B&W Conversion Fixing Bad Color Cast

August 05, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

I am working on fine tuning my technique in the digital darkroom. I decided to look through some older photos to practice various skills & techniques and came across photos I took back in 2006 during my first trip to West Palm Beach, Florida. I packed light and carried my Canon Powershot A250 with me. The Powershot is a digital budget friendly prosumer camera, with creative zones. It had a focal length of 5.8-23.2mm, f/2.6-5.5 (35mm film equivalent: 35-140mm) and a digital zoom of 3.6x. It was pretty sophisticated with aperture shutter and shutter speed control. I would use this camera to help me determine the optimal settings for my film SLR camera. And though it was only 4 megapixels I got quite decent shots with it.

On the PierBlue Cast, incorrect white balance

So, I was surprised when I looked at my photos from that weekend and noticed that most of my shots had a blue cast over them. Whoops I used the wrong white balance. And since this camera only saved JPGs and not RAW files I could not use Canon's Digital Photo Professional software to set the correct white balance. So, I brought the images into Lightroom and went to work fixing the white balance.

On the Pier 2On the Pier 2Fixed the white balance

And since I had to do quite a bit of editing to fix the color cast I decided to play around with creating a black and white. While in Lightroom I adjusted tone, presence, and converted to B&W. Nice start, but not quite there yet.

On the Pier B&WOn the Pier B&WAdjusted tone, presence, and converted to B&W.

My esthetic is stark B&W. I like white whites and black blacks with some gradation. I want it to feel like a Black & White image and not like a grey image. After doing an initial pass in Lightroom I sent the image over to Nik Silver Efex Pro and used one of the high contrast filters to give me that B&W esthetic I wanted.

On the Pier Silver Efex ProOn the Pier 4High contrast B&W enhancement I was quite pleased with what I got out of Nik for most of the image but the clouds were washed out and when I brought back definition in the clouds it began to look over processed and the image darkened. So, I took it over to Photoshop and blended the clouds in from the original B&W I created in Lightroom. Yes, lots of steps and tweaking to get to the final result; one in which I am pleased. I printed the picture on my small Epson photo printer and was frankly blown away, just awashed in the whimsy. You know that feeling you get when things turn out just right the way you want it.

On the Pier FinalOn the Pier Final

This kinda reminds me of those postcards you saw back in the day when you traveled. I feel like Harry Belafonte should come out and start singing. That's what good art should do, it should captivate you and invite you to step into the scene and be one with it. Ahh, whimsical photographs. Do you feel the whimsy?
 

 


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