These could have been from anytime in the past two millennia.
The Pont du Gard is so old and classic, in the antiquities classic way, that I couldn’t resist giving a black and white conversion a try. If you’d like to compare, I posted it in color on my other web site: Real golden Arches: Pont du Gard.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Do you think it still feels like spring with the color removed?
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?
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.
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.