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09-17-2008, 09:22 PM   #1
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One way to get great B & W with the Pentax DSLRs.

Hi Pentax friends,


Get great B & W pictures with your Pentax DSLR
By: Yvon Bourque


Why would anyone want to take B & W pictures in this day and age, when we have digital cameras that can capture colors like never before? I'm sure you have your own reasons, but for me, there are two prominent reasons. I love landscape with cloudy skies in B & W because of the contrasts that can be achieved. Also, sometimes, a greatly composed picture with bad color rendition can be saved by turning it to a B & W photograph.

Of course, you can change color pictures to B & W within your camera, but the results are rarely as good as post processing color images on a powerful computer equipped with the appropriate software. Of course, Adobe Photoshop CS3 is great...but expensive. Photoshop Elements does a better job than in-camera processing, but not as good as it could get. My Software of choice is Photoshop Lightroom. In fact, I now use Lightroom for 95% of all my post processing. For B & W, I find Lightroom to be excellent. It has filters that you can apply to B & W images similar to the filters B & W film shooters used for many years. With that capability you can, for instance, apply contrast to blues separately than to greens, etc, rather than darkening or lightening the entire image.
Here is an example of a color picture taken in Yosemite last July, turned to B & W. This is simply an example and I do not pretend to be an "Ansel Adams". This is merely an example to explain the process I use.


ABOVE: This is the original file in color taken with the K20D and the DA 16-45mm as I recall.







ABOVE: I usually add clarity and vibrance to the image before turning it to grayscale. When the Clarity and Vibrance are to my taste, I change the image to Grayscale.





ABOVE: With the Grayscale mix, I can change the contrast by using the filters above, just like during the B & W film era...sort of. Move the blue filter to the left to get a darker sky giving a more dramatic effect.



ABOVE: After darkening the sky, I changed the appearance of the B & W picture by adding more green and yellow. It's a matter of taste, and although we may not have the same taste, you get the idea.






ABOVE: I then use the Tone Curve to adjust the Highlights, Lights, Darks and Shadows.

ABOVE: This the original image. BELOW: This is the B & W after processing.



ABOVE: You can also change the look of the monochrome picture in your favorite software by adding a sepia layer.


Now, once you have the B & W picture the way you want, the next major step is to print it. Not too many printers are equipped for great B & W hard copies. To get the most out of the tonal range of B & W prints, you need a printer that has black and different shades of grey ink cartridges. Some of the high end printer models have such capability. I find that sending files to a lab for processing gets me the best results without having to spend big bucks for an high end printer. There are many labs, and here in the USA, I use Mpix and I have always been satisfied with the results. Their prices are reasonable and the delivery is fast. In fact, I had the picture above made in a 20" x 30 and it came out beautifully.



Thank you very much for reading, and let all of us know how you achieve B & W pictures.


Yvon Bourque


Last edited by ebooks4pentax; 09-17-2008 at 09:27 PM.
09-17-2008, 09:25 PM   #2
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Very interesting Yvon, any chance we can see them larger please?
09-17-2008, 09:31 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Damn Brit Quote
Very interesting Yvon, any chance we can see them larger please?

Actually, that makes sense. I will post them on the gallery and give the link sometimes tomorrow. They look a lot better bigger.
09-18-2008, 12:32 AM   #4
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I used to print my own B&W using an epson 2200 with a rip program. I got excellent results. Unfortunately the printer developed fatal problems after over five years of use. Instead of investing a bunch of money in the epson 2400 I gave Mpix true B&W prints a try. I'm impressed with the results. It's as good or better then anything I could get with home printing. With the cost of the printer, ink and paper it's likely cheaper in the long run.

Most of the B&W prints I get from Mpix are about spot on with what I see on my monitor. I've had a few problems with some prints that had some deep shadows. Mpix appears to try and bring out the details in the shadows by lightening them with rather ugly results. I was told that I have to click on the Do Not Color Correct check box and they will leave the shadows as is. I'm curious what paper you use and if you check this box off.

09-18-2008, 02:36 AM   #5
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Wow nice tut.
I am on Linux however, so no lightroom. I use Bibble with Andy or likewise plugins.
Im a b&w noob, these images are quite inspiring! thx
09-18-2008, 04:36 AM   #6
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Hi,

Yes, great tutorial, Lightroom 2.0 don't well what I need at the moment (system slow, red eye not working, brush not doint what I need, Mac crashing...) but I'll try this out.

The example is great since the picture is so-so in color, and becomes great once developed.

Guillaume
09-18-2008, 06:27 AM   #7
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Lightroom is very useful for B&W conversions. Just be careful with some of those color sliders, they can introduce/exaggerate noise in the image.

I found that to be the case with this one:



You can see the noise in the sky is very grainy looking compared to the rest of the picture.
09-18-2008, 06:54 AM   #8
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A video tutorial

I have this video on my bookmarks. Works quite well.

http://photoshopnews.com/stories/downloads/LRNgrayscale_STD2.mov

Dave

09-18-2008, 07:23 AM   #9
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Very interesting, Yvon. I've been doing this for over a year; it's nice that people can learn now.
09-18-2008, 07:47 AM   #10
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i'm sorry but the title of this thread irks me

what does "pentax" have to do with using adobe lightroom to manipulate a digital image?
09-18-2008, 10:27 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by marlon Quote
Wow nice tut.
I am on Linux however, so no lightroom. I use Bibble with Andy or likewise plugins.
Im a b&w noob, these images are quite inspiring! thx
You can do similar stuff in Linux, using the channel mixer in GIMP.
Check out the quick tutorial here, which also goes through other ways of converting to black and white.
I haven't tried this out in any of the RAW editors yet, though, but I know digikam has a channel mixer as well.
09-18-2008, 01:43 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gooshin Quote
i'm sorry but the title of this thread irks me

what does "pentax" have to do with using adobe lightroom to manipulate a digital image?

"It's not what Pentax can do for Lightroom...It's what Lightroom can do for Pentax"

Lighten up!

Last edited by ebooks4pentax; 09-18-2008 at 04:36 PM.
09-18-2008, 01:44 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by k10dbook Quote
Gooshin,

This is a Pentax site, it woul have been out of place to say Nikon or Canon.

"It's not what Pentax can do for Lightroom...It's what lightroom can do for Pentax"
you misunderstand, what does the brand of camera has to do with using an expensive and professional software to manipulate a digital image (that can come from any camera, phone, or scan)

you have it in all of your posts, that little bit of Pentax elitism (among some other users...), and it bothers me. (then again, i bother my share of people too....)

09-18-2008, 01:55 PM   #14
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I have CS3. I have tried to use it's B&W filter presets, but I'm finding it difficult. The shots end up looking more like watercolour painting then like a digital image. Any ideas?
09-18-2008, 04:57 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gooshin Quote
you misunderstand, what does the brand of camera has to do with using an expensive and professional software to manipulate a digital image (that can come from any camera, phone, or scan)

you have it in all of your posts, that little bit of Pentax elitism (among some other users...), and it bothers me. (then again, i bother my share of people too....)


I see where your coming from Gooshin, this thread would be better placed in the Post Processing & Software section.

Also, this post is just a copy and paste from your blog Yvon and it reads like one too. If you want people to read your blog, make a link and get people to discuss it as I don't see the point in a double posting.

Besides that, congratulations for all the work you've put into the Pentax online community.

Last edited by figmental1978; 09-18-2008 at 05:07 PM.
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