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B&W from M8

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What I really do acknowledge on the M8 is the relative ease with which you can generate pleasing B&W results in a short time compared to analog and the control you have on the final image. This thread shows that each of us are able to interpret an image how we want without having to spend hours in a darkroom and can learn the trade easier and more comfortably.

 

Yes and no . . . I'm only 24 and I have a nostalgia for the darkroom . . . I have not yet been able to do anything as high quality in Photoshop despite its advantages . . . I can't even get good black in Photoshop . . . the transition from gray to black is so severe . . . it looks posterized . . . black is my favorite tone . . . sigh.

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So now some people think digital images look too 'digital' and vulgar and use all sorts of applied 'effects' to make them look more 'film-like' and 'artistic'.

 

Now, in the early years of the last century, some people thought that photographic images looked too 'photographic' and vulgar, and the Pictorialists used all sorts of tricks to make them look more 'graphical' and 'artistic'.

 

These measures ranged all the way from vaseline on the front lens to the laborious production of practically hand-painted bromoil prints. Other tricks were: kicking the tripod; using abrasives on the plate negative; using soft-focus lenses; veils in front of the lens; rough, grained printing papers; and (now listen) special 'effect' foils that you could sandwich with the printing paper in order to make the photo more 'painterly'. No need to shove the present-day analogues up your nose. – Then, 'Die neue Sachlichkeit' in Germany and young lads like Ansel Adams and Edward Weston in the U.S.A. showed us that the art is not in the medium and even less in 'tricks', but in the artist.

 

The problem of the pictorialists was of course that they wanted to be traditional artists, working in traditional prestigious media, but they were lacking either the application and patience to master them, or simply the talent. So they turned to photography.

 

Just as analog photography, digital will evolve its own esthetics. We will embrace and accept the smoothness of low ISOs, and the distinct look of the high-ISO image. And again, some of us will learn that the art is in the artist.

 

The old man from the Age of Past Abominations

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Andy,

 

Basically, I painted your original on top of my second version in those problem areas. That's it. No magic. No wand. No lasso. No Gaussian blur. No healing brush. I felt like I was cheating but then I remembered that I've been cheating all along (using your picture).

I'm glad you and Carsten like it!

 

Have a nice weekend,

 

Timothy

 

P.S. Visually, what's going on is that I kept some darker tone on the left-side check (our left, not the girl's, and from here on that's what I'm referring to). As you can see, the left-side eyebrow, though soft, remains strong and the darkness of the hair on the left functions as a barrier between the girl's face and the background. The shadows on the left-side hand have been lightened compared to the time before but they remain darker than your original to give them more dimensionality and power to hold up the face. I put my own chin in the palms of my hands with my elbows sturdy against the table on which my PowerBook is sitting to get the feel for it. I think you can see all this and I have just pointed out the obvious. Like I said, this time I was a little more careful in my implementation.

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That's great Lars . . . and thank you for the historical perspective . . . I just feel so caught in between. . . .

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That's great Lars . . . and thank you for the historical perspective . . . I just feel so caught in between. . . .

 

I started to learn darkroom work in 1956, in the Swedish Air Force. With luck, you too will have time to learn.

 

Then I learned other ropes in printing and publishing. I learned about hand composition with lead type, Linotype machines, repro techniques ... everything. But during my working life, the business changed more than it had done between Gutenberg and me. So all that became obsolete. But – when desktop publishing and digital pre-press came in, I learned that faster than most other people in publishing, because I knew what the job was; learning the new tools was a cinch.

 

If you have learned basic darkroom procedures and quality criteria, then moving over to digital is also just a question of learning new tools. The job is the same. We want a smooth but distinct grey scale, terminating at one end in D-max, maximum black, and at the other in paper-white specular highlights, but diffuse highlights that still show detail. And we do have better tools now. We can set whitepoints and blackpoints and bend scales in new ways. And there's no need to hijack the bathroom ...

 

You can do all the above in PS or several other apps. The final result depends on what the printing device can do. I'm in the throes of a complete change of hardware and software, so I cannot issue any recommendations. But the basics remain.

 

The old man from the Age of Wet Photography

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Come on, the JFI Colour Labs arent working (i think they are something like the "Emperiors new cloths") i checked them all, and compared them to the C1 b/w profiles, I showed them here in the Forum and NOBODY could see a difference.

 

I can see differences among various B&W conversions from RAW, JFI included. They're not ENC at all.

 

Sean

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I can see differences among various B&W conversions from RAW, JFI included. They're not ENC at all.

 

Sean

Well, I'm sure that I could too, if only I could access the JFI profiles. I now have my M8, and the "free" copy of Capture 1 LE, I've bought the JFI set, and installed it in the correct folder. I've read the help documents, which don't quite match the software, and worked my way through them, but still I can't work out how to convert a DNG to a JFI profile. Obviously I'm missing something, but for someone who can walk into a darkroom with a negative and come out with a good print, it's more than slightly frustrating. All suggestions most gratefully accepted.

 

David

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I shoot the M8 in RAW. I convert using Convert to B&W Pro. Recently I did this, and chose "Tri-X" and Orange filter as the "look" I wanted, as that is how I shot a lot of my B&W seascapes. I also gave a very light sepia look using that program. I then used PK Sharpener Capture Sharpener, and Output Ink Jet Sharpener. I enlarged the image to 16"x24" using Alien Skin "Blowup", and added grain using "Exposure", also by Alien Skin. The framed and matted B&W is hanging in a local Restraunt that has 70 of my pieces hanging. The print is every bit as good , quality wise, as anything I ever did with B&W film and my own darkroom. The image is here:

http://www.modernpictorials.com/D227A%2072dpi%20.jpg

Regards

Dave

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Dave,

Your workflow is very much like mine. It works very well doesn't it. I haven't tried the "Blow up" program yet. I've been in darkrooms since 1969. I'm a big fan of BO (black ink only) for printing from film scans and digital files. It helps to scuff up the sometimes too good, too smooth digital image and renders fine details very well. You either like the look or don't.

 

I find I really like Alien Skins HP5 rendition. It is so close to where I might take an image both grain and tone shift wisw and with just one click it is now often my starting point. I guess my only gripe with ASE is the preview gets more and more inaccurate as the file size grows. Even back in CS2 what you see grain wise vs what you are about to print is really pretty different. After you use it for awhile you get to anticipate that.

 

I'm not using an M8 (yet). My M system is still film based, my digital system is Nikon D2 and recently Pentax K10D. Don't knock the Pentax. Great file, small size and nice small Limited lenses.

 

You really can get good B&W from digital.

 

Neil

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Dave,

Your workflow is very much like mine. It works very well doesn't it. I haven't tried the "Blow up" program yet. I've been in darkrooms since 1969. I'm a big fan of BO (black ink only) for printing from film scans and digital files. It helps to scuff up the sometimes too good, too smooth digital image and renders fine details very well. You either like the look or don't.

 

I find I really like Alien Skins HP5 rendition. It is so close to where I might take an image both grain and tone shift wisw and with just one click it is now often my starting point. I guess my only gripe with ASE is the preview gets more and more inaccurate as the file size grows. Even back in CS2 what you see grain wise vs what you are about to print is really pretty different. After you use it for awhile you get to anticipate that.

 

I'm not using an M8 (yet). My M system is still film based, my digital system is Nikon D2 and recently Pentax K10D. Don't knock the Pentax. Great file, small size and nice small Limited lenses.

 

You really can get good B&W from digital.

 

Neil

Hi Neil:

I built my first darkroom in 1959, and only recently gave it up (we down sized to a small condo). I am very pleased to hear you like the Pentax Digital. I have a boat load of Pentax screw mount primes. I occasionally use them with an adapter on my 1DSII, but the manual stop down requires using a tripod. How do screw mount lenses work on the modern Pentax digital---do you need to manually stop down? I recently made a 16"x24" color print from an M8 file, and added "grain" with ASE....the grain in the blue sky really adds to the print...eliminates any "plastic look" The pic is here:

http://www.modernpictorials.com/D231A%2072dpi.jpg

Best regards

Dave

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well expressed, Lars.

and very true...

 

So now some people think digital images look too 'digital' and vulgar and use all sorts of applied 'effects' to make them look more 'film-like' and 'artistic'.

 

Now, in the early years of the last century, some people thought that photographic images looked too 'photographic' and vulgar, and the Pictorialists used all sorts of tricks to make them look more 'graphical' and 'artistic'.

 

These measures ranged all the way from vaseline on the front lens to the laborious production of practically hand-painted bromoil prints. Other tricks were: kicking the tripod; using abrasives on the plate negative; using soft-focus lenses; veils in front of the lens; rough, grained printing papers; and (now listen) special 'effect' foils that you could sandwich with the printing paper in order to make the photo more 'painterly'. No need to shove the present-day analogues up your nose. – Then, 'Die neue Sachlichkeit' in Germany and young lads like Ansel Adams and Edward Weston in the U.S.A. showed us that the art is not in the medium and even less in 'tricks', but in the artist.

 

The problem of the pictorialists was of course that they wanted to be traditional artists, working in traditional prestigious media, but they were lacking either the application and patience to master them, or simply the talent. So they turned to photography.

 

Just as analog photography, digital will evolve its own esthetics. We will embrace and accept the smoothness of low ISOs, and the distinct look of the high-ISO image. And again, some of us will learn that the art is in the artist.

 

The old man from the Age of Past Abominations

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Dave, I haven't tried any screw mount lenses but I imagine those would be stop down. As for later K mount lenses those should be auto stop down. Honestly the very first SLR I used was an Asahi Pentax H1a my High School had. I've had more or less no contact with them all since and I haven't really followed the Pentax line up for decades.

 

Google Carl Weese and check his site for backround on the K10D and his findings.

 

It was just the size/features/tiny DA lenses that got me interested. For less than 1/2 the price of an M8 body I have a K10D and 3 nice prime lenses.

 

My D2HS kicks this cameras butt for firing speed, focus speed etc but something about this camera just really appeals to me.

 

The lenses are no comparison to summilux's or summicrons I own. Why would they be. They are no less good than Nikons or the Canon lenses I have experienced.

 

I've also used ASE or Nikon NX to add grain to some shots and I agree, they put the last touch on the image. I have a shot of Frenchmans Bay in Maine, early morning soft light, Lenbaby on the D2 Nikon and a nice blurry dreamy look. I made a 12x17 and it wasn't till I added grain that it became what I saw.

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Lorenzo proves that most BW images need filtering. The first one he shows is unfiltered. The second is filtered. The fact that the first is a jpg and the second a post-processed dng is relevant only because you can filter raw pictures (with the canal tool) in Photoshop, but with a jpg you must use an actual filter before the lens. Lorenzo's post-processing is equivalent to a yellow-orange filter. Traditional BW filters in the Y-O-R series work perfectly well with the M8. Burning and dodging does of course demand Photoshop, but the need does often indicate that you have to some extent botched the neg.

 

The old man from the Age of Brovira

 

I know that Lars is referring to digital filtration through channel mixing and whatnot.

 

Nevertheless, I'm wondering if any black-and-white M8 shooters have dared to try putting color filters in front of their lenses. For instance, with a blue filter in front of the lens, I imagine the result would be an image that still has some color variation but obviously has a heavy blue hue degrading the purity of other colors. If the image were simply desaturated, would the result be something like using a blue filter for black and white film where the blue sky would be lightened, water would be lightened, and atmospheric effects would be enhanced? Could there be some unique results obtained this way, that is, with filters in front of lenses, plus digital filtration?

 

Thinking laterally,

 

Timothy

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. Lorenzo's post-processing is equivalent to a yellow-orange filter.

The old man from the Age of Brovira

 

 

Not exacly!

 

I would never reach the result i got here simply by filtering wit an orange glass filter on a BW film, first becasuse the blue of the sky was very very pale (not many blue sky in Milano!!) and second because with an optical filter (for example red) it would had made too lighter the faces with no contrast.

IMO one of the biggest advantage of making BW from a digital color file is that you can use filters but by working on different layers with differents methods you can for example have only the darkening effect of a red filter something you could never get with optical filters.

In this picture to get the sky as it is i converted the file in LAB and than I made a layer mask from the B channel wich I usede to differenciate the sky from the clouds.

 

ciao

 

Lorenzo

 

http://www.lorenzocevavalla.it

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Crappy picture. All it really shows is how hard it was snowing on Saturday in Central Texas. Truly a total experiment w/M8 and dedicated b&w mode. I'll do better soon, I promise:D

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On the ground where Lorenzo is threading, the line is hair-thin between tonal correction and outright manipulation. Admittedly, the information about the clouds does exist in the original file.

 

Yes, you can use an M8 the way the pictorialists used their large plate cameras. They were essentially darkroom photographers. Their final prints had little to do with what the camera captured. I suppose I am more of the quick-draw type.

 

The old man from the Age of the Colt Model P

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I'm curious, can you bring out texture in the snow-covered ground?

 

Timothy

 

Yes, same as if you were shooting transparency film. Be careful not to burn out the highlights. Metering the snow manually would give you 18% grey, 2 f-stops more means about 72% reflectance and detail preserved. An incident light measurement would be even safer because that gives you a trustworthy straight exposure. Don't go out without an incident meter somewhere in your pants, when there's snow on the ground—or most any time! Otherwise, bracket in a systematic fashion and learn from the results. I had to recover from an operation and got little chance to try out the M8 on snowscapes.

 

The old man from the Age of Guessposure

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Lars, Snowscapes are beautiful with the M8 thanks to its good dynamic range: The snow is perfectly structured on print, but the monitor fails to render it...

 

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