Black and White

Black and White

Brian Auer | 08/04/2007 | Santa Monica, CA | 157mm * f/2.8 * 1/750s * ISO100
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I took this photo a while ago, but I keep coming back to it because I find it so interesting. Not only is the photo black & white, but there are several other references to these colors and the concept of opposites and contrast.

The chess pieces are black and white. The clothes on the two men are black and white, and they match the colors of their chess pieces. There's also a contrast between the two men — one young and one old. Not only that, but the older fellow is wearing the white, which is generally associated with age. Their hair is black and white, respectively. They're both using something to block the sun from their eyes — a hat and sunglasses.

… just some thoughts I had on this one, but I'm sure everybody sees something different.

Black and White Post-Processing

  1. Original JPEG
    The JPEG straight out of the camera was way too warm, and a bit muddy.
  2. Processed RAW
    The RAW file was processed for white balance and a little bit of contrast to remove the haziness about it.
  3. Touch-Ups
    I used a non-destructive cloning layer to get rid of the stuff on the ground by their feet.
  4. Black & White
    I removed the color by using Photoshop's Black & White adjustment layer with 84% red, 32% yellow, 40% green, 60% cyan, 20% blue, and 80% magenta.
  5. Curves Adjustment
    Typical “S” curve for added contrast — maybe a little stronger than I usually use, but it works fine in this photo.
  6. Contrast Blends
    This one is subtle, but it's there. I stamped the visible image twice, applied a color burn layer blend to the first, and a color dodge layer blend to the second — both at 10% opacity and 100% fill.
  7. Sharpening
    Unsharp mask at 90%, 1.6 pixels, and a threshold of zero.
  8. Vignette
    I added the non-destructive vignette to bring attention away from the upper corners of the frame and down into the two men. I used an amount of -100 and a midpoint of +100.