Monochrome Madness 3-19

Monochrome Madness, a weekly gallery of black and white images hosted by Australian photographer Leanne Cole.

Arras Town HallThe sunlight shining through the ironwork of a door in the town hall at Arras.

For more black and white images or if you want to know how to join in, visit the Monochrome Madness gallery.

After Before Friday: Week 51

The After Before Friday Forum is hosted by Stacy from Visual Venturing, it features a weekly behind the scenes look at various editing processes. Featuring a gathering of photographers all keen to learn from each other, each week we post an image before and after editing. If you want to find out more, or just visit and look at the images, click on this link.

Last weekend there was an arts festival running at our local village and I took a rare opportunity to visit the roof space of the old textile mill there. When we stepped into the room I was totally amazed, it is such a beautiful space. The Leeds Photographic Society were having a members exhibition there and whilst browsing the wonderful selection of members images, I took the chance to photograph the empty area at the end of the room.


As the room was bathed in bright sunlight, but had lots of dark shadows, I thought I would try out the new HDR feature in LR6 and took three bracketed exposures (at metered exposure, one stop under and one stop overexposed).

Screenshot 2015-05-27 12.39.11

I imported the images into Lightroom and highlighted the chosen images and selecting the HDR function, I merged the three images together. This gave me an image that was very bright, I had assumed that it would choose an exposure somewhere between the highest and lowest, but it has moved the whole histogram to the left creating an overly bright image.

Screenshot 2015-05-27 12.39.52

It was the darkness of the interior and the contrast with the sunlight on the floor and in the roof lights that had drawn me to the scene in the first place, so this effect was not what I had wanted. Fortunately when you use HDR in Lightroom, it is saved as a DNG file so you can enhance it like you would a RAW file. I reduced the overall exposure, increased the contrast and clarity to get more of the tone that I had wanted. At this stage I straightened it too, with so many converging lines, it had to be level!

Screenshot 2015-05-27 12.40.53

I was still not sure about the image, not dark and moody enough, so I darkened it again and after looking it at closer up, removed the horrendous chromatic aberration (is that a special feature of the HDR?) and here it is after all my adjustments…


And just for fun (and added contrast), I converted it to black and white.


I do like the HDR feature in Lightroom, it is easy to use, gives good results, there is no doubt that it is has a greater range of tones, even when the original (before HDR) is lightened.

Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Don’t forget to visit the other After Before Friday images at Stacy’s Visual Venturing. Next week is the One Photo Focus where we all edit the same image, contact Stacy via her blog if you’d like to join in too!


One Four Challenge: March Week 2

Thank you very much to Amy at “The World is a Book” for inviting me to join in the 5 day black and white challenge. Amy’s site has a great selection of  beautiful photos taken from her travels around the world. She shares a great quote from Saint Augustine  “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”

There are two rules for this challenge. The first is to post a black and white image daily for 5 days and then to invite someone different to join each day. The first I can just about manage, but I’m going to do my own version of the second bit. Rather than invite someone to participate in the challenge, I will use each post to introduce a site, forum or challenge where I think that you will find some amazing black and white photos and photographers. Many will need no introduction and may be familiar to you already, but if you’re new to them and love monochrome, please follow the links and visit their sites.

Firstly, Robyn G from Captivate Me hosts a monthly feature called One Four Challenge, one image processed four different ways. Each week of the month the participants post a different version of their image. You will find some stunning monochrome versions amongst other colour images, but all have taken a lot of time and thought and are worth a look!

For this week, I have chosen a black and white edit of my cygnet. Apart from the convert to black and white, I made very little other adjustments, it was already quite high contrast, but I altered the tone curve to “strong contrast” and increased the sharpening and masking to try and make the feathers look more like they were brush strokes.


Week Two
Week Two


Comments and feedback welcome.

Click this link for the Week One version.

Why not hop over to see the other posts on the One Four Challenge, click on the link or use the tag “One Four Challenge” in the Reader.

One Four Challenge: March Week 1

Robyn G from Captivate Me hosts a monthly feature called One Four Challenge, one image processed four different ways. Each week of the month the participants post a different version of their image and at the end create a poll to see which image was the most popular.

I had a hard time choosing an image for this month, and nearly didn’t manage it, but I couldn’t give up after just two months! Its fun doing these One Four challenges anyway! Eventually I settled on this image I had of a cygnet, gliding gracefully across the river. I did take quite a few, so was bound to get one composition I liked, and I really liked the reflection on this one. The image was, however, not very sharp and a bit dull, it was taken in low light, so there’s quite a lot of “noise”.

For this weeks edit, I used a suggestion from Stacy at Visual Venturing, she mentioned that one possible LR workflow is to reduce the highlights to -100, increase the shadows to +100 and move the white and black sliders (with the alt key held down) until the white/black points just appear (watch her video for a proper explanation!). It produces a very contrasty and clear image, I’m not sure that I would use it all the time, but it seemed to bring out the image nicely in this case. I also used a graduated filter to increase the exposure on the swan’s body without overexposing the reflection and used the adjustment brush to lighten some of the details. I then sharpened the image with the masking at +83 to try and accentuate the texture on the wings and cropped to get to my final image.


Comments and feedback welcome.

Thanks if you voted on last weeks post for a February image, the black and white image came out on top.

Why not hop over to see the other posts on the One Four Challenge, click on the link or use the tag “One Four Challenge” in the Reader.