Monochrome Madness

Imperial Sand Dunes, Yuma Arizona at Sunrise; copyright jmeyersforeman 2015

Imperial Sand Dunes, Yuma Arizona at Sunrise; copyright jmeyersforeman 2015 

Tuesday and time for a black and white image. I have been going through my hard drive, trying to sort, catalogue, keyword and combine two Lightroom Catalogues. While it is a time consuming project, it has it’s rewards, I am finding gems among the forgotten, images that I still love, and memories worth revisiting!

This image for example, taken early one morning at the Imperial Sand Dunes near Yuma Arizona. We were last in Yuma Feb of 2014, visiting my parents, seeing the sights and enjoying a little time by the pool. I wouldn’t normally process an sunrise photo to monochrome, as it is the colour of the sunrise that inspires me to click the shutter. Here I was drawn to the shadows and lines in the sand and sun-flare. These details were muted and lost in the colour photo, processing the it to black and white enhanced the long sweeping lines along the dunes.

A year of learning, exploring and seeing new things has given me a new perspective, I will be giving at least some of these old photos a new look as I remember where and why they were taken.

I was too late getting this image processed to submit for Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness, but hop on  over to her blog to see what the other photographers have been up to this week.

Tuesday’s Monochrome Madness

Peace Lily in Black and white

Peace Lily in Black and white 

It’s Tuesday, and I am preparing my image for Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness Week 52. For 52 weeks now Leanne has been hosting a blog post featuring monochrome images from different photographers from around the world. Working my way through the gallery each week has been inspirational, so many great images, so many great blogs!

I have to admit, with all the travelling we have done I have been a little hit and miss, and over the last couple of weeks I have missed more than I have contributed to the post. So I offer Leanne this lovely Peace Lily, a heart felt congratulations for a job well done, and a big thank-you for introducing me to so many great photographers and bloggers. The world seems a little smaller, and people a little more connected through her work.

If you fancy black and white photography head on over to her blog and check out some of the other contributors and I have a link to some of the images and past blog posts for Monochrome Madness.

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Praia la Rocha, Portimao Portugal

Praia la Rocha, Portimao Portugal 

We have been home in Calgary for a couple of days now, well home but still homeless! We don’t get possession of our own house until end of May, but we have a roof over our heads, and a soft bed to sleep in thanks to my lovely daughter.  It seems there are many things to get organized, like a phone, cloths from the storage locker, and seeing all of our friends.

This image was taken during our visit to Portimao Portugal, almost one year ago, March 9th 2014 to be exact. It was the beginning of our epic journey through Europe.

We have only had sporadic internet service over the last 2 weeks, it has been a real holiday from photography and blogging! Now it is time to get back into the routine. Tuesday I am going to be dedicating to black and white, or monochrome images, and contribute to Monochrome Madness hosted by Leanne Cole, she has been hosting this weekly blog for 51 weeks now.

The Painter and the Ponte Vecchhio, Florence Italy: Monochrome Madness week 48

Painting the River Arno; copyright jmeyersforeman 2015

Painting the River Arno; copyright jmeyersforeman 2015 

I have been travelling back in time, going through my (many) photo files, finally finding time to process a few that were take last October while we were in Florence. So many wonderful memories of our time in the city. Wandering the streets, getting lost in the laneways! I use to love walking along the river pathways, so much to see.

Buskers and mimes of all descriptions providing enterainment, vendors selling just about everything a tourist might want to take home, tourist reading guide books, taking photos, and getting lost. One of my favourites to watch was the various artists who set up their easel and begin to work. Watching them transform a plain white piece of paper or canvas to the scene in front of us is both magical and inspiring.

It is Tuesday, and Leanne Cole has her weekly Monochrome Madness blog, if you like black and white photography head on over to her page and check out some of the image submitted by the other photographers.

The Mosque Cathedral for Monochrome Madness Week 47

The Mosque Cathedral, Cordoba Spain

The Mosque Cathedral, Cordoba Spain 

Last week I showed you the Mosque Cathedral, here is a view from the Mosque area into the Cathedral. While the Mosque is lite with small lights in the traditional candle holder hanging from the ceiling the Cathedral is lite by large windows in the dome. You can see the dramatic difference.

There is a man standing near the left side of the frame, his presence gives a sense of size. He is difficult to see with the lighting, and of course this size of image; his feet planted flatly on the ground, but his head is tilted up as he is looking towards the arches and the ceiling, trust me when I say there is a look of awe on his face. The mix of architecture, the size, the detail in the paintings and carvings, and the fact that some of this has been around for at least a 1000 years is impressive, even daunting. Impossible to show in a single image, and for me impossible to describe in a few short sentences. If you get a chance you should visit the Mosque Cathedral for yourself.

I have submitted the image for Monochrome Madness, a weekly blog post by Leanne Cole, she is up to Week 47. Forty-seven continuous weeks on monochrome images submitted by various photographers around the world. For me it keeps me thinking and processing, at least, some images in black and white. Hop on over to her blog to see more black and white images.

Praia da Rocha, Portimao Portugal

 Praia da Rocha_ Portimao Portugal; jmeyersforeman 2014

Praia da Rocha_ Portimao Portugal; jmeyersforeman 2014

We visited Portimao the first part of March last year, and I managed to get some image of the wonderful Prais da Rocha beach posted before, but now I have had sometime to got back through last years images and see what they would look like as black and white.

I love the long sandy beaches, the reflections of the big rocks in the water, and wide shallow surf. It was not sunbathing weather, so there were only a few people strolling on the beach, the stromy clouds and the brisk wind  were doing there best to keep people indoors! It is perfect light for landscape photography.

It is tuesday once again, and Leanne Cole is hosting her Monochrome Madness post, if black and white photography interests you, head on over to see what has been offerred up this week for our enjoyment.

Lady with Umbrella at the Flea Market, Paris France – after-before forum

lady with umbrella at the flea market; Paris France; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

lady with umbrella at the flea market; Paris France; after;  copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

if you have been ready the blog for a while you will know that we love to visit the different street markets. while we were in Paris the weather was a little drizzly and cold. Our lady with the umbrella was all set for the weather.

What started out as an exercise in street photography quick became an exercise in photo editing, and I thought it would be another good post for the after-before forum.  While there were many things about the original image that I like there was much I didn’t like, here is the original image.

lady with umbrella at the flea market; Paris France; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

lady with umbrella at the flea market; Paris France; before; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Mostly it was the cluttered distracting background that I wanted to minimize. The photo editing was all done in Photoshop, I am sure there are many ways to do the same thing, Photoshop is the software I am most familiar with.

My first step is to duplicate the background layer, working on a duplicate layers allows means I am saving the original as it was, if I don’t like what I have done I can delete the layer or simply go back and start again. Working on a duplicate of the background and using a combination of the healing brush and patch tool I eliminated the tree branches and buildings in the background as well as the tag on her umbrella.

Once I had cleaned up the “sky” or top portion of the picture I duplicated the cleaned up layer, and using the tilt-shift blur tool blur the background.

Screenshot 2015-01-11 10.28.27

once this is done I press okay and the blurred image is on a separate layer in Photoshop. Using a mask on the layer I can mask over the areas of the umbrella and lady’s jacket eliminating the blur layer and allowing the layer below to show through. For those of you who want to learn more about layers and masks check out YouTube or Adobe Help

Next I added a cloud layer over entire image, with the layer blend mode set to Darken at 64% opacity, this created some depth and texture through the image. I did mask off the lady on the umbrella and I wanted this part of the image to be bright and clear.  Next I created a black and white adjustment layer, to create a black and white image. Locking the layers together I brought the image into Nik Software Color Efex Pro 4 and using the Darken/Lighten Centre adjustment layer, placing the center on the lady’s face to lighten the area under her umbrella and place a small vignette around the edge of the image. This draws attention to the lady’s face.

Screenshot 2015-01-11 11.29.48

Above you can see the Nik Software and adjustments that I made. I wasn’t happy with the “glow’ around the umbrella so once back in Photoshop I selected the sky area, duplicated it to a separate levels adjustment layer I brightened the sky finally getting to the final image you see above.

I have learned a lot doing this, writing it all done, keeping track of the steps, writing the blog post.  In most cases I have an idea of just what the final image will look like, and I sort of know how to achieve the outcome.  It is still a lot of experimenting with the software, a little like doing a Rumba with Photoshop. One step forward, back, circle around, step forward again, and after a few minutes we have something we like. I am sure there are other ways to achieve the same image, this was my process using the software I am familiar with.

If you like this post and you are interested in learning more about processing images hop on over to Stacy’s After-Before Forum where several photographers have submitted images and discuss their process. Much to learn, so little time!

If you have any suggestions let me know, I am always happy to learn.

Flamenco Dancer in Black and White

Flamenco Dancer in Black and White; copyright jmeyersforeman 2015

Flamenco Dancer in Black and White; copyright jmeyersforeman 2015 

We have found several places that feature flamenco dancers in Malaga, most of the shows are what I would call late night events, starting around 11 pm, and we are morning people! I guess we are going to the show one night we will just have to nap on the beach….

I have submitted this image to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness, her blog post each Tuesday features black and white images from all over the world, submitted by some very talent photographers. If you have time head on over to her blog and check them out.

Old Musical Instruments; Waiting to be played

waiting to be played; copyright jmeyersforeman 2015

waiting to be played; copyright jmeyersforeman 2015 

there is a little music store just down the street, some very old muscial instruments that have been restored and waiting for someone to pick them up, take them home. Imagine the beautiful music that could be played if picked up by the right artists.

Chalie Chaplin in the store window

Charlie Chaplin; copyright jmeyersforeman 2015

Charlie Chaplin; copyright jmeyersforeman 2015 

I love looking at the store windows, some of the designers are so creative. There are often an interesting juxtaposition between the products shown and the street scene reflected in the window, and there are times during the day when you can hardly tell where the street ends and the display starts.  Reflections are a great way to present a different perspective of the street.

Charlie Chaplin communicated expertly while using the minimum of movement and expression and he is the face I remember when we think of silent movies. Instantly recognized as he sits in the window I know exactly how he is feeling as he sits here on the curb, it is easy to forget that I was looking at him through a window.

“A day without laughter is a day wasted”  Charlie Chaplin 

I hope your making the most of your day, and it is filled with laughter and joy.