Linda Grashoff's Photography Adventures

The Stripèd Shore (South Lido Park, January 2016)


March 4, 2016

Updated around 4:00 PM EST following an exchange with Ken Bello (see comments). The first image below is the one that went up at 6 this morning. The one beneath that—which I like better—is the result of working with the Tone Curve and Brush tools in Lightroom, following what Ken said. The third image is a slightly beefed-up color version, which I’m surprised to find I also like better than the first image. I’m not going to choose between the second and third images, but if you, dear viewer, would like to, I’d love to know what you think.

March 5 Update

I added two more variations. See the comments for a running conversation related to these images.

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14 responses

  1. What a find! Beautiful shot.

    Like

    March 4, 2016 at 7:56 AM

  2. Thank you, Ken. This was one of those should-I-post-it-or-not photos. I played with all the sliders in Lightroom’s HSL panel after playing with the Basic sliders. Still, I wonder if Silver Efex would have done a better job. I feel like the image should have more contrast. Honestly, what do you think? Should I see what I can do in Photoshop? I didn’t even consider it because I can usually get better and quicker results in Lightroom.

    Like

    March 4, 2016 at 9:28 AM

    • Not many ask me for technical advice but I’ll tell you what I think: This is an excellent shot and it seems very well suited to a black and white conversion. There are quite a few plug-ins that do the conversion very well and Silver Efex is one of the best. I have Silver Efex that Google gave to me (for reasons I don’t really understand) and I have plugins from On1 and Topaz as well. I like the On1 suite because they afford quite a bit of control but lately I’ve not been using any of the plugins and doing everything in Lightroom. I make a copy of the original, use the black and white option and do most of the adjustments with the curves tool and the adjustment brush. It’s no secret that the adjustment brush is one of the most powerful tools in Lightroom but I sometimes wonder if a lot of people use it to full advantage. I’ve done considerable amount of darkroom printing and I think that has helped me understand local adjustments on an image to take the best advantage of your file. Having said that, I see why the plugins are popular because they are easy to learn and use and delver excellent results. Plus they have quite a few presets and the ability to make your own presets if you settle on something you like. These presets are nice because they can maintain consistency throughout a number of files that are series related. In the end, the photographer has to be happy with his /her work no matter how the finished product is achieved. Personally, I leave documentary style photography in the studio at the museum and my personal stuff relies more on my whims at the time. I don’t believe a scene has to be an accurate depiction of life and that’s where your own imagination and creativity come into play.

      Like

      March 4, 2016 at 1:44 PM

      • Thank you, Ken, for taking so much time to give me such a thorough answer. Not only did I not experiment with the curves tool on this, but I didn’t think of using the brush tool (which I have used on other images) either. I think I will go back into this image with the curves and brush tools and see if I can improve it.

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        March 4, 2016 at 2:03 PM

        • It will be interesting to see a comparison, you know, a sort of before and after.

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          March 4, 2016 at 3:21 PM

          • Here ya go. (See above.)

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            March 4, 2016 at 4:08 PM

            • This is so interesting. I think everyone has their own technique in post processing and I find it interesting to see how other photographers (especially those that I admire) work. For instance, my own work procedure involves making an adjustment I think is necessary and pushing it too far in one direction and then backing off to a point that I like. Needless to say, this was a terrible ordeal in the darkroom but it’s easy (and fun) using the digital tools we have at hand.

              Like

              March 4, 2016 at 4:52 PM

  3. Great conversation, Linda & Ken, thanks for posting. I will often do an extreme adjustment too, and back off until it’s right (to me!) but it took me a ridiculously long time to teach myself to do that. I like the color version a lot. I think I’d be tempted to try and make it less bright, or maybe add contrast to the upper third to give the ribbons of washed up grasses equal weight. Or even crop the top section off – the still growing grass – for an elongated rectangular image that focuses on the dark, wavy line of detritus in front. There are so many ways to go – a reflection on our culture these days. Endless choice – oh, except in politics! 😉

    Like

    March 5, 2016 at 11:00 AM

    • Thanks for joining the conversation, Lynn. Tried less bright; didn’t like it, though I may not have done it the way you envisioned. I do like the idea of cropping out the top third, though. In the fourth attempt, above, I added negative clarity. In the fifth—AND LAST—version (otherwise I’ll fall victim to the seduction of “endless choice”) I went into Photoshop. This version is mostly Filter > Stylize > Find Edges, but a lot of other stuff that I can’t remember, too.

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      March 5, 2016 at 2:52 PM

  4. A very useful conversation with Ken, Linda. I agree with everything Ken says. I have the same three sets of plug-ins – On1, Topaz and Nik – and Silver Efex, from Nik is streets ahead of the others for B&W conversions in my opinion. I like the top image best out of the three – it has that extra contrast that suits the scene. My B&W printing got more and more contrasty through my 15-20 years of darkroom work and I still love that edge or bite that can be added to a digital image so easily these days.

    Like

    March 5, 2016 at 1:50 PM

    • Thanks for chiming in on this, Andy. I won’t ever be satisfied with this image, no mater what its potential may or may not be. I added two more variations and am quitting now.

      Like

      March 5, 2016 at 2:54 PM

      • I saw the additional versions Linda – I still prefer the contrasty B&W

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        March 8, 2016 at 9:54 AM

        • By “the contrasty B&W” I assume you mean the first image, which is the one you preferred earlier. I wonder how different our monitors might be because I see the second one as more contrasty even if overall lighter in tone. So we both prefer contrasty; our preferences just differ on examples of it!

          Like

          March 8, 2016 at 11:13 AM

          • I confess to being a little muddled with the initial story because on my screens it is the first image in the blog that is the one with the most contrast – the blacks are deeper that creates the overall contrast

            Like

            March 8, 2016 at 1:43 PM

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