Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Working on Black and Whites

I've been spending more and more time scouring flickr and my eyes keep landing on black and whites that really pop. So I've been trying to get my own black and whites to get closer in quality to those that really catch my eye on flickr.

Queue carrying my camera with me more often... So I was driving to my grandparents and my camera was in the passenger seat...so I decided to get a couple self portraits while behind the wheel...dont try this at home.

So this is what I got - I'm pretty happy with my black and white conversion.

A few comments -

I used the channel mixer to get to black and white, and spent a fair amount of time fiddling with the sliders finding a combination that I liked. I wanted to boost the general level of light without blowing out the detail in my face and keeping the blacks nice and dark.

I used some vector masks for curves, levels and the channel mixer as well. I created a new layer for my eyes since they had become pretty dark and repeated the same process to the layer for my eyes and a little dodging for a touch more light. My right eye looks weird with the reflection and it being out of focus but I like the outcome with my left eye.

I threw a high pass filter to add some kick to the detail/sharpness of the entire picture.

As for the composition, I was just guessing, setting the camera on the dash... so on that front, I like what I got - Its not perfect which I think makes things more dramatic and interesting to look at. But I don't like how blown out the rear window is. It draws the eye away from the subject of the photo (your eye is generally drawn to the brightest spot in the photo) and my goal is to draw attention to the subject of image rather than the most boring part...more work to be done, more learning to be had. Next time.

Shot on my 5D w/ 50mm 1.8 processed in Photoshop CS3



  1. Nice shot and your processing is spot on. Even got a grainy look there on the steering wheel. I thought for a second you had a helmet on which would've been really awesome.

  2. Love it! My eye wasn't drawn to the rear window until you mentioned it. It's a really great photo... but be safe. :) ~Denisse