Color or Monochrome?

Today’s Post by Mildred Alpern

Converting an image from color to black and white may change the entire tone and mood of the image. In simple terms, bright color adds cheer; monochrome adds gravity. Moreover, in processing an image in black and white, Silver Efex Pro, one of the free Google Nik Software Collection options, provides a number of presets and toolsets that may process an image in different appearances and thus evoke different moods.

There’s the rub! The choices are infinite and while there are useful YouTube tutorials available, it is fun to play around with the labeled sliders and control points even if confusion over which is best finally forces a choice.

An example in point is the image of three teachers at a children’s ballet recital. Seated on the floor, they observed the dance movements. In color, their bright yellow hair flowers dominate the scene with gayety. Black neck ruffles and a pearl earring catch my attention, as do the crossed legs of the background sitters. In Silver Efex Pro’s Full Dynamic Preset, however, I’m drawn to the seated postures and curves of the teacher’s backs. In the yellowed Antique Preset, the scene appears as a nostalgic remembrance of a time long past, a postcard image from an old shoebox. Other presets added to the array of choices but I settled on these two.

The image was shot with the Olympus E-M5 Mark II and the Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro lens in Shutter Priority mode at 26mm with an exposure of 1/200 sec at f/2.8, +1 2/3 EV and ISO 800.


Mildred’s book Haiku and Images is available on Amazon and is filled with beautifully reproduced color photographs along with original haiku underneath, embellishing the image and deepening its meaning. Pick up a copy to give as gift for yourself or a friend.