Experimenting with HDR Black and White Processing

Since early January I’ve been experimenting HDR Black and White processing. For the accompanying photos I usually began with a color HDR image that I then processed again with Topaz B&W, onOne Perfect B&W or NIK Silver Efex Pro 2 to create the HDR Black and White version. Through this combination of processing techniques and apps I have rediscovered my love of black and white photography.

The workflow that I have adopted for HDR Black and White images usually begins by using a three frame bracket set of +2, 0 and -2 EV exposures that I first merge using NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and apply the Balanced Preset with Accentuated Detail. After merging them I take the merged file into Adobe Camera Raw for initial adjustments to fill light and shadows as well as a curves adjustment. I also adjust Saturation and Luminance in ACR before opening the image in Photoshop CS5. In Photoshop CS5 I add a new layer where I usually start with lens correction filter and an unsharp mask filter. At this point I may decide to crop the image in order to refine the composition.

After I am satisfied with my color HDR version I duplicate it and add a new layer with Topaz B&W, onOne Perfect B&W or NIK Silver Efex Pro 2 to create the HDR Black and White version. The more I experiment with these B&W apps the more I find myself using Topaz B&W as my first choice. I really like being able to build my own presets with special feature such as edge treatments and opacity when I am seeking a hand tinted effect.

Vintage Motorcycle Engine Detail
Vintage Motorcycle Engine Detail

Click on any image to begin a light box slideshow of all the images in this gallery.

I think this has been a good exercise for me and helps me see more possibilities for many of the images I love to capture. HDR Black and White photography really excites my creative side and lets me reveal another facet of the world as I see it.

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