Sunday, July 3, 2011

Coit Tower

Coit Tower, San Francisco - Holga 120N Portra 400VC, color conversion via PS CS3
This is another Holga image from the trip K and I took to San Francisco last November.  The original of this is a color image.  The color image is fine, but the color distracts from what I think are the cool elements of this shot - the textures and patterns of the tower and sky, along with the compositional framing coming from the tower base and the tufts of trees visible to either side.

In color, the shot is okay, but a little flat.  In black and white, I think it really comes into its own. Here is one of those situations where the digital darkroom kicks the wet darkroom's ass without even trying that hard.  Once scanned, I can take the color image of this shot into Photoshop and not only convert the image to black and white, but do it in a way that allows me to simulate the effect that would have been achieved by taking the shot on black and white film with color filters.  For example, in this case, I dropped the reds out of the image before conversion, which gives an effect similar to having shot the image with a red filter - darkens the sky, emphasizing the clouds.

Black and white films provide a feel to the image that can't quite be matched by the effect of a color conversion (black and white film has a very broad tonal range, for example - broader than color film and much broader than you will get with a digital camera).  I like shooting black and white directly, but when shooting color its nice to know there is the option of producing the end image as black and white.

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