Challenge 139 - It's all there in black and white
Meadowlark

Chalenge 140 - In Motion
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Challenge 141 - Artistic
TimmyG

Challenge 142 - Smoking!
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 3:15 pm 
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Thanks for joining in, Timmy! Hey, at least it is a new conversion. :)

I think this works well in BW. Perhaps it even helps bring out the little fella's innocence? The Tonal control in the feather whites looks good to me, and the reflection looks great in BW. A good choice and a nice conversion IMO.

Not sure if I'm supposed to do this in challenge threads, but I've something to point out if I may. Pretty sure I learned this from Geneo myself. Water reflection shots look off when they are not straightened vertically. In this case, you might use a left or right corner of either of the chick's eyes and align vertically down to it's corresponding reflection. Er, in this case, reflections. It isn't spot on when the water is a little wavy like this, but you'll get close.

I like the innocence and character of this one.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 3:56 pm 
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That's an excellent tip, Greg, thanks for that. I did have to straighten this one, but did it by eye and used the line were the cygnet touches the water. As I have one eye higher than the other, this one is probably slightly skewed. The verticals in reflections sounds a much better way and I'll have to remember that for next time.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 4:30 pm 
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You're welcome, but credit goes to Gene. :)

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 8:15 pm 
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Greg wrote:
Not sure if I'm supposed to do this in challenge threads....


There are no rules Greg. Some give constructive crit, some give a summary, some just announce a winner... It's up to you! :)

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 9:48 pm 
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Good to know, Peter. Been making them up as we move along anyway. :)

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 10:38 pm 
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it's gonna be a tough one to choose a winner!

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 1:00 am 
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I went shooting with some friends from Flickr today. Had both cameras set to B&W all day (although they still come into LR in colour, and I have to convert them again). The day was overcast with a short burst of heavy rain. That type of weather almost always has me thinking about B&W.

All 3 shots were taken today.

This is a Ceremonial Guard at the Governor General's Residence (the GG is the Queen's official representative in common wealth countries). They are not allowed to speak or react. The only movement they are allowed to make (other than blinking) is a short march back and forth. This was shot minutes before the downpour.

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This is Ryan, one of the people I was out shooting with. He's an excellent street photographer, and usually works with either a 35mm or 50mm, so he's getting in close to his subjects. I thought it would be cool to turn the tables, and get a street shot of him.

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Since no-one in the group normally shoot flowers, we put it out as a challenge. Obviously this was taken after the downpour.

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If you're curious, the rest of my shots from today are here (all B&W): http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikealex/a ... 0/?view=md

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 4:56 am 
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Archive one from me for now, no idea if I will get out or not to shoot something

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 6:27 am 
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WOW what a good response you got to this one Greg, thanks for taking the time to comment individually and being
so kind! So many great entries, I'm glad you're the one who has to pick lol...

Here's another one from me

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 9:44 am 
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this is an old one (from last remembrance day) but I'd love feedback on the selective colour here. :)

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 9:57 am 
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First reaction was I did not care for it but then tried to visualize the image without it and there really isn't one :) Meaning the lapel flower is the subject and might get lost w/o the SC so I would say OK on this use of it. Not overdone and certainly makes your point. Would probably feel differently if you had not explained where and when.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 12:04 pm 
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Sorry Bambi, but I can count the number of selective colour photos that I like on one hand and have fingers left over. It's just not a style that appeals to me at all.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 3:49 pm 
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Mike, it's a treat seeing you join in here. You went out and shot with BW in mind, on a rainy day no less. Whoa!

Splendid BW examples. First thing caught my eye looking at the Palace Guard (and this really has nothing to do with BW, sorry) is why don't I ever think do do something creative like cutting off half the subject? I think it is effective, and I get an allusion between his personality being eliminated to perform his job, and half of him missing from the image. Surprising, I don't usually read artsy things like that into images. Good, solid conversion.

The second might be my favorite of the three. My eyes go straight to his eyes, and I feel like I know the guy just from looking at the image. It's almost as if I can 'see' his personality. I wonder if part of this might be straight-forwardness and lack of clutter of the image, but I do not wonder that the fact it is in BW pulls the mood of him right out of him and into me.

I don't like it when face tones go all grey in my conversions, and I try to pop some whites out if possible. This one might lean towards the high end, but I'm not complaining, I'm saying it works for me. This one really pulls me in, Mike.

Takes guts to do flowers in BW (hear that, Bob? :) ). I like the subtle midtones to lights of the flower against the contrasting darks of the background. Curious if you compressed the darks during post or controlled with shutter/flash synch speed or darkened the greens/yellow in conversion? In any case, it surely works. The water droplets stand out very well here. They don't yell at me (ie, over-sharp as I would tend to do, sadly), but they are definitely prominent in the image and arguably BW has enchanced that as well. Also, fits so well with your whole rainy day suits BW thing!

Gotta throw in a side note about you and your group shooting flowers during a street shoot. Reminds me of being on my belly on a sidewalk shooting flowers through a wrought iron fence at Epcot Center a few months back. I got some funny looks. :)

Great set, good for you getting out and thanks again for contribuiting, Mike.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 3:59 pm 
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Ade, thanks for jumping in. Archive shots are fine. :)

I liked this a lot first time I saw it and still do. So many things come to mind on this one. First, IMO Ethan's face is exposed absolutely perfectly. This is a great window-light shot and again, IMO, a dead-solid exception to the whole blown white thing. The window is in fact clipped in all 3 channels, and I don't so much as notice it. In fact, had to go into PS just to confirm it. I emphasize again, IMO if anything it adds to this shot. I"d go so far as to say I don't think I'd like this as much if the most of window was anything less than 255,255,255!

This is a good example of something I learned recently from Al. Get the color version right and the conversion is easy. I'm sure this was the case here. Just love the tonal ranges in Ethan's face, plenty of them, and all soft, gentle transitions. And the tint is spot on, too.

I realise we are discussing BW here, yet if I may throw this in were it mine I think I'd experiment with cropping some off the right, and also probably somewhere below the top of Ethan's head. Might work for you, might not but in any case this would be an eye popper printed on fine art paper or even a decent matte. Hope you have it framed somewhere, I would.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 4:06 pm 
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Thanks Greg. I've been meaning to get back into these challenges, and since I love B&W photography (almost all the photos I've printed and put on my walls are B&W), this seemed like a good one to get in on.

Greg wrote:
Curious if you compressed the darks during post or controlled with shutter/flash synch speed or darkened the greens/yellow in conversion?

This shot was taken with my Fuji X100 in macro mode, with available light, no flash. For the conversion all I did in Lightroom was "Convert to B&W", "Clarity +30", "Fill Light +8". That's it, that's all. I like to keep my post-processing to a minimum.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 4:13 pm 
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Mia, thank you for your kind words. And I am not glad I am the one who has to pick the next 'winner'. :) This is going to be a hair-puller-outer.

Glad you jumped in here, kiddo. I remember this image and it is, IMO, a strong one and a very good BW candidate and conversion. On the comp side, I like it to begin with. The convoluted appendage angles add so much geometry and visual interest here. The tonal ranges are good (I'm glad he was wearing black, that adds to here). I hope this comes out right; Between your conversion giving your subject's skin a slightly light look (but not to worry, still plenty of tonal variation in the brights) and the POV making his eyes all but disappear, it gives him a slightly ghostly (or maybe surreal might be a better word?) appearance. I'm not sure that is what you had in mind, but it works for me.

Splendid image all around, and I'm pretty sure it would get printed were it mine.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 4:56 pm 
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Hey Bambi, good to see you joining in!

I think this is a great candidate for BW. The way you've chosen to process this, the veteran's skin is anything but soft and smooth, and I think that fits very well towards intent here. Your conversion is good, and so is the bokeh.

On the selective color, IMO it goes to intent and audience. I think, for example, in a dedicated set on the subject of Remembrance day, this would be powerful and work very well. I don't know much about these things, but have to assume that the red lapel flower is important to the day, and likely so much as the symbol of the meaning of the day and thus, in the context of a dedicated set I don't think anyone all but the most fervent dislikers of selective colour would opine in the negative. As a stand-alone image, without the context or explanation, not so sure.

Another example of where this would work well might be as a gift to someone who has lost a loved one to war.

This kind of goes to my take on SC. I am neutral about it, except when used badly. In this case, IMO it is not used badly, rather it is used well but only to a specific audience.

Just my two cents, anyway. :)

I'm running short on time and perhaps spent too little time on the positives of this one. There are plenty of positives!

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 5:18 pm 
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The lapel flower is a poppy, worn in Canada in the days leading up to Nov 11th out of respect and remembrance of our veterans. The poppy comes from the poem "In Flanders Field" by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, a Canadian soldier in WWI.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 9:35 am 
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Greg wrote:
Hey Bambi, good to see you joining in!

I think this is a great candidate for BW. The way you've chosen to process this, the veteran's skin is anything but soft and smooth, and I think that fits very well towards intent here. Your conversion is good, and so is the bokeh.

On the selective color, IMO it goes to intent and audience. I think, for example, in a dedicated set on the subject of Remembrance day, this would be powerful and work very well. I don't know much about these things, but have to assume that the red lapel flower is important to the day, and likely so much as the symbol of the meaning of the day and thus, in the context of a dedicated set I don't think anyone all but the most fervent dislikers of selective colour would opine in the negative. As a stand-alone image, without the context or explanation, not so sure.

Another example of where this would work well might be as a gift to someone who has lost a loved one to war.

This kind of goes to my take on SC. I am neutral about it, except when used badly. In this case, IMO it is not used badly, rather it is used well but only to a specific audience.

Just my two cents, anyway. :)

I'm running short on time and perhaps spent too little time on the positives of this one. There are plenty of positives!


thanks for taking the time. I should have explained it more but for me the poppy is so iconic as a tribute to our veterans that I forget others don't have the same connection. I took this as part of a photo essay commemorating Nov 11- Remembrance Day. so the SC was to show the main purpose. I don't typically do SC as I don't care for it but it seemed to work for me in this instance. That said, it was for a specific purpose and shoot so perhaps is not best here. :)

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:32 am 
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 2:58 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 3:31 pm 
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Bambi wrote:
Greg wrote:
I took this as part of a photo essay commemorating Nov 11- Remembrance Day. so the SC was to show the main purpose. I don't typically do SC as I don't care for it but it seemed to work for me in this instance. That said, it was for a specific purpose and shoot so perhaps is not best here. :)


Not at all, Bambi! It was a part of the photo essay with a targeted audience so assuming my targeted audience opinion holds any water (which is a matter of opinion), it is spot on! And it fits here brilliantly IMO as an example of when SC might just be pretty darned effective, which again IMO, this one is! I say again, if this one doesn't hit a person (who undertands what is going on) pretty dramatically, not sure what will.

Who knows, you might have made an SC-hater in your target audience think twice, nothing wrong with that, eh? :)

I am not trying to undermine the opinions of those who just don't like the SC here, just stating how I feel about it is all.

BTW, thanks for the explanation, Mike.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:58 pm 
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Dwayne, 3 very nice BW examples for sure.

#1. I'm a sucker for images with varying degrees of tone and mist/fog/diffusion, so I'm gonna like this one no matter what. Nice conversion, a simple yet effective image. The subtle rays in the sky are effective, as as the also-subtle cloud highlights. And I love that you chose to keep the sun out of the shot, and used the brightness to it's left to do it's job. Also like the touch of toning, adds a bit oa warmth. Wonder what Ansel would have had to say about this one?

#2. Again, simple yet effective. I like this in BW so much I' can't hardly image it in color. The toning works here too, the touch of warmth. I recall a bit of the story behind this one so assume it has special meaning to you as well as being a fine stand-alone image. Nice conversion.

#3. I like it. I like lamps :) and you added some perspective and geometry which spices up the shot. Think I might be tempted to increase the midtone contrast a bit and maybe pull down the brights just a little on this one. One way or another, it makes for a good BW. Lastly, curious how this one ended up in grayscale (meaning mode)??? Is converting to grayscale somehow part of your conversion process?

Thanks for participating, Dwayne!

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:59 am 
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