Shortly after arriving in Mesa, AZ last week the Five Day Black and White Challenge on Facebook caught my eye. Some awesome images were presented by some really good photographers. Not knowing much about the ‘Challenge’ I asked my friend Kelly Pape, a Kamloops, B.C photographer to bring me up to speed.
Her images were very impressive especially her image of Kamloops Lake after a storm. I commented on the image. She replied by challenging me to take part. Simple as that, I was in.
I love black and white photography. Most if not all of the images in the 5 Day Challenge were pretty awesome. Wondering how I would measure up I began to think of images that I would like to submit.
I have a series of podcasts called Nik Radio. They are sponsored by Nik Software and are hosted by Scott Shepard. He interviews prominent photographers from around the world. Colby Brown from Denver, CO, Suzanne Mathias from Phoenix AZ and Peter Eastway from Australia are but a few. I find them to be very motivational. Usually I listen on my ipod when I am working out at the gym.
One interview I listened this week was with Steven Campbell, a Las Vegas photographer. From it I gleaned a nugget of information that I was able to implement in processing some of the images I posted to the 5 Day Challenge.
Usually a good black and white digital image starts from a tonally, well balanced color image. That is how I have approached the black and white conversion process. Most of my editing is done in Lightroom 5. With it I get the best colour image I can then move the image to Silver Efex Pro 2. Sometimes I will move an image into Photoshop where I use Nik’s Color Efex Pro 4 to render the best colour.
Steven’s process included another Nik plugin Viveza in which he takes his finished color image and pushes the saturation past what would be acceptable in a normal color image. Then he moves that image into Silver Efex Pro 2 for the conversion to black and white.
I tried this with my image of the beach at Mount Douglas Park in Victoria, B.C. Remarkable! The amplified tones created by the increase in saturation really showed up well in my finished black and white image.