My subject for this assignment is the Faces of St Gennys. Trevor is one of these – a man born in the parish who has spent all his life here working as a small farmer and carpenter. He is a quiet man and when I asked if I might photograph him, he thought for awhile then replied that I could come and shoot him working his lambs as soon as they were born. So I phoned him one morning last week to ask when he’d like me to come and he said it was sunny and right then was a good time. For my prep, I grabbed the camera, checked to be certain the battery was okay and headed out the door.
I met Trevor at his gate and we went into the paddock to catch a lamb. Most of the ewes took sight of me and led their lambs to the far side of the field, but one remained with her twins curled up in the bushes. Trevor grabbed up one. Although the ewe was upset and took her remaining lamb off, the lamb rested quietly in his arms and made no effort to escape.
I took a couple of practice shots then decided to shoot at f/9, s/320, ISO200, 22m. I retained these settings throughtout the shoot. This is not the photo I will be submitting; however, I’ve used it to practice some monochrome techniques that I picked up from the January issue of Digital Camera.
I started with this photo and opened the Adobe RAW converstion. First I dragged the saturation slider to -100, removing all color information, then I darkened the blacks until the histogram showed I had clear, deep blacks. Next I converted to black and white, creating a layer to do so. In B&B I adjusted the red, green and blue sliders to add depth. Then I created an adjustment layer and adjusted the black and white levels. Finally, I used the dodge tool on the sky to darken the midtones of the clouds a bit.
And this is what I got. The blacks are darker, which is especially nice on the lambs forehead. The dodging gave the flat, grey clouds a bit more texture. Overall, I think it made a more interesting photo than a simple B&W conversion..
These are useful techniques and I’ll be consulting this set of articles a lot during this project.