Monochrome landscape photography offers a very different visual interpretation of how we naturally see the world. When colour is removed from the scene it can add a whole new dimension to give the landscape a more dramatic and timeless quality. This very much sets it apart from the original rendition, though it may not be better or worse it will certainly be different.To produce quality monochrome landscape photography images requires the ability to pre-visualise the subject in terms of shapes, textures and more importantly tonal range and quality.
Indeed, high contrast scenes that contain areas of near black and near white can work really well to add interest and a dynamic quality to monochrome images.
Black and white are the colors of photography. To me they symbolize the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected.” – Robert Frank, Photographer, b. 1924
The tonal range within a landscape scene is very important and should not be under estimated. It is often difficult to separate ‘colours’ during exposure in the field. For example colours in the mid reds, mid greens and mid blues when converted to black and white will all render, give or take a little, as mid grey. So, if these colours are next to each other in your landscape composition it is a safe bet to say that they will merge together and consequently lose their own identity in the monochrome landscape photography print. To overcome this I prefer to process each of my digital monochrome landscape photography Raw files individually in Adobe Lightroom 4. It is then possible to fine tune the colours by using the sliders within the HSL (Hue – Saturation – Luminosity) panel, this enables the tonality of individual ‘colours’ within the image to be changed and thereby separating their tonality from each other.
The HSL panel within Adobe Lightroom is such a powerful tool it can significantly improve the tonal range and quality of your monochrome images.
So to ensure maximum image quality I would adopt the approach above and personally prefer not to use a preset or batch process command as I consider that each image demands a more considered approach to its monochrome conversion.
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