Black & White Photography has me Fascinated

This past week has seen me finishing the layouts for the print version of my Affinity Photo How To book. This afternoon I hit the publish button and with a bit of luck, the print version will be on sale on Amazon within 24 hours.

Unfortunately, with most of my time going into the book, there hasn’t been any new photography. Instead, I’ve confined my activities to processing and reprocessing old images. Here’s one of a group of Silver Birch trees in the Peak District.

Silver Birch in the Mist, Peak District. Fuji XT2 with Fuji 16-55 lens 16mm. Tripod mounted exposure of 1.5” at f/11 and ISO200.

Whilst I’ve photographed these trees many times in varied weather conditions, I haven’t really considered how they would look in black and white. But after my recent run of good results processing black and white, I thoughts it was time to try and I’ve extremely pleased with the results.

In terms of my processing, the original RAW file was converted to a colour image using Capture One 2021. I then used the Nik Collection to convert the image to Black and White in Nik Silver Efex Pro. After that, I switched to On1 Photo where I applied the Dynamic Contrast filter to the foreground tree followed by a Glow filter to the entire image.

Although I made the conversion to black and white using Nik, I could equally have used On1, which is the subject of this week’s YouTube video.

On1 Photo Black and White Processing

With my head very much in the black and white processing space, I decided to share how I processed this next shot.

Saddleworth, Fuji XT2 with Fuji 18-135 lens at 70mm. Handheld exposure of 1/20″ at f/11.0 and ISO800.

This is another Saddleworth image from January 2019, taken with a Fuji XT2 and Fuji 18-135 lens (see my lens review). This time all the process is with On1 Photo using the Effects filters. Even if you don’t use On1 Photo, you might still find the video interesting because similar filters are available in other software.

You can watch the video on my YouTube channel with the link (https://youtu.be/a9uoO4onTQw).

I hope that you enjoy the photos and video and have a great weekend.

4 thoughts on “Black & White Photography has me Fascinated

  1. your books are very practical, i have bought a few and they were helpful. I don’t know how you manage all this software learning and teaching. I have been using photoshop since the first version and because I have learned quite some of it I am quite attached 😉 I really do not know enough to compare across softwares for black and white conversion, i usually convert in camera raw or later as a black and white layer in PS. I also have used Topaz B&W but I like to have more control in PS. The major difficulty in B&W is, in my opinion, to know how I want the photo to look like before I start. I don’t always. Anyway, I like your birch pic in the fog, this gives me the idea of going chase the naked aspens this winter at least once. We usually only notice Aspen and Birch in California when it’s the fall.

    1. Thank you. Your comment raises a few questions so here are a few things to think about:
      1. Most software has the same features but different companies dress them up differently. When you learn a technique you just need to work out how to apply it when you work with other software. Just don’t expect the interface to look the same.
      2. Photography and knowing how to use editing software is my full-time job. For most people, my full-time job is a part-time passion they fit into spare time (something we all have less of these days).
      3. Understanding how you want something to look before you start is helpful but not essential. Sometimes it pays to experiment because that helps you understand what works and what doesn’t; it’s not always what you expect.
      4. If you want inspiration for your own work, look at the work of others and ask yourself what can I borrow. The more work you look at the more ideas you have.

  2. Hello Robin,

    I am considering purchasing your new Affinity Photo book but I have a question: Will you be updating it to reflect the new features on the newly release version 1.9?

    Thank you!

    From my mobile device with best wishes Jorge.

    >

    1. Hi Jorge,
      There isn’t anything in the latest release that changes what’s in my new book. You have also reminded me that I need to write an article about this as lots of people are being dazzled by regular new features and releases which don’t have much substance. There are by the way some useful features in the new Affinity Photo 1.9 but not in the areas covered by my book e.g. Astrophotography.

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