Exercise: Colours into tones part 2 (DPP)

The aim of this exercise is to make practical use of channel adjustment to achieve a specific effect. Choose one of the following:

  • A landscape in which you emphasise the depth by strengthening the visual effect of haze.
  • A portrait in which you lighten the complexion without significantly altering the tones of the rest of the image.
  • A picture of a garden in which the green vegetation appears light in tone.

In addition to this, for comparison, also prepare the default black-and-white conversion offered by your software.

Having just returned from a road trip through California I decided to go for the landscape option as I was lucky enough to visit Yosemite.

Here’s the default black and white version produced by Photoshop:

falls gray

Here’s the edited version:

falls haze

The exercise states we need to emphasise depth through haze. The changes are not drastic, but i’ve enhanced the visual haze which was already apparent in the original photograph (the midday sun was harsh and situated just to the left off the shot). By increasing the blue hues (blue, cyan and magenta) of the channel slider i’ve been able to add more haze, and open up the background. I’ve also slightly enhanced the tone of the forefront objects (the rocks at the very front of the image, and the cliff to the left of the shot) with these objects being clear and crisp, and the snowy mountains disappearing into the haze, we have a heightened feeling of ‘depth’.

It was impossible not to try and recreate an Ansel Adams-esque picture of Yosemite. His black and white landscape photography is so iconic that I just had to play around with my photos. I produced this edited shot of the above image:

falls edit

While I understand the aim of this exercise and the importance of adding depth using the haze technique, i’ve almost done the opposite for this image and have added shadows and highlights, resulting in a very moody and dramatic image. I’ve darkened the middle mountain significantly, and added tones to the sky – ranging from almost back to white. I lightened the rock to the left which adds form and texture and lightened the rock face of the mountain on the right. I think these different shades lead the eye from the initial rocks at the front, to the rock on the left, through the valley to the mid rock and then finally to the rocks in the centre, and the snowy mountains in the very far distance.

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