Exercise – Colours into Tones in Black and White

I’ve always been a fan of black and white and the way the detail of an image stands out more when the eye isn’t distracted by colour.  The use of filters when shooting with black and white film can change the appearance and tone of different colours, depending on what colour filter is used.  For example, using a red filter over the lens when shooting a  landscape on a sunny day can render the blue sky nearly black, and of here’s some little white fluffy clouds around it can make for a really dramatic shot. Shooting digitally in colour makes life a bit easier as you don’t need to make your film colour or filter decisions before shooting, as digital editing software has various black and white adjustments that can be used in post-processing.

For this exercise I needed to build and shoot a still-life set up containing examples of red, green, blue and yellow items, so after a bit of hunting around, this is what I came up with – which is kind of reminiscent of my former RAF Photographer career! I’ve also included a set of black, white and grey cards, with the grey being a mid-tone and acts as a constant throughout all of the changes carried out in post-processing.

I shot quite a few variations of this image, starting out by just using available light with a reflector to bounce a bit of light back in, but then I gave in a got my flash out, and with a long exposure, pinged a few bursts of off-camera flash in during the exposure.  Technically I’m not into the lighting part of this course, so I should just stick to available light, but I preferred the flashed image so I’ve gone with that one for the next part of the exercise – playing with the different black and white filter settings in Adobe Photoshop.

Once the image was loaded into Photoshop I then needed to create 5 additional versions of the original image and apply various black and white filter adjustments and look at all the images together to see the differences that the various adjustments create. Click on the images in the gallery below to look at a larger version.

Nikon D800 | 100 ISO | 3 Seconds | f/32