Alright, the last couple of months have been easy. "Victory" and "Ouch! That hurts!!!" It's time for something a bit more challenging.
This one has been on my list of challenges for quite some time, so when an impetus recently came along, it was a natural choice. We have a brand new Black & White forum, dedicated to the sharing of B&W images and techniques, so now you know what the challenge will be.
This month it's all about black and white, although sepia is also acceptable. For you film shooters this may be easy if you have an good old B&W shot or a scanner, but if not then think about a sport you shoot that might look good in B&W. For you digital folks it will likely be easier as you can use postprocessing to convert.
If the original is in color please include it in your post so that we can compare them, seeing how B&W changes the image and our reaction to it. I suspect there will be some pleasant surprises.
You may, as always, submit more than one entry.
This challenge should require some thought. THINK about the sports you shoot and the conditions in which you shoot them that might lend themselves to B&W or sepia. What if a local magazine called you and said they were running a story about sports 50 or more years ago, all of the old pictures were in B&W, and they wanted current B&W images of the same sports to help add to the comparisons in the article. What would you do?
I'll confess right up front that I'm not an expert on b&w conversions, but the background seems to have become quite bright when compared to the color version. This can be good or bad depending on your intent - if the subject is relatively dark and you want it to stand out, or the subject is also rather bright and you want it to blend in. The white jersey was already a bit blown out and it seems even more so in the b&w version. Same with the socks.
I think we all need a bit of practice at this if we're going to consistently do it well.
There's no limit on the number of submissions this month (within reason) so perhaps all of us should dig for some more shots.
Ryland Blakeney at South Beach aka 'The Zoo', Margaret River - Western Australia.
Nikon D2X 2006/01/22 Lens: 300mm F/4 D Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority Metering Mode: Multi-Pattern 1/1000 sec - F/8 Sensitivity: ISO 100 White Balance: Auto AF Mode: AF-C Color Mode: Mode II (Adobe RGB)
I thought you were trying to use the two visible inline images to link to the larger images in your gallery. The small images in your post displayed fine, but the links to the larger images weren't, due to the extra "//".
>Well, maybe my assumption is wrong. > >I thought you were trying to use the two visible inline >images to link to the larger images in your gallery. The >small images in your post displayed fine, but the links to >the larger images weren't, due to the extra "//".
You assumed right, I was trying to link to the full size pictures in my gallery using the medium ones. While copying and pasting the links the // was left in unintentionally. Anyway, on with Aprils challenge!
I'll start off by posting a color image from my gallery, as well as B&W and sepia conversions of it using Photoshop. This is my first ever sepia conversion, but hopefully some of you who are more knowledgeable can come up with something better.
I think that grainy, high ISO images lend themselves to B&W. A bit of rain doesn't hurt, either.
D2H, 70-200 VR @ 200, ISO1600, aperture priority @ f/2.8, -2EV (lightened in Photoshop), 1/640, centerweighted metering, This is about half of the original image. I started with the color jpeg image in my gallery. I converted the image to B&W using the Channel Mixer in Photoshop, then worked with the sepia filter in Photoshop to get the final version.
Basically, in BW the image doesn't get distractions of the yellow uniforms in the background. It really brings the focus back onto him. Also being an old boys soccer team, what's more appropriate than an older fashion black and white photo ?
The essential elements of this composition are the sand, the golf ball in the air and the flagstick. In the color version, one can see that the flagstick was already in B&W, so that made this "work" much easier. By converting to B&W, the player, the light green colored green and the dark green trees do not take the viewer's eyes from the areas I think are most important.
Good. You could burn (or dodge - I can never remember which is which) the trees to put even more emphasis on the other elements on the shot. That might also help accentuate the line of sand that's pointing to the flag.
OK - here's my attempt. This shot was taken second time out with my D50. I have a 28-80 f3/3-f5.6 lens. I set to shutter priority of 1/1000. I am just learning and experimenting with my settings. The only adjustment made was cropping. Applied black and white using channels and then added sepia. Personally, I like the sepia image the best.
I thought I'd try going over the top with lots of burning to draw the eye to where the action is. I converted to b+w using channel mixer and ended up settling on 60% red, 10% green and 30% blue, then increased contrast using levels before doing all the burning.
I agree w/Richard. I think the burning was very effective, concentrating the light (and hence, the viewier's focus) on the center where the action is. You might consider burning the bright area on the left a bit, since it's a bit of a distraction.
This photo was taken at a quarterfinal game during the Colorado 5A football state championships on November 20, 2004. The day was cold and damp and there was quite a bit of fog along with at least two inches of snow that fell during the game. At times, the players were nearly shrouded by the snow and fog, even from the sidelines.
When I saw this month's challenge, I immediately thought of this game because so many of the shots I got at the game had that black and white feel. The teams were dressed in black and white and that adds to the overall feeling. Finally, I was fascinated with the amount of "combat" that was taking place in the trenches. The refs really let the boys play in this game.
This photo is a direct result of both this competition and some problems I've been having shooting footy (Aussie rules) in the late afternoon.
I believe a good black and white shot should bring something more than the equivalent colour photo. Luckily black and white lends itself to a lot more manipulation than colour because changes that would screw up the colours make no difference in mono. And then I got to thinking how much I like those really high contrast shots where both the background and shadows on the subject are completely dark.
Which brought me to my next problem - I've been shooting Aussie Rules, which is a game that ranges from end to end very quickly. Toward the end of the game, the sun can be quite low. I sit on the sideline about a quarter of the way up the field so the sun is over my shoulder for most of the field but when play goes past me, I end up with very high contrast shots and if there is a dark background, the camera often exposes for this and the players are blown out. I've been trying to think what settings I need to change to get better shots when the play is up that end. I don't think I've got time to quickly change to spot meter, so I think I just need to very quickly spin the front dial of the camera to speed up the shutter speed for these shots.
In any case, I decided to flick through photos from the last game I did to see what I could work with. I grabbed this shot because it's the sort of light I was thinking about. It's a bit soft because I've cropped it quite a bit (and I don't think the original was in such sharp focus either). Then I dragged the left side of the levels in quite extremely to get much of the pic in darkness and then went over what was left with the burn tool. Finally I converted to black and white using channel mixer.
What do you think for a first go at this type of pic? I'm sure it'll be better if I start shooting with this end product in mind.
I like the extreme light/dark also, but you may have gone too far even for me.
In order to really see an image like this I think you need to put a little border around it - the black of the image is indistinguishable from the black background of Nikonian, so it's a bit nebulous. Try reposting with a white border of 10 or 20 pixels.
Since your manipulation has left his arm just kind of hanging in free space, you might try a different crop which omits his arm - a portrait orientation.
And try centerweighted metering. Spot metering can often result in shots that are too bright or too dark. I find that centerweighted works well, since it exposes for whatever I've focused on. I don't worry too much about the other elements since I their not the main subject and I may crop them out anyway.
Thanks very much for your comments, Reuben and Andy. I have to admit I was happy enough to find a picture with some action that matched the kind of light I had in mind that I wasn't thinking too hard about composition. Now that I step back and have a look at it, the disembodied arm looks a bit weird and the action is too far over to the left. Also, on my laptop screen, I can see light patches that I didn't burn thoroughly enough - looks like I need to pay a bit more attention to calibrating the desktop monitor. As with any new technique (at least for me) I've probably started by over-doing it a bit, but I like the idea of isolating the players from the background with such high contrast. I'll keep working at it and post again when I get one that pleases me! Cheers again, Bruce
I also prefer the b&w version. I might be tempted to crop it just below the hurdle to see if that looked better. It would chop off his trailing leg, but perhaps put more emphasis on this face and dynamic upper body.