Moody and Mono

8 Aug
Enders Falls - Mono and Moody

Enders Falls – Mono and Moody

As I mentioned in last week’s post, some images tell you what they need and want.  This shot was definitely one of them.  As I compared this RAW to last week’s RAW, I immediately knew which version of these falls would be color and which screamed to be monochrome.

It’s interesting what a difference there is between the two images.  To me, the color image has a soft, mystical feel.  The colors and light after soft and soothing.  The monochrome goes in the opposite direction, with darker tones.

When I first opened this image, I knew that I loved the composition, but was pretty sure there were deep shadows I wouldn’t be able to recover smoothly.  I knew from past experience that forcing those edits would stand out like a sore thumb, and/or warp the color image in a direction that didn’t feel natural.  That kind of made the mono decision for me.

Now to execute!

Rather than just a blanket desaturation, I pulled out each individual color channel.  That gave me the ability to choose the light/dark level for each color. From there I tweaked each section of the image, working to get the best tones from the rocks, the water, etc using different exposure layers and masks.

In the end, the image worked well as a back and white because it had several of the ingredients that make a successful monochrome.  In this case, the deep shadows are broken by a lighter diagonal lines of the falls, a composition win.  There is also a copious amount of texture, and tonal range which are important component in the creation of a successful black and white image.  (Yes, that was just an excuse to use the word copious.)  As with any black and white image, the lack of color forces the viewer to focus on the technicalities of photography.  It is, 100% of the time, considered good practice to keep your “photo tool bag” up to date.  As you work through any shoot, make it a point to notice the areas within a scene that are important components of a black and white image (textures, patterns, strong compositions, good tonal range, etc).  Then go a step further, to work through the skills that make ANY image…color or otherwise…a success.

As they say, practice makes progress!  🙂

10 Responses to “Moody and Mono”

  1. thom bradley August 9, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

    Thanks for the lesson, it really helps to see different images with clear explanation –without a copious amount of words. Keep them coming!

    • seeingspotsphoto August 28, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

      I’m glad you’re getting something out of the posts! Thanks for the kind words and for stopping by!

  2. Matthew Durr August 13, 2013 at 1:54 am #

    Converting to black-and-white to do some extreme shadow pulling is always a smart move. Reducing the blue push in color can be a pain (happens pretty often in sunsets).

  3. Jonathan Caswell August 14, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

    This is why YOU ARE THE GREAT PHOTOGRAPHER…and I’m a poet. 🙂

  4. reesephoto August 28, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

    If you ever get to pennsylvania,stop at ricketts glenn if you like waterfall photos.One of my favorite Pa scenic places.

    • seeingspotsphoto August 29, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

      I’m actually going there this weekend (Chambersberg area)…I’ll look it up! Thank you for the suggestion!

  5. luisferrarino August 28, 2013 at 7:28 pm #

    Excellent contribution. Thanks for sharing it with those we love the pictures and what they awaken our senses.

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