Adobe Camera Raw Color Versions of Yesterday’s B&W Images

Today I am sharing the color versions of yesterday’s B&W images. All are from a single frame exposure of the scene that I processed using Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop CS5. In nearly all cases I needed to add fill light and boost the blacks in Adobe Camera Raw. While in Adobe Camera Raw I also made a minor Curves adjustment and then used the HSL adjustments to boost saturation and luminance. I have found that I get good results for the sky by first boosting saturation and then lowering luminance.

After doing most of my work in Adobe Camera Raw I then took the files back into Photoshop CS5 where I used layers to lens correct and sharpen the final image. I am still experimenting with this workflow and may be using it more in the future in lieu of creating HDR versions using the entire three frame bracket sets. I will probably continue shooting for possible HDR though because I like having the option to merge multiple exposures when needed.

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William Moylan at work surveying the towers for the Downtown Span

William Moylan at work surveying the towers for the Downtown Span

Carpenters placing a support beam for the "dance floor" which will support the concrete forms for another bridge support beam.#2

Carpenters placing a support beam for the “dance floor” which will support the concrete forms for another bridge support beam.#2

Carpenters placing a support beam for the "dance floor" which will support the concrete forms for another bridge support beam.

Carpenters placing a support beam for the “dance floor” which will support the concrete forms for another bridge support beam.

Crane on barge

Crane on barge

Carpenters placing a support beam for the "dance floor" which will support the concrete forms for another bridge support beam.#3

Carpenters placing a support beam for the “dance floor” which will support the concrete forms for another bridge support beam.#3

Topaz B&W Effects On Sale

Today’s post of Black and White images from the Ohio River Bridges Project were all processed using Topaz B&W Effects. I have tried several other B&W conversion apps and I really like Topaz B&W Effects better than any of the others. Topaz B&W Effects is a software plug-in that helps you convert color photos into beautiful monochrome images. It uses a unique B&W conversion engine that emphasizes tone and texture in order to help you get B&W images that pop.

Topaz B&W Effects is on sale for $39.99 with the code marbw until March 31, 2015.

I first processed all of these images in Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop CS5 as color photos before adding another layer with Topaz B&W Effects. In each case I applied the various color filters to see which one gave me the results I liked. I was surprised by how responsive the filters were and how easy it was to increase or decrease the amount and see in real time what worked. I then adjusted the silver and paper tones and added some different borders all while in the Topaz B&W Effects plug-in.

Carpenters placing a support beam for the "dance floor" which will support the concrete forms for another bridge support beam.#3 - Topaz B&W Version

Carpenters placing a support beam for the “dance floor” which will support the concrete forms for another bridge support beam.#3 – Topaz B&W Version

 Click on any image to open a light box and slide show.

The next three images in this post show how I was able to affect the toning of the silver and paper to give them a warmer feeling. I really like this feature as a way to subtly change the paper and silver colors to give each image a more personal feel.

Carpenters placing a support beam for the "dance floor" which will support the concrete forms for another bridge support beam.#2 - Topaz B&W Version

Carpenters placing a support beam for the “dance floor” which will support the concrete forms for another bridge support beam.#2 – Topaz B&W Version

 Click on any image to open a light box and slide show.

Another nice feature of Topaz B&W Effects is that it remembers the last settings you used when you reopen it with another image. For these three images all I had to do was open them and apply the “Last Settings Used” option. Topaz B&W Effects makes it easy to maintain continuity between images when you are editing several photos from the same shoot.

William Moylan at work surveying the towers for the Downtown Span- Topaz B&W Version

William Moylan at work surveying the towers for the Downtown Span- Topaz B&W Version

  Click on any image to open a light box and slide show.

A recurring theme in Topaz B&W Effects is that it helps you replicate traditional workflows with a modern twist. For example, traditionally you control tone with color filters, but in B&W Effects you can tweak the specific color and intensity of that filter.

 

Carpenters placing a support beam for the "dance floor" which will support the concrete forms for another bridge support beam. - Topaz B&W Version

Carpenters placing a support beam for the “dance floor” which will support the concrete forms for another bridge support beam. – Topaz B&W Version

  Click on any image to open a light box and slide show.

The final image here is cooler toned and incorporates a thin border that is part of the finishing tab of adjustments. All I had to do was hit the reset button in the Topaz B&W menu and then start over adjusting paper and silver tone. There are 15 border styles to use from soft or sharp to black or white borders.

Crane on barge - Topaz B&W Version

Crane on barge – Topaz B&W Version

 Click on any image to open a light box and slide show.

Have you ever converted a B&W image and been surprised at how flat it looks? You’ll never have that problem again. Topaz B&W Effects is an end-to-end workflow for B&W photography that will help you consistently create stunning images.

Another example: traditionally you’d have to manually dodge and burn your photos for good contrast. While Topaz B&W Effects still lets you to do this, it also offers a faster way: the Adaptive Exposure feature takes inspiration from modern HDR processing techniques to quickly create incredible tonal contrast and texture detail.

Disclaimer: I include links to the products I use when writing about them. These links allow me to earn a small commission on any purchases made through them. It is a small part of how I earn money from my photography.

Images from the Kentucky Approach to the Downtown Span

Carpenters in Section One during construction of the columns for the Kentucky approach to the Downtown Span.

Carpenters in Section One during construction of the columns for the Kentucky approach to the Downtown Span.

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The first image in this post is looking southeast from within the Waterfront Park across River Road. The columns will carry the ramps as the three Interstate highways converge to move traffic onto the Downtown Span. The large tubes on lying on the ground are concrete forms that were used to build the columns.

As you can see there is a lot happening as the carpenters and ironworkers go about their trades to build these massive columns.Things were really moving fast around the Kentucky Approach to the Downtown Span of the Ohio River Bridges Project. In late February the weather was crazy; moving between balmy spring days and frigid winter days with snow and ice. The shots in this post were taken as work resumed after one of the snow storms and the light was amazing.

William Moylan at work surveying the towers for the Downtown Span

William Moylan at work surveying the towers for the Downtown Span

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One of the trades that people don’t often recognize is that of the surveyors. These men and women are members of the Carpenters Union and are a vital component of the project. Surveyors, like William Moylan, seen here on the plinth of Tower 3, are constantly monitoring and measuring the project to make certain that everything is properly aligned.

Surveying the towers

Surveying the towers

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This shot was taken after one of the deep freezes, that happened in February, had begun to thaw releasing mini icebergs into the river.The image shows some of the surveyor’s equipment up close. On this day Surveyor William Moylan was checking to make sure that his measurements were accurate using a newly calibrated tool. He told me that this device had confirmed that all the measurements they had taken so far are right on the money.

The new bridge towers are rising.

The new bridge towers are rising.

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This is the scene looking north from the Kentucky Approach. The point where I was shooting from is between the existing bridge and the new bridge’s towers. Just about eighteen months ago this same shot wouldn’t have shown the towers in the river or on the shore.

The new bridge towers are rising  for the Downtown Span

The new bridge towers are rising for the Downtown Span

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This image shows the six towers that will carry the new downtown span when the bridge is completed. In the middle ground you can see the section of road deck that has been installed on Tower Four and behind that can be seen the road deck structure on Tower Five.

All the images in this post are from the “normal” exposure of 0 EV in my HDR bracket set of -2, 0 and +2 EV exposures. By using Adobe Camera Raw I was able to process these images without resorting to merging all three frames into a single image.

 

 

 

Ohio River Floods Waterfront Park

The snow and rain of the past couple of weeks has caused the Ohio River to Flood Waterfront Park. It isn’t often that the Ohio River floods Waterfront Park but even when it does the park’s designers made sure that a flood would not wreck the park. The berms and plantings were designed to allow debris to float past them and not pile up. This prevents the accumulation of driftwood and other waterborne debris that would them exert tremendous strain on anything it was captured by.

Ohio River Flooding of Waterfront Park #2

Ohio River Flooding of Waterfront Park #2

Yesterday morning when the Ohio River crested I was on the Big Four Bridge to get some shots of the flooding. As the attached photos show the river was very muddy and there was a lot of debris being carried by the current. In the photos with the work barges you can see a sample of how much debris gets caught when there is an obstruction to the flow.

Ohio River Flooding of Waterfront Park

Ohio River Flooding of Waterfront Park

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Ohio River Flooding of Waterfront Park #3

Ohio River Flooding of Waterfront Park #3

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Ohio River Flooding of Waterfront Park #4

Ohio River Flooding of Waterfront Park #4

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Ohio River Flooding of Waterfront Park #5

Ohio River Flooding of Waterfront Park #5

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None of today’s images are HDR instead I opted to use Adobe Camera Raw and the normal exposure from each bracket set. Doing this really eases my processing work and speeds up the editing process.

Ohio River Sunset

Thursday evening the weather was great and the Ohio River was really high due to all the snow and rain of the past couple of weeks. I decided to head down to Waterfront Park to see how the Ohio River sunset would play out.

Towhead Island #2

Towhead Island #2

For the first image in this post I followed one of my own rules and looked behind me to see how the sunset was illuminating the eastern sky. When I did I saw this incredible scene of the eastern clouds and their reflection in the river. I loved the way the colors looked a lot like oil on water and the iridescent colors that are visible after a rain on a parking lot. I tried two different crops with this image and to my thinking that created two very different feelings for the photos.

Click on any image and open a lightbox slide show.

For the past few months I’ve been experimenting with a new processing method, well new to me, to process my images using Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop CS5. I think it’s important for any artist to continue seeking new methods in order to grow. I am finding that many of my “normal” exposures are actually very detailed without resorting to using HDR processing.

While I am enjoying the freedom of not needing to merge every bracket set I shoot I am not abandoning HDR and the way it allows me to create images that express my visions for them. Some images are best accomplished using the entire three frame bracket set and NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 to get all the colors and details I like to see before finishing them with ACR and CS5.