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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Special Techniques For Landscapes

Excerpted from Rob Sheppard’s new book, The Magic of Digital Landscape Photography

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Joshua Tree National Park, Calif. With the right subject, black-and-white yields a dramatic image.
Here’s why you might do that:
1 You see what you get. There’s an art to recognizing and capturing black-and-white tonalities in a scene. If you haven’t shot a lot of black-and-white, there are big advantages to shooting in-camera because you can review and revise what you shot based on what’s in the LCD.
2 The experience is more direct. When you shoot black-and-white for black-and-white, you begin to work in a creative space that’s not the same as shooting in color. You see things differently and work the scene in new ways.
3 You can adjust filtration effects to fit the scene while you’re there. By using the camera’s built-in filtration effects or by using filters made for black-and-white shooting, you can immediately see how black-and-white tonalities can be changed and adjusted for a scene.
4 The image is close to finished. When you shoot black-and-white, you don’t have to do any conversion from color.
5 RAW with JPEG black-and-white gives you flexibility. When the camera is set to shoot black-and-white, you’re locking in the JPEG files to black-and-white. RAW files aren’t converted to black-and-white. In fact, if you process the photo in any RAW converter other than the camera manufacturer’s program, you won’t see the black-and-white image at all. A way to then shoot black-and-white is to shoot RAW + JPEG in your camera so you get the best of both formats.

On the other hand, you gain some unique advantages by shooting in color, then converting to black-and-white.

Here’s why you might do that:
1 You’re not locked into one black-and-white image. A big disadvantage of shooting black-and-white directly is that it can’t be changed to color or any other black-and-white tonal interpretation of the scene. You’re locked into that one file.
2 Filtration after the fact. You can always filter the color image in the computer, after shooting, to translate the scene into preferred black-and-white tones.
3 Interactive filtration. Suppose you’re a newcomer to black-and-white photography and don’t completely understand filters and all of their various effects. With today’s digital darkroom, you can try different filter effects on the same scene and instantly see how they change it.
4 Totally variable filtration. In the computer, you can fine-tune the filter colors to very subtly adjust grays in the black-and-white image.
5 Multiple, yet separate filtration. In the computer, you can apply filters selectively to the photo so that you’re not locked into one way color changes to black-and-white across the whole image.


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