By Iain Harley
What’s that saying? Go big or go home? I went big for my first post here.
I struggle with taking black & white photos. I would sit in on webinars for popular b&w conversion programs and my questions weren’t how to convert to black & white but what makes a good black & white. The answers ranged from “you figure it out after a while” to the more specific “look for patterns, contrast, scenes that don’t rely on color”. Or another popular phrase was to “see” in black & white. And to help me with that I set a custom setting on my camera to shoot b&w JPEGs and the color RAW. I slowly began to be able to see in b&w, though I still need the help of camera.
I didn't think this 6 panel panoramic sunset would make for a good black & white conversion, since color is usually the star of the show in a sunset, but the more I looked at it the more I thought it just might work; great contrast in the sky and clouds, the stark silhouette of the island, and a small creek catching the reflections. So I went to work in Topaz Labs Black & White Effects 2 on emphasizing these points; Keeping the island silhouetted, keeping the sand foreground dark, bringing out texture from the clouds, and playing up the reflection in the stream. In the end I feel lucky to have gotten two versions of the same photo that I'm really pleased with.