152/365 An Attempt At Black & White



I remember the day. I remember walking along a path and coming upon this incredible convoluted set of branches reaching out way beyond other branches. It took my breath away and I tried, oh how I tried, to capture what I saw. I failed. I only had a 50mm f/1.8 lens on me so I couldn’t get a wide angle shot. In order to get the expanse of the limbs, I had to back up. That made the limbs small and inconsequential. Up closer though, I lost the breadth of the limbs. I tried it at an angle, but, again, lost the breadth so I stopped photographing it and took my losses. But the memory of its strength persisted.

After that, though, every time I looked at photos of it, I was disappointed so I avoided it. I pretended it didn’t exist. And yet, in the back of my mind I thought there must be SOME way to make it work.

I took many other photos that day and I would have used one of them for today’s post, except I already wrote about them. (Astonished By The Story) So today, when I realized I would be using a photo from this set of photos, I thought I’d attempt to salvage the branches.

My first thought was that all the color detracted from the branches. The green grasses and evergreens, the yellow flowers, the blue sky, and even an orange cone in the distance all fought against them. I thought I’d convert it to black and white. I use Photoshop CS4 as my photo editing application. I don’t remember all I did but I know I took it into LAB at one point, applied contrast, curves, and played around with the various channels. My results are so-so, some of it is because this really isn’t a good photo to convert to black and white. The main reason, though, is because I’m not used to working in black and white. Tonal values are important and I feel like I missed out on this photo.

However, all that being said, I made an attempt and now I’m curious as to how to convert a color photo into a decent black and white one. I have a book buried deep in a box that I remember had a great section on black and white conversion. It’s very technical and convoluted (hence, the reason it’s buried deep in a box) but I may pull it out again and review it.

Here is the original color version.

Branches in Color

Why this doesn't work for me; the branches act as a frame and therefore you see everything below it, which is really rather boring. Half the photo is ignored because of the framing. My intention was to make the branches the focal point but it didn't work the way I wanted it to work.

I think it’s just too messy. Ultimately there is too much going on. Oh pooh! Forget all this and just go to the link above (Astonished By The Story) and see the better photos.


About Dezra Despain

Life is full of stories waiting to be revealed.

Posted on April 2, 2012, in 365 Days Journey Through the Past and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Oh pooh? How freaking funny are you. I think the picture works better in color.

    • Writing is my medium so I can be pretty funny because I can think about what I want to say. In person, not so much, though if you get me on a roll bantering with someone else, I can hold my own. I do have a keen sense of humor, though.

      I agree, it works better in color. But, truth be told, it really isn’t a great photo one way or the other. I was just trying to see if I could make it say what I wanted it to say. Apparently not. So now I can put it out of my mind again.

      • I probably do better writing than I do inter-personally as I tire from having to spend all the energy involved in a real give and take. Not to say I can’t manage it, it just wipes me out.

      • That’s typical of introverts. I’m an introvert myself but I also love being with people and engaging in conversations on a regular basis. But then I hit a certain point where I go sit by myself for awhile to recharge. I was at a party once where the host found me sitting in the corner of a rather large open closet and asked me if I was ok. It was the only place where I could be alone! I said, “I’m an introvert.” He said, “Ah. Ok. Come out when you’re ready.” His wife is a psychologist.

      • You went and hid in a closet?! Dezra you are a freaking hoot. Had I been there I would have been in that closet first, but would have let you in, if you didn’t talk. lol. I actually would welcome you to my closet. Bring alcohol.

      • If you had been at that party, you definitely would have been in that closet. It was a house warming party. The husband is really into fantasy/scifi/games and his whole basement was COVERED in toys, stuffed things, weird things, etc. He had the cement floor painted in swirls and sworls and there were students (he’s a gaming instructor) and faculty and everyone else milling around and marveling at it all. After a while I was completely overwhelmed. He had an open closet where he kept costumes and where I found refuge because no one had discovered the costumes yet. He saw me duck into the closet so came to make sure I was ok. I only needed a few minutes to regroup, then I could start all over again.

        And I don’t talk in closets. But I will drink. So alcohol is a given.

      • You are a lovely woman Dezra, and a joy.

  2. It’s really fun to follow your train of thought through your evolution and development processes with this image that has captured your imagination so. It’s also interesting how our minds work, remembering distinctly a particular element that caught the attention and holding that element in active recall, dismissing and mentally editing out other elements that were not important or detracted from the point of interst. I do this too. Sometimes I can never get a well- (if unrealistically-)remembered subject the way I visualized it. That doesn’t stop me from trying, though. At we learn something more from each new attempt.

    • I like how you put it, “holding that element in active recall.” I remember being struck by how different those branches were from everything else surrounding them. In my mind, I see them as I felt them when I first encountered them. But I’m wondering if they really weren’t that impressive and it was just a quirk that they made an impression on me. I wonder if the reason I couldn’t get a decent shot of them is because they really weren’t as impressive as I thought. On the other hand, I am still an amateur photographer and have a lot to learn, so who knows? Maybe someday I’ll meet them again when I’m able to do them justice, if they are still as impressive as I thought.

  1. Pingback: Best of the Day: Stairs by epolemis | iPhotoloGy

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