Tuesday, October 3, 2017


It’s remarkable what we can do with an image in five minutes with Photoshop as our darkroom (or the “dim room” as a fellow photographer coined it). In this example I did both a Black & White and color interpretations of an image spending 5 minutes on each version. In our wet darkroom days this would have taken a whole weekend setting up for B&W and then color in my home darkroom.

This color version was done using Nic’s Single Image Tone Mapping in Photoshop. This program is really great for pulling out detail in clouds. In fact you have to be careful because some of the tone mapping presets will easily overdo the detail rendering one of those wildly over the top images we see so often on the internet.

Typically I’ll quickly sample each preset until one gets close to the look I want—on this image I chose the Sinister preset—and then I manually adjust most of the sliders until I’m happy with it. Since Tone Mapping often introduces noise along with its effects I finished with noise reduction—for this image I used Luminance noise reduction in Camera Raw.

Not bad for 5 minutes work; here’s the original file….

f5.6 @ 1/800 sec., ISO 400; Lens @ 17mm
Then bringing this original into Nic again….how about a B&W version! When I took this image I saw this as a B&W art piece. So, I put this file into Nik Silver Efex Pro2; my favorite B&W conversion program.

So, to make this quick I scroll through the 38 presets until I find one close to my vision of this image as a black and white. I settled on: 024-Full Contrast and Structure and then did some tweaking in Camera Raw afterwords.

The only problem with Photoshop, not to mention the many plug-ins available, is reaching that point where you are satisfied.The danger is spending as much time in the “dim room” on an image as we did in the wet darkroom! I hear photographers, way too often, saying they spent 20 hours + working on some landscape image.  It maybe that many photographers these days don’t know what they want when they make the original exposure. 

Have Ansel Adams' Lessons on PRE-VISUALIZTION gone out of style? Or are his views on art and crafting the fine art print no longer relevant?  I hope not…

’Til next week….

Author:  Jerry W. Venz, PPA Master Photographer, Craftsman
Training site: http://www.LightAtTheEdge.com
Client site: http://www.TheStorytellersUsa.com

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