Noise reduction [sometimes not at all and sometimes selectively or using reduced opacity, masks etc] using Topaz Labs [TL] 'DeNoise'. Some Micro Contrast Enhancement using TL 'Detail'. Occasionally I use TL 'Adjust' but usually need to apply that with reduced opacity to offset unwanted effects like halos, smearing etc.
Levels adjust [I hate using 'curves'] although sometimes I do this step after the B&W conversion.
Conversion is by one of 3 methods depending upon my [and the images] mood: Alien Skin 'Exposure', Nik 'Silver Efex Pro' or a CS4 B&W adjustment layer.
Last is dodging and burning using a 50% grey Overlay layer. Sharpening is left off the image until I know what the output media is i.e. print, paper type, web image etc
I agree, that beer and cigarettes one has something extra special about it for me, too. The wild blurriness of this man's world, the light and life whirling about him as he stands there, resting his elbow on the trash can...observing, with his companions in hand all really come together in a strong way. The reflection off of that outer lens in his eyeglasses, and his wedding ring pull me in towards him, while the background of that upper left building pulls me out. Great shot, Simon. I feel as though I'm in a film noire moment.
Meanwhile the first one made me laugh - the look on the older woman's face with her eyes seeming to stare right at you, and the Playboy bunny necklace on the young mother's (her daughter?) neck, her hair flying, earrings dangling as she pushes a stroller...the Dipper Dogs stand with the church like structure in the background make for a layered juxtaposition, that grows on me the more I look at it.
Yes, the old lady had me bang to rights - nothing escaped her sharp eyes. Her daughter was striding out - not a care in her bling world. The background is Blackpool Pleasure Beach - think Coney Island without the class ) - on a gorgeous bright Summer evening.
Glad you like the beer and cigarettes image - few people do. It was taken in the dark at a Christmas Market in Manchester.
Simon, thanks for your response. I'm glad to know I read your images well. Impressive about that beer and cigarettes one being taken in the dark, and I appreciate knowing its location, both underscore my impressions even more.
It would be kind of fun to see your color version. I find, for myself, that lately I am really drawn more to black and white - I'm speaking about my own photos here. I love color, I used to print color photos from negatives and slides...that was what I did, albeit many years ago...but now I keep going to black and white. Anyway, Mayank, if you have the color on one of your sites, you could just give us a link.... It would be interesting to see the same scene both in black and white and color.
Christilou and BBW, thanks for your kind requests Here is the colour version of Bangles Shop. Warm light (which was coming from old-fashioned light bulbs right above) is quite dominant in this version. Which version do you prefer: B&W or colour?
I think the photos are very different. In B&W the boy clearly changes the theme of the picture to me. Whereas in the color version he sort of fades out and the array of colors and bangles become the dominant theme. They are both good, but very different pictures.
I agree with sonomichele, there is quite a difference between the B & W and the colour version. Thank you so much for showing us the colour version because it has given me pause for thought when composing shots. The B & W definitely has more impact whereas the eye wanders all over the picture with the colour but the ladies clothing becomes the point of focus for me. Very interesting indeed
I, too, feel both very good. Though the boy's seemingly mischievous behavior makes the black and white for me - along with everything else the scene has going for it - I have to say that I really do enjoy the wild array of colors in the second and the way all those bangles playoff against this mother's beautiful clothing...and the little girl's white, puffed sleeved dress. I think that in the color one, the the mother and her children's dark hair, as well as the little boy's face being in the shadows make a nice counterpoint to that explosion of color.
I like them both very much. If I were being offered either or, I think I'd go for the color one this time.
Thank you, friends, for prompting me to come up with the colour one I learnt a lot by reading your comments, they definitely helped to deepen my understanding of colour v/s black and white photography.
Mayank, thank you for indulging us by showing us both! I think we are the beneficiaries here because we had the chance to see both versions which, really, are two very different photographs - both stand on there own beautifully.