful lot of options. Two of my three looks this week are using different strokes and textures. The third takes the second impression options and adds the filter called AI remix. The remix filter combines with a second picture.

Background

Since having to isolate due to the pandemic, last spring, I’ve been doing a lot of experimentation with photo processing and I thought it might be fun to share some of the things I’ve discovered and see what others are doing.

I’m hosting the challenge on the other site to try and keep my WordPress.org skills.

Link to the One-to-Three Photo Processing Challenge.