Handcrafting Digital Black & White

The motorcycle shown in the monochromatic image below has been created by hand by Ian Barry, a true artist at what he does. You can click here to read my earlier story about the Falcon motorcycle. In much the same way, the creation of a digital monochromatic image is a matter of handcrafting—every step of the way from photography to printmaking takes care and attention to detail, and cannot be reduced to a formula.

Falcon Motorcycle 2 by Harold Davis

Falcon Motorcycle 2 © Harold Davis

To create this image, I started by shooting for monochromatic High Dynamic Range (HDR). This image was created from seven exposures. Each exposure was shot at f/11 and ISO 200. I used a tripod, and manually bracketed the shutter speeds in a range from two seconds to 1/200 of a second.

I combined the exposures to create a color image, then processed the color to black & white using twelve layers. The primary conversion tool I used was Nik Silver Efex 2, but I also used other conversion methods as part of this process.

The key concept is to use Photoshop’s layers and layer masking to selectively convert different areas of the image to monochromatic using pinpoint control.

Want to learn more about shooting and processing monochromatic HDR? You can read my books Creative Black & White: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques and Creating HDR Photos: The Complete Guide To High Dynamic Range Photography or you can get it from the “the horse’s mouth”—that would be me!

I am giving an all-day Black & White Masterclass on Saturday, November 3, 2012 here in Berkeley, CA. The cost is $195.00.

Topics covered in this workshop will include:

  • The monochromatic vision: learning to see the world in black & white
  • The craft of digital black & white
  • Digital black & white workflow
  • Monochromatic conversion in Lightroom
  • Nik Silver Efex 2
  • Working in Photoshop to perfect your black & white images
  • Using Photoshop layers in the monochromatic conversion process
  • Monochromatic HDR
  • Tips & techniques from Harold Davis
  • Making fine black & white prints

In addition, there will be time for selected individual portfolio reviews (registered participants will be given information about how to submit images for consideration).

Click here for more information and registration.

Early-bird special: Note that HDR Bootcamp (Saturday October 6), Digital Black & White Masterclass (Saturday November 3), and Photographing Flowers for Transparency (Saturday December 1) are each discounted by $20 each until August 31, 2012. These three workshops are among my most popular offerings, I do not give them often, and I expect them to fill up extremely quickly in the next few weeks as word gets out. Please register now to avoid disappointment.


This entry was posted in Monochrome, Photography.

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