Go for at­mos­phere

Buck the craze for hav­ing crisp, clear dis­tances in land­scapes, and work with re­ced­ing tones

NPhoto - - Nikopedia -

Con­trol hues in your black and white pho­tog­ra­phy and you can al­ter the sense of depth in a land­scape shot. The tech­nique re­lies on pass­ing or block­ing blue light, which in­creases with depth of at­mos­phere. The ana­logue method was to use a blue fil­ter over the lens. The dig­i­tal ver­sion fol­lows the same prin­ci­ple, but of­fers more con­trol, and you can choose to use it dur­ing pro­cess­ing, you don’t have to do it at the mo­ment of cap­ture.

Given the choice, most peo­ple seem to have a nat­u­ral re­ac­tion to­wards height­en­ing con­trast, prob­a­bly be­cause it has the ef­fect of mak­ing images ap­pear clearer. How­ever, go­ing in the op­po­site di­rec­tion, ex­pand­ing the aerial per­spec­tive, can also ex­pand the sense of scale in a land­scape, and gives a more del­i­cate re­sult.

For this sun­rise view over the Burmese ru­ins of Ba­gan, the dis­tinct blue that suf­fuses the at­mos­phere made this treat­ment a nat­u­ral choice. I raised the blue and cyan slid­ers in Pho­to­shop, while low­er­ing the red to darken the brick­work of the pagoda. How­ever, be­cause the fore­ground trees also con­tain cyan, they needed to be treated se­lec­tively, by low­er­ing the cyan slider, so that they ap­pear darker.

Sun­rise over Ba­gan in Myan­mar — in its orig­i­nal colour, as a black and white de­fault con­ver­sion, and, as a main im­age treated for at­mo­spheric depth

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