Converting to Black and White

I recently rode on the SS John W. Brown Liberty ship, a WWII freighter and troop ship. It was towed from its usual berth to a public pier for the Labor Day weekend. One of the crew parked his antique Chevy on the pier and I just had to take pictures of the pair. I used an 8mm fisheye lens (12mm effective) and took a burst of 5 photos at different exposures. I combined them using Google/Nik HDR Efex Pro 2 as shown here.


I like how the shot turned out but the bright blue rope is very distracting. Converting the image to B&W would easily take care of that, plus I like pictures of old objects to look old as well. Here’s the first version which was created with Google/Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.


Silver Efex has a collection of presets that defines a series of styles. This one is rather dark but it makes the sky look dramatic and it makes the rope less conspicuous. As I tried different presets I discovered that I liked several of them. The next has a higher contrast and some of the fine detail is lost.


The next preset is lighter. The greys are closer to the actual colors.


I started to lose the sky with the next effect. The picture is on the verge of being over-exposed.


It may be hard to tell but the next picture has a slight sepia tint. This adds warmth to a standard B&W image.


The next preset is appropriately named Film Noir. The photo is gritty (grainy), the edges are burned, and there is black vignetting in the corners. The car stands out and the ropes are partially covered.


The final version of the photo was processed with yellow preset in the style of photos from the 20’s and 30’s. Not only does it immediately invoke a sense of age bu the ropes are mostly faded out. The car is surrounded by a pale yellow haze making it the focus of the image.


That’s my series on this car. B&W may be used to save a picture with a serious flaw (in this case, the bright blue rope) and it may also change the character of the image.


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