Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

Notable: Monochrome Conversion by Ming Thein

In Article, Black and White Photography, Photographer, Software on May 8, 2015 at 8:38 pm


A scene with obvious contrast is simple enough to convert from color to black-and-white.

Ming Thein

Digital Photo Pro has their B&W issue on the stands now. You will find articles on dedicated monochrome cameras, subject matter suitable for B&W, photographer profiles and techniques. One article that caught our eye was one on monochrome conversion by Ming Thein.

However, it’s fairly easy to see that whilst there are benefits to shooting monochrome-only, you actually can convert a color RAW file into a monochrome one and lower the perceived amount of noise—though not to as low a level as a monochrome-only camera. If you have a poor interpolation method, then the luminance values can be affected, too—once again, increasing the perception of pixel-level image noise in a color image. Bottom line: Monochrome-only will give you, yes, lower noise, and, yes, better detail.


For more information: Digital Photo Pro

On Site: Brian Lav, “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” Opens at Red Filter Gallery, Lambertville , NJ

In Black and White Photography, Exhibits, Gallery, Photo Print Collector, Photographer, Software on September 6, 2012 at 11:16 am


A new exhibit opens today at Red Filter Fine Art Photography Gallery …

“Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” breaks the Red Filter Gallery’s tradition of black and white photography by also including some select contemporary color work by Brian Lav alongside his brilliant monochrome work. Gallery owner, Forrest Old states, “Brian’s work, then and now, encompasses a broad evolution of style with substance. His new ventures into color work are exciting and worth experiencing by a broad audience”.
“Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” explores the everyday life of New Jersey resident and photographer, Brian Lav. While everything from Jersey Shore sights to garage windows, old sofas and train stations are examined with a soulful eye, they are given new meaning through careful composition of angles, lines, forms and light. Lav transforms the ordinary into images of nuanced emotion with his control and attention to detail. Craft meets art, leaving a visual history of creative artifacts.
Brian Lav teaches photography at Parsons the New School for Design; an institution he has taught at since 1974. He has been photographing and teaching since 1969, and earned Parsons’ Distinguished Teaching Award in 1988. He has had over forty one man and group exhibits of his work and is represented in many permanent collections including The International Center for Photography, The Rochester Institute of Technology, The New Jersey State Museum, The Newark Museum, and The Museum of Art and History in Fribourg, Switzerland. Brian Lav is recognized as a prominent contemporary photographer, a master printer, and an exceptional educator.

Now through November 4

For more information: Red Filter Gallery

Notable: See In Black & White, Digital Photo Pro

In Article, Black and White Photography, Software on July 8, 2011 at 3:17 pm


In an article in the current issue of Digital Photo Pro,  George Jardine relates a methodology for preplanning your conversions from color to Black and White.

Fortunately, today’s digital processes are infinitely more flexible. Not only do we have the complete freedom to choose black-and-white rendering at anytime, but now we also have very precise control over color contrast after the fact. This is a relatively recent development, even relative to the digital revolution. Because the digital process gives us such great control over every aspect of our tones and textures (can you say, grain?), there has been an explosion of new tools specifically built to help us create any sort of look that our heart desires. But I believe that, after you have the basics of good tonal correction under your belt, it’s managing color contrast that will separate merely average black-and-white photographs from truly great interpretations. And so, color contrast in the black-and-white process is where we focus our discussion for this article.

For more on the article: Digital Photo Pro

Favorites: The Best Black & White Photography Conversion Software

In Black and White Photography, Software on May 27, 2011 at 2:42 pm

NIK Software NIK-5200A Silver Efex Pro 2 Mac/Windows Academic

After years of trying different software packages and conversion methodologies using Photoshop  and Lightroom, we can finally recommend an all around favorite … Silver Efex Pro 2 by Nik. For global and local edits as well as presets that will speed up your start time and accelerate your creativity, there is no better software on the market for B&W conversions … Ansel would love it!

Silver Efex Pro 2 introduces new features that offer even more control over image detail, contrast, and tonality, making it easier to go beyond the limits of the traditional darkroom. The software’s new features include the History Browser for endless experimentation, revolutionary algorithms such as Dynamic Brightness, Amplify Blacks and Whites, Soft Contrast, and Fine Structure, plus finishing touches like Image Borders and selective colorization.

Nik Software’s proprietary U Point technology provides revolutionary selective editing by enabling photographers to make the precise detail, contrast, and tonality enhancements necessary for amazing black-and-white images, without the need for complicated selections or layer masks. The selective enhancements applied through U Point technology are automatically blended throughout an image for natural results.

Key Features

  • New History Browser facilitates intuitive comparison of previous edits and different looks
  • New Dynamic Brightness enables adaptive brightening adjustments for different areas in the image
  • New Amplify Blacks and Amplify Whites increases the presence of highlights and shadows adaptively throughout the image, creating a unique contrast effect
  • New Visual Presets categorized by photographic style provide great, single-click starting points, which can be edited and shared with others
  • New Soft Contrast applies contrast intelligently, based on image details, creating a less harsh contrast and a stylized mood
  • New Fine Structure brings out even the smallest details and textures resulting in more visible image detail without creating an over-sharpened look
  • New Image Borders use organic image elements to create unique and completely random borders, giving classic darkroom-style edges a modern look with infinite possibilities
  • New Selective colorization easily adds color elements back into images utilizing
    U Point technology to precisely select objects

For more information: Nik Software

Noteworthy: Best Software For Black and White Photography

In Article, Black and White Photography, Software on June 27, 2010 at 11:11 am


Tim Grey has a nice survey at Outdoor Photographer of currently available software that aids in Black and White conversions of digital photographs.

For the annual OP Black-And-White Special issue, it’s fitting that we look at software that will help you take the most control over your black-and-white images. Despite all the advances of digital photography and imaging, photographers, and particularly nature photographers, are still drawn to the special look of black-and-white. The software companies have taken note, and they’re producing better and better tools for controlling your black-and-white images.

While Photoshop offers powerful and flexible tools for creating and fine-tuning black-and-white images from your color originals, there are many other options available. (For a look at how to use Photoshop to create the ultimate black-and-white image file for producing fine-art prints to be framed and hung on the wall, see Ming Tshing’s article "Your Perfect Black-And-White Print" in this issue.) Each of the software packages we cover in this article offers a unique set of options and controls to enable you to produce a beautiful result.

We use a number of these packages and will do an in depth review soon on one favorite: Silver Efex Pro from Nik Software.

For the full review: Outdoor Photographer

Favorites: LensWork 87 Extended Edition Black & White Photography

In Black and White Photography, Books, Photo Print Collector, Software on April 20, 2010 at 8:24 am


The latest version of Lenswork is out on DVD. If you are not a subscriber to the extended DVD version of the venerable LensWork publication, you are missing out on some great photography and features.

In this edition:

  • Loli Kantor
  • Chuck Kimmerle
  • Gavin Lyons
  • Voicu Bojan
  • Scott Hendershot
  • Miles Lowry
  • Markham Starr

Also of note are the ongoing folio presentations and Brooks Jensen podcasts.

In this issue we were very impressed by Kimmerle’s The Unapologetic Landscape and Hendershot’s Architecture. Checkout the new “LensWork Creative Labs” feature. A nice surprise was to see another visit to Mark Starr’s excellent fishermen series with a new offering In History’s Wake. We will be interviewing Mark in the near future.

To see more ofLensWork Extended 87

Noteworthy: 12 Ways to Make a Black & White Photo

In Article, Black and White Photography, Software on April 16, 2010 at 10:01 am

image image

Adobe Design Center photo

Stumbled on this “check list” of conversion techniques by Brian Auer. Though Photoshop centric and not acknowledging some of the latest 3rd party offerings, it is a good list with links.

  1. Layers From Channels – This is probably my favorite way of making a black & white. It offers the most control over the image, but it can be very time consuming.
  2. CS3 B&W Adjustment – I love this tool for evaluating if a photo has that black & white potential. This method is an extension of the channel mixer, it just has more channels to play with. The nice thing is that it has a list of presets that you can quickly scroll through to give you some ideas on where to go with the photo.
  3. Channel Mixer – This is another great tool for evaluating the photo, but not as flexible as the B&W Adjustment tool. Before CS3, I would use this for quite a few of my photos as a starting point.
  4. Hue-Saturation – I don’t typically use this, but it’s pretty quick and easy. It also gives you a bit of control over how each color contributes to the black & white output.
  5. LAB Color – This one is fairly painless, and it just involves duplicating some channel information from a different color mode. It really works well for some photos, but not for others.
  6. Calculations – Most people don’t know about this tool, but it’s there. It gives you control over combining channels and their blending modes.
  7. Gradient Map – Real quick and easy method, but doesn’t offer the amount of control as the previous methods.
  8. Desaturate – One of the simplest methods used, but often creates photos that lack punch.
  9. Grayscale – Another simple method, but also produces poor contrast black & whites.
  10. In Camera – Some cameras offer black & white photos, but I would shy away from this. You’ll have much more control over output if you grab all the colors and work with them on the computer.
  11. Threshold – Some photos can pull this one off, but not many. You’ll end up with black and white only — no grays. Good for abstract work, and creates a very bold image.
  12. Plugins – I don’t use any plugins for conversion, but I know there are a few out there. The strong point for these is that they offer fairly complex conversions with a simple interface.

For the original article: Brian Auer

Noteworthy: FotoFest Introduction of Photo-Eye International Photographer Index – iPi

In Art Fair, Photo Print Collector, Photographer, Software on April 4, 2010 at 7:43 am

photo-eye _ iPi - The International Photographer Index_Page_1photo-eye

Photo-Eye, a leader in the fine art photography community, brought an early Easter offering to FotoFest in Houston with its introduction of the beta search engine, The International Photographer Index (iPi). With a mission to list photographer profile information and images of serious practioners, the index will serve multiple audiences and allow for “one stop” shopping of photographer’s art samples.

It is our mission to become the most focused and useful index and search engine for discovering and exploring fine-art and documentary photography. Unlike all general search engines on the web where pertinent information is buried amidst the less relevant, the iPi search tool focuses only on the art and documentary community of photographers and their work, making it the ideal tool for a discerning audience of curators, gallery directors, publishers, editors, researchers, collectors and all other lovers of art and documentary photography.

For information on how to access the database or be included: iPi search tool

Favorites: Epson 3880 Advanced Black and White Printing

In Black and White Photography, Hardware, Software on March 12, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Epson 3880

As we have previously noted our favorite digital printer for Black and White fine art prints under 22” width is the: Epson 3880.

One issue has been the lack of ICC profiling for the Advanced Black and White (ABW) mode of printing.

Now you can experiment with new ABW ICC profiles from Eric Chan who previously developed a suite of 3800 profiles. Pick from several papers and give them a try. We found them to require some lighter tone adjustment, on our test paper, but we look forward to your results.

I have begun building ABW profiles for the newer Epson Stylus Pro 3880 model (which uses the UltraChrome K3 with Vivid Magenta ink set, and has a newer screening method and different driver behavior). These profiles should produce good results on a 3880, but in general will not perform well with other printer models (e.g., R2880, 3800, 4880, etc.). Different models use different inks and/or different screening methods. It doesn’t hurt to try these profiles with other models, but please be aware that the tonality may be significantly off (e.g., your prints may come out way too light or way too dark).

For more information: Eric Chan

Favorites: Black and White Production Technique

In Article, Black and White Photography, Books, Photographer, Software on January 25, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Photo 4

Harold Davis

Over the weekend we were  sent a promotion piece from written by photographer Harold Davis. It concerns taking advantage of the relatively underused LAB color space.

If you know about LAB color, you probably think of it as an alternative scheme to RGB and CMYK color. You may know that people use LAB color for sensitive color corrections and to create special color effects. You may also know that Photoshop uses LAB color for its internal color calculations. What you may not know is that you can use LAB color to create interesting black and white effects.

The easily followed directions allow pro and amateur photographers alike to access an interesting tool for striking Black and White effects.

You can see the step by step instructions at: LAB color for Black and White

You should also check the Harold Davis blog and pick the tag “monochrome” for some very nice Black and White imagery he has created.