For the last chal­lenge of day one, we went look­ing for a sub­ject that would suit a dra­matic mono con­ver­sion


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After spend­ing around an hour shoot­ing at Tewkes­bury Abbey, we headed off for a quick pub lunch and ran through po­ten­tial lo­ca­tions for our next tech­nique chal­lenge: black and white. A mono­chrome treat­ment suits so many sub­jects – from land­scapes and ar­chi­tec­ture to por­traits and street pho­tog­ra­phy – that nar­row­ing down the gamut of choices of­fered by the Cotswolds proved tricky. In the end we set­tled for Broad­way Tower, alit­eral high point in the re­gion’s low-ly­ing coun­try­side.

The 20-me­tre high tower was a good hour’s drive away, but ar­riv­ing later in the day meant that we avoided the tourist rush. The tower looked stun­ning, but the only prob­lem was that the sky was rather fea­ture­less. Clear blue skies don’t usu­ally make for the most dra­matic black-and­white con­ver­sions, and a quick look at our cam­eras’ mon­i­tors con­firmed this (we were both shoot­ing in RAW so that we’d have high-qual­ity colour im­ages to con­vert in Pho­to­shop later, but we had Mono­chrome Pic­ture Con­trol selected on our Nikons so that we could see black-and-white pre­views of what the fi­nal con­ver­sions might look like).

We had to bide our time and wait for some cloud to pass be­hind the tower. The struc­ture it­self was the per­fect fo­cal point, and us­ing the HSL slid­ers in Pho­to­shop en­abled us to deepen the blues and lighten the yel­lows in the im­age to deepen the con­trast when we con­verted the im­age (and cloned out some tourists while we were at it!).

In the end we opted to shoot the scene from a dis­tance with a 30mm fo­cal length on a D800. Do­ing so meant that we weren’t point­ing the wide lens up­wards and cre­at­ing con­verg­ing ver­ti­cals. This was the last shot of the day, so we had plenty of time to wait for the best light too.

We shot in RAW, but with the Mono­chrome Pic­ture Con­trol selected to give us a black-and-white pre­view on the rear screen

EX­PO­SURE 1/400 sec, f/7.1, ISO100 LENS Nikon 16-35mm f/4

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