Making Black and white images

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One of my favourite hobbies is creating black-and-white images. I enjoy the process of transforming a colourful picture into a monochrome one, using different techniques and tools. I find that black and white images have a unique aesthetic and mood, that can convey emotions and messages more effectively than color. I also like the challenge of working with shades of grey, contrast, and texture, to create a balanced and harmonious composition. Black and white images are timeless and classic, and they can capture the essence and beauty of any subject.

One of the most powerful ways to create a stunning black-and-white image is to use contrast and tones effectively. Contrast is the difference between light and dark areas in an image, and tones are the shades of grey that make up the image. By manipulating contrast and tones, you can enhance the mood, drama, and emotion of your image, as well as draw attention to the main subject and create a sense of depth. But contrast and tones alone are not enough to make a black-and-white image work. You also need good content, which means a strong composition, a clear message, and an interesting story. Content is what gives meaning and purpose to your image, and what makes it stand out from the crowd. Without good content, contrast and tones will not have much impact. Therefore, when you are creating a black-and-white image, you should always consider both the technical and the artistic aspects of your work, and use contrast and tones to enhance your content, not to replace it.

Making a black-and-white image from a digital colour image can be a creative way to highlight the shapes, textures and contrasts in your photos. However, not all colour images look good in black and white. You need to consider some factors before converting your images, such as the tonal range, the subject matter and the mood you want to convey.

One of the easiest ways to convert a colour image to black and white is to use an adjustment layer in Photoshop or a similar photo editing software. An adjustment layer allows you to apply a grayscale conversion without affecting the original image. You can also fine-tune the results by adjusting the brightness and contrast of different colours in your image.

To create a black-and-white adjustment layer in Photoshop, follow these steps:

  1. Open your colour image in Photoshop.
  2. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Black & White. Name the layer and click OK.
  3. Photoshop will apply a default grayscale conversion to your image. You can see the effect in the Layers panel and on the canvas.
  4. To adjust the grayscale conversion, go to the Properties panel and use the sliders to change the brightness of different colours in your image. For example, you can drag the Red slider to the left to darken the red areas or drag it to the right to lighten them.
  5. You can also use the Auto button to let Photoshop choose the best grayscale mix for your image, or use the Preset menu to select a predefined grayscale mix.
  6. If you want to add a tint to your black and white image, check the Tint box and click on the colour swatch to choose a tint colour.
  7. When you are happy with your black-and-white image, save it as a new file or export it as you wish.

By using an adjustment layer, you can easily convert your colour image to black and white and make it pop with some simple adjustments.

Spent the Day with my Printer

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I have spent most of my day recalibrating my monitors and checking the calibration of my printer (Epson P600). Made some good prints in both BW and Colour and decided what tweeks it needs to give me the picture I desire.

Getting the printer to give you exactly what you see on the screen is not always easy but I am happy with what I got. Its now pretty darned close. Used a whole pack of 25 A4 semi matte paper.

Printing your Pictures

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Too me a good picture is not finished until it has been printed, framed and put up on my wall (or someone elses wall). In this digital age in which we live we have moved away from the print as an end product to a picture on a screen. We have become satisfied with seeing the images we make on our computer screen.

We spend a large amount of time, and money getting the best equipment we can afford to make the sharpest pictures and then look at them on a small computer screen, or even a big screen. To me this is not satisfactory and I really enjoy seeing my pictures made into large prints, A3 or A3+ or bigger, these then give me that extra pleasure that I desire and hopefully will give others the same when the see them.

Why is it so important to me to see my images in printed form ? This is not an easy question to answer.

Time and the reason to print are different for different people. Do you want your pictures to be seen both now and in the future when you are no longer around.


In fifty or a hundred years time will we be using the same computer systems and storage devices and will they be compatable with the pictures we have stored digitally. A well made print, even an injet print could last upwards of 100 years and if printed on high quality archival paper maybe even 300+ years.

A Legacy

Would you like for people in the future to see, and maybe admire the pictures you have taken today. Printing is certainly one way of achieving that. The world changes all the time and the way we see and live changes also. The pictures we take today may have historical value tommorow but may be lost if they remain stored only in the digital realm, so printing them has value.

The Process

Print making can be done mainly in three ways.

Send away to a commercial processor and have them printed to your specification

Create your own ”darkroom” and print the ”old fashioned way” start using film again.

Buy a good quality inkjet printer and a stock of archival paper.

Lets take number 2 first.

Lots of people are returning to using film instead of digital cameras and doing their own processing. This can be an expensive option. When I was shooting film I had my own darkroom and process all my own film and prints. Film was much cheaper and easily avaible then as was good paper and the chemical to produce the negatives/positive and associated prints. Kodak was still around with the films I used to use ( Tri X and Kodachrome 2), Ilford also made some great films and papers. Anyone remember Cibachrome. The paper was discontinued in late 2011 and presently, in North America, there are only about five full-time practitioners of the Ilfochrome process.

Number 1

Sending out will be the best thing for most people, as there is little or no investment required equipment wise and the process is easy, but control of the final print is difficlt as once you have uploaded to the appropriate site then you have to relie of the processor to get the image right. A good company will help you get what you want and they are fairly priced.

Number 3

Buying a printer and taking control of the whole process is personally my favoured option, but not the cheapest. Buying a printer is just part of it, a good quality A3 size printer is not a cheap option and when you factor in the inks and paper it can work out to be expensive but the imprtant thing to me is the ability to control the whole process from begining to end.

My particular machine, that I purchased in Phnom Penh used, is Epson SureColor P600, the Japanese version (px-5 vii) and it has been converted to use tanks for the inks (K3) which overall makes it cheaper as I can buy the pigment inks in bulk. It has 8 different colors of inks and produces excellent colour and monochrome images.

The inks are available but I do have a problem securing good archival papers and when needed have to send to the UK or USA for a supply. They are expensive and it is difficult at the moment with Covid 19. I have found some locally sourced paper but only time with tell how long the prints will last.

I print my images because I like to leave behind something more tangible that a series of 010101’s for the future.