Black & White HDR

Capitolio Nacional

Capitolio Nacional, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

This is a shot—or, more accurately, three shots—of the Cuban Capitolio Nacional in Havana. The elegant building is mostly empty, and was hardly ever used for its intended purpose.

I took the photos that went into this extended range composite on a tripod, using my 10.5mm fisheye lens at f/22 and ISO 100. The captures were made at 0.4 seconds, 0.6 seconds and 1.3 seconds. The fisheye made for a pretty vertiginous effect, and I decided to see if I could amp it up with some black and white HDR processing.

I fed the three captures in RAW form through Photomatix and then played with the tone curve. After processing, I borrowed a trick from Trey Ratcliffe and re-processed. You can do this by hitting the Apple (Ctrl on Windows) key and the ‘T’ key. I used the second tone curve application to lighten the image up. Processing twice (or, hey, even three times) in Photomatix isn’t right for every image, but for some it works wonders.

The Photomatix version of HDR usually doesn’t appeal much to me (Ratcliffe’s images are no exception in this regard). The good news when you convert to black and white is that you lose the garish colors.

I used the Nik Silver Efex Pro High Structure filter to add a little more definition—and a bit more tonal range—to an already pretty highly charged black and white image.

This entry was posted in Cuba, Monochrome, Photography.

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  1. By Converting to Black & White | Photoblog 2.0 on August 9, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    […] I’ve noted, converting your Photomatix HDR to black and white means never having to apologize again for garish […]

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