Dodge and Burn

LimpopoboyLimpopoboy Registered Users Posts: 72 Big grins

Hi Guy

A converted colour photograph for some practice with my dodge and burn technique. Or do you guys think its better to take B&W straight out the camera? Then post edit?




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    pathfinderpathfinder Super Moderators Posts: 14,698 moderator
    edited April 7, 2017

    While one can shoot monochrome in modern DSLRs, I prefer to shoot color in RAW with a monochrome jpg at the same time - and then create my monochrome image from the RAW color file. I can then contrast and compare my B&W image to the monochrome out of the camera jpg and see which I prefer. Sometimes I need to have weird colors to get good black and white images.

    While I am a fan of good strong blacks in monochrome images, this image seems to have large blocks of black, with no detail, that really don't improve the image to my eye. I would prefer a softer, longer tonal range for this landscape image I think. I like the suns rays, but the black blob on the upper left is not helpful I think. The sign is so black I cannot make out the text even.

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
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    bocoboco Registered Users Posts: 710 Major grins
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    RichardRichard Administrators, Vanilla Admin Posts: 19,937 moderator
    edited April 9, 2017

    I agree with Pathfinder about this particular image--there is too much detail lost in the blacks, though the sky and sun rays are nice. One problem with letting the camera do the conversion is that the individual color channel information is lost forever unless the camera also produces a raw file. That seriously limits your options, like emphasizing the red channel in skies and the green channel elsewhere for greater contrast. Dodging and burning (plus color filters when shooting) were the only options in the film days, but digital offers a spectacular improvement in the control you have over the final image. If you use a specialized tool, like Nik/Google Silver FX Pro II, you have a wide choice of global adjustments plus the option of doing local adjustments as well. I'd never leave it up to the camera.

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    Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Registered Users Posts: 2,294 Major grins

    I'm going to agree with the others that you've lost some details in your image that softens the impact it could have had.

    I personally think that if someone wants to learn to do black and white photography, they should begin by shooting in black and white (monochrome today).

    The reason why I would suggest that someone begins with black and white is to force them to think in terms of shooting in black and white. It's like the difference between shooting with a zoom and a prime lens. While you limit yourself, you learn new ways of doing things because you don't have an easy out.

    Yes I agree with the argument that allowing the camera to make decisions is a little limiting, but the truth is that even with a compressed jpeg, anyone can still edit it to death. With enough time in photoshop you don't even need a photograph to create an image, so the argument of limitations simply doesn't carry that much weight.

    In my opinion, occasional limitations is a good thing and should be used to learn new ways. If more people chose to learn through limitations, maybe we would hear "you can fix it in post" a little less often.


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    NealBallNealBall Registered Users Posts: 8 Big grins
    Very atmospheric, just needs a bit more detail in the shadow as others have said above
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