Yosemite Valley in B&W with DA* 16-50

Discussion in 'Pentax' started by hin_man, Jan 20, 2017.

  1. Hin,
    As a long time lurker I have enjoyed your posts. These B&W photos are beautiful. Would you share your technique?
     
  2. I feel flushed when I see your comments. There is not much secret in my life or photography -- I love to share when opportunity comes and it is an honor to share my amateur approach in photography. I use the word 'amateur' as I don't like to learn from one master but to learn from others and have my personal touch on things -- be it right or wrong as art form comes from one's vision and not have a fix set of rules that limit creativity. I don't learn from a set of youtubes or a master like Ansel Adam but I experiment in trying it out cluelessly until my approach in editing stick to some consistence. I spend my most time in editing. Editing and post processing is required in all of my photos and sometime I wish there is a camera or a set of techniques that I can do without editing -- I have not found the secrets yet and not even close. I do go through a laborious and painful and joyful process in editing. Processing brings my photographic vision alive and sometime a different vision is rendered after processing -- a surprisingly refreshing result when that happens.

    And I hate seeing myself taking multiple shots on the same scene. I like to re-train myself as if I am still shooting film and be content with 1 to 2 shots on the same view before I move to the next scene. I rather have a bad picture and learn from it then spending the countless hours in picking 1 out of 10 similar pictures. I despise people gun-shooting a scene or the same subject with 5 to 11 frames for second to fill the buffer to show how fast their awesome camera can shoot -- I hate it.

    My b&w pictures are usually go through some editing in LightRoom and then go through Nik Collection using Silver Efex Pro. I highly recommend Google Nik Collection and please give that free download a trial. It is an eye opener for me as I like to experiment on the Modern Film simulation with various films. The choice of film simulation boils down to the mood of the moment during editing. My default go-to film simulation is Fuji Neopan Acros 100 , followed by Kodak BW400CN, TMax, TriX, and sometime I like stronger contrast with the Ilford. On the odd time, I go with plain Lightroom and start from scratch in setting saturation to 0 and tune the tone curve to my liking on shadows and highlight detail.

    Will share more when I think of something critical. Please let me know if I am veering off much from your question. Hope this helps you. We should all share what works and what doesn't.
     
  3. I have few pictures to share. All are not taken with my Pentax K-3/K-5 gear but rather my lighter and compact travelling camera with Sony A6000 and a cheap $120 MF lens with Zonlai 25mm f/1.8 in E-mount. Both are processed in Nik Collection. The b&w is done strangely in Agfa film while the color one is likely done in Portra 160 VC along with Detail extractor. Nik collection has other components and I have used mostly in this order

    • Silver Efex Pro
    • Color Efex Pro
    • Analog Film (occasionally)
    [​IMG]
    Valley Of Fire -- Slot Canyon

    by Hin Man, on Flickr
    * with Fuji Acros simulation. This picture got Flickr Explore two days ago and it is a great honor.

    [​IMG]
    Las Vegas City Lights

    by Hin Man, on Flickr
    I can't remember -- it is either a Portra 160 VC or Kodachrome 64 professional

    [​IMG]
    20170418-DSC05877-Edit

    by Hin Man, on Flickr
    with Agfa film simulation -- I rarely use this film simulation

    Cheers,
    Hin
     
  4. Thank you, Hin, for your thoughtful response. As a self taught B&W film photographer I had much fun in exploring that dynamic world. It was fun to think of developer and film and exposure combinations and where they may lead. I find the digital world less exciting perhaps because I am more mechanically inclined than electronically. This is where I find your outlook intriguing. Instead of blasting away with the shutter button; just because I can, I will imagine I am shooting film again. That may slow me down and get me to consider the image I wish to create. If I go back to some old Pentax glass that may help as well. Working the f-stop ring and slowly bringing the image into the focus I want may bring me back to earlier days. Your guidance on what you have found useful on black and white digital editing is helpful as well and I hope to have a few small successes. Thank you.
     
  5. Being a professional photographer is not only shooting and retouching photos but also constantly improving your business – growing your personal brand popularity and getting new clients. Every photographer has its own style which is the main reason why people entrust their most important moments of life to save for years in digital and paper images.
    As an experienced photographer you know how much time and efforts it takes to make the perfect pictures. It’s only you who can shoot but there is a solution to reduce time spent on photos post processing and retouching.


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    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2018
  6. Josh, thank you very much for your valuable inputs and insights.

    My brother in law is a professional shooter for wedding and he hands his work to his company and the rest goes to retouchers as well. I know that is likely the most logical way to make money in scale. As an amateur and enthusiast, I find it not as fulfilling because I find the process in editing photos the most rewarding piece in the process. Taking picture is key but the editing part to mold the final picture into the essence of the photo takes the beating out of an ordinary photo to a great photo and I will be empty without it. Maybe when I finally shoot photos for a living, it will be a very different story.

    But I doubt if majority photographers will not have a problems in letting someone retouch their own photos. It is unless someone you know in retouching is better, I will feel uncomfortable if I let someone else retouch my own pictures without knowing the retoucher work. Nobody thinks alike and it is not a partial match in style in the retouching process, I would rather do it myself if I can afford to. What if I like the picture darker and softer than that of the retoucher. Any minute difference will create a different mood and essence on what the picture is shot for. In my view, a good picture always have a tone of color, a view with brightness soothed to the tone and hue, luminosity and saturation on all channels meticulously adjusted for the spirit of the picture. I know I may be exaggerating here but that is roughly what I am thinking.

    I will never say no to anything as I am forcing myself to think out-of-the-box on ideas and recommendations. Thank you again for your insights and valuable pointers. It i well taken.

    Cheers,
    Hin
     
  7. There is no right and wrong in editing to fine tune a picture. I can sometime go overboard in the retouching department

    b&w version
    [​IMG]
    Happiness

    by Hin Man, on Flickr

    I know many of you or a retoucher may like the original one instead

    original
    [​IMG]
    Happiness In Blue

    by Hin Man, on Flickr

    I edited both pictures but the b&w is my refinement and vision in flipping the action from left to right for comfort of viewers. It is more natural for me to view things from let to right. I can't fathom any retoucher will see the way that I see my pictures. But I do think professional retoucher will know more how to best a picture to another level. I am open to find a retoucher for trial.

    Cheers,
    Hin
     
  8. [​IMG]
    Fremont Tree Hole

    by Hin Man, on Flickr

    I kept this picture as the off-focus rendering make it like an abstract. Shot was made inside a Fremont Tree hole where an explorer visiting the state park area lived once. Not much retouching except that I chose not to throw away this off-focus picture in pitch black cave-like tree hole inside a red tree in Henry Cowell Redwood State Park.

    Cheers,
    Hin
     

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