Often some development after a photograph leaves the camera is necessary. Photoshop is the traditionally accepted way to go about it. Most of the time I may put on a little of the Curve and perhaps some contrast or saturation, that sort of thing, and there is the final product. It’s all much the way it came out of the camera. Taking all the color out is more laborious. I am not certain how other photographers get to their black and white versions, but for me the process goes through either Calculations or Channel Mixer from my never updated Photoshop CS. Mostly Channel Mixer is my preferred tool. Lately though I have explored Calculations in a serious manner. The reason is that in one photographer’s advise Calculations is always the way to go far superior to my preference. So I decided to check this out. The results show in recent black and white (BW) entries to this blog and to my BW Flickr uploads (all approached through Calculations). Of course, as a rule, mostly one tries to translate colors into tonal values where the degree of greyness suggests a color. In my experience Calculations take a lot of additional tweaking to get the natural look with the desired detail in the right places. Calculations however is a natural to brilliant dramatic impact.
Being sweet on BW, many of my images have a BW alter ego and to get to the BW I tend to use good old Channel Mixer more often than Calculations (in the olden days I preferred Kodak Tri X to the smooth deep of Ilford film – is this my dilemma?).
Meanwhile, realizing that more modern programs than mine are the norm, I often wonder how others go about producing their beautiful BWs
Here is a series to illustrate this black and white tale starting with the original:
Calculations tweaked with a little more lightning and contrast:
and Channel Mixer unadulterated (except for some high and low lights through Color Balance).
Coming from the age of darkrooms and being, probably, the only photographer who very much disliked working in the darkroom but loved what might come out of it, I have said yes to digital right from day one. Nevertheless often the stuff that comes from print film has a beauty all its own. It is somewhat comparable to the difference between the nearly perfect sound of today’s musical recordings and the beauty of vinyl and hi fi of not that long ago. Bringing out some of that old timbre into our modern way of producing images tends to be my challenge.