Saturday, March 16, 2019

To Tone Or Not To Tone, That Is The Question.

It has been a month and a half since I posted anything, it is snowing and blowing, I'm bored and playing with old images. This one is from 2006, an early morning shot of mist rising off the Saranac River above Franklin Falls. I have always printed this one in BW because there really wasn't much color and it was shot with a Canon 10D which didn't handle the noise at all well in this situation. Any attempt to augment the color turned to confetti. I was clever enough at that point to be shooting RAW (my earliest images with the 10D were JPG to my later regret) so there was some dynamic range to play with and I needed all I could get.

Since my original editing in Photoshop, I have gone to doing most of my editing in Lightroom and only use PS when I need layers to achieve my aims. I wanted to revisit this image because I wondered if the Dehaze slider would help reveal the tree that is roughly center and was virtually invisible in the mist in my original edit. The above required a combination of darkening highlights (I always do that ahead of Dehaze), then a modest amount of Dehaze, offsetting the prior two with some overall exposure increase, a slight curves modification, and a bit of dodging just left of center in the sky. I also made a toned version (below) because I wanted to see how a bit of warmth would work.

The toning is only in the shadow areas. I used the LR split toning function and left the highlight areas at "0" because I dislike toned highlights. It kills the whites IMO. It is a matter of taste that goes back to my darkroom days when we toned the silver parts of the image but the paper remained white. The shadow areas above were toned Hue 35 and Saturation 10. I sometimes go as high as 15 on the saturation or as low as 9. My aim is for a slight brownish/black cast, not sepia and the saturation varies depending on the image.

I am not entirely sure that the toning adds to this image. I think I like it but I have become accustomed to the BW version, a print of which I have had on my studio wall for many years after entering it in a juried show. Maybe I need time to 'warm up' to the toned version. ;-)
Click on the images for a larger version (1000 pixels wide) and comment which you prefer, B&W or toned. You can use the right/left arrow keys to flip between the enlarged versions.