09 Jun 15 . Today's B&W submission is something I've never tried to do before, and it turned out sufficiently well enough that I thought I'd share it with you. Some of you will likely not appreciate it at all, but others of you I believe will. The original was a shot I took in color for the book -- it got rejected because an individual did not like the color of the geese (I actually thought about making them pink) -- but I liked the basic composition sufficiently well and thought it would be fun to experiment a little. Before I tell you what I did, you need to know a bit about the setting. Friday was a bright sunny day with little cloud cover but VERY hazy. That resulted in a few problems for a color shot, namely, most of the colors were as if they were off an old faded color print, there was virtually nothing interesting in the sky, just a clear washed out back drop, and things distant were quite soft. So while the shot could be crafted to look quite nice, and it was, even if you don't like the natural colors of geese, I felt there was more lurking inside. And that was what I wanted to tease out. Now the look I wanted isn't natural, that is to say, you could never find the lighting situation that would give this look, although everything in the composition is natural, i.e., it is just what was there on the beach. What I set out to do was to add a large amount of depth between the bluff on the right and the water behind it because that is how it actually is, and to bring out all the elements of the sky, such as they were, which wasn't much! AND, I wanted to do this using only a minimal set of tools. Which is exactly what I did and which I'll describe in the details section below. The results are best viewed from perhaps 30 - 36 inches from the screen.
I took the color image and adjusted for max tonality, then manipulated that with a levels correction. Next, I added a lot of global contrast enhancement and then masked it out of everything except the sky. This brought out the sky detail without overdoing everything else. I then used some noise reduction to smooth out that effect. Finally, I used targeted micro contrast adjustments for different portions of the scene, the trees on the right, the group across the body of the water, and the water with the idea of creating separation via contrast levels. It should result in your eyes immediately going to the grouping of trees below the geese, then bouncing your eyes to the stand of trees on the right, and then to the band of water once again looking at the geese and continuing around and around. Nikon D300s; 18 - 200; Aperture Priority; ISO 200; 1/1000 sec 2 @ f / 7.1.