Plain or filtered?

I recently stayed (for a very special birthday) at the wonderful Woodsford Castle in Dorset, UK.  Parts of it go back to the middle of the 14th Century, and it is very atmospheric.  It’s owned by the Landmark Trust, and you can rent it.  It sleeps up to 8 people, and is, in effect, a very large holiday cottage.

I wanted to show how the castle looked on a beautifully crisp sunny day, but couldn’t get it all in one frame as the widest lens on my Panasonic G3 was a 20mm (40mm equivalent).  To get round this I took 3 images and combined them in Photoshop CS5 to give a panorama.

I felt that the image needed to be in black and white, so set up a B&W layer in Photoshop. You don’t get a good B&W image just by desaturating a colour image.  A B&W layer gives you much more control.

“Woodsford Castle – no filter” by Derek Gale

It looked OK with the default settings, but I wanted a bit more, so I delved into the B&W filters menu.  These simulate the effect of putting a coloured filter on your lens when shooting with B&W film.

“Woodsford Castle – Blue filter” by Derek Gale

Simulating a blue filter took away all of the saturation in the blue sky. The sky is now much too light.  The filter has also accentuated the texture of the stone, and it makes the building look a bit older.

“Woodsford Castle – Red filter” by Derek Gale

This image uses a simulated red filter (and a bit more Contrast).  The blue sky has darkened down, and overall the image has much more impact.  The filter has also removed some apparent imperfections in the stonework so it looks much newer.  You can imagine it being used by a 14th cent estate agent…

So, one image and three very different looks, and that’s without putting in any variations in the filter effects, or adding further adjustment layers.  Of course, there’s also the choice of how to tone the final printout, by choosing the right paper and ink combination.

Isn’t photography fun!

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