Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Challenge: Rule of Thirds and B&W

2nd challenge: Rule of Thirds

This week has been extremely hectic, so I decided since these two challenges cover aspects that I am very familiar with I would pick a few photos that I had already taken that I believed had the necessary elements to meet both challenges.

In the above image the chain  sits on the lower horizontal line with the main link at the junction of the left horizontal/vertical lines. Lake and tree line sit between the upper and lower horizontal lines. Skyline predominately above the top horizontal line, with one tree top at the junction of the upper right horizontal/vertical lines.

Here the rule of thirds is applied only to the chain, with the chain sitting on the lower vertical line and the primary link at the junction of the bottom left horizontal/vertical line.

For this photo instead of applying the rule of thirds by having lines intersect at a focal point, I placed the subject almost entirely on the left vertical line. Lining the shot up so that the line would pass through the center of the top of the boy and so the bottom link of the chain would also touch the line. I contemplated changing my position to have the line go directly through his arm and the chain, as well as intersecting at his had, however at that angle less of his face would have been visible. I could have cropped the photo to place the junction of the upper vertical and left horizontal line at his hand instead of slightly right of his hand as it is here but I preferred this composition.

3rd challenge: Black & White

Prior to converting this image to black and white I followed some of the suggestions in the 30 day Challenge descriptions. I boosted the exposure, black point, contrast, saturation, vibrancy, highlights, and added a vignette to the color photo. As you can see in the image on the right, this gave the color photo a very over processed look. It did enhance the conversion to B&W. However, in my opinion this technique did not provide as much control over the B&W conversion as I feel I have when using Photoshop or even converting the image to black and white first and then applying tonal adjusts as I have done in the following images. Maybe I just need to practice this technique more.

For this Black and White conversion, after making a number of tweaks in Lightroom I applied the HP_BW_Drastic preset I downloaded for free from Hacking Photography (HP). The tweaks were minor enhancements that did not make the photo look over processed and I really like the final results.

With both the above and below photos the images were first processed in color with adjustments in Lightroom to render vibrant photographs. For the above photo I applied the HP B&W_Hard preset, slightly adjusted the tones then applied a vignette. For the bottom photo I used the stock Lightroom B&W Contrast High preset, then tweaked the tones a bit.

Click here to see the color version

Although these images were not shot with the challenge in mind, the challenge has played a major part in how I processed the images. Later I will revisit these challenges and take some photos specifically for the challenges. Who knows, maybe that will make a difference in my view of the B&W conversion suggestion to over process the photo.

In the past I have performed image enhancement and B&W conversions in Photoshop, but since I am trying to improve my Lightroom skills these photos were all processed in Lightroom. What program do you prefer for digital photo processing?

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