Black and White Sunday


I haven’t been doing this challenge much lately because I haven’t been having much success converting images from colour to black and white.   Most of images I tried came out dull and uninteresting – I think I had beginner’s luck with some of more successful images I created a year or so ago.  This luck had began to run out and I felt I needed to learn more about the technicalities of converting colour photos to B&W digitally.  I borrowed a book from the library –  “Advanced Digital Black and White Photography” by John Beardsworth.  It’s chock full of useful information and a lot of it is very technical.   I’ll record the processes I used here to give myself a record to refer back to. (hope you don’t find the technicalities too boring).

Being a great fan of Ansel Adams I decided to begin by following the directions for creating Adams style imagery.    A classic Adams shot involves rugged rocks and a blue sky with scattered clouds.   Looking through my archives I found this shot I took in Cappadocia that might be suitable for conversion.


Working in Photoshop I created a new Black & White Adjustment Layer.  I chose the Red Filter preset as a starting point and used the Sliders to adjust the various tint.   I then made a New Adjustment Layer – Curves and tweaked the contrast.  Here’s the final image –

                                      b & w

Here’s some more Cappadocia photos that I processed the same way.  I read that Ansel Adams spent a lot of time in the darkroom and liked to use dodging and burning to create contrast.   When I had flattened the images below I used the Dodge and Burn Tools.


                DSCF8373 b&w

This is the kind of processing I could do for hours and still not be 100% happy with the results.     I’ll keep playing and experimenting.  I’d love to know what you think or if you have any tips you want to share.  Smile


17 thoughts on “Black and White Sunday

  1. I also like his work 🙂 I have seen many pictures of Cappadocia, but I could hardly recognize it from your photos. The last one makes them look like some mythical structures and not like erosion pyramids that they are. I like the processing you’ve applied on your “love valley sculptures” 😉

    1. I felt like I was walking through a mythical landscape while I was there. Processing my photos from there in something I return to again and again.

  2. The real trick, of course, is “think in black and white” ie at the point of capture. Not all images are suitable for B&W capture….you are looking for tone, texture, form, shape. Your last Cappadocia image is good 😀

    1. Thanks so much for that Sue. I really appreciate it. Training my mind to think in terms of black and white images becomes a little easier when I apply the knowledge you’ve given me here. 🙂

  3. No tips, just awe and fascination. I’d like to see the originals of the last two, so I can scrutinise your artistry at work! You’ve certainly got moody mistressed. I’ve saved this post for its references and challenges – to play with later.

    1. Thanks for that. I can’t figure out how to post an image in the comment thread but I’ll make sure to post the originals in further posts about photo processing. I’m a bit fixated on it at present so there will be more posts. I hope you can make sense of my very brief notes on my process. You could email me if you want more information. 🙂

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