Luminar vs Tonality - a Monochrome Showdown

Luminar vs Tonality - a Monochrome Showdown

In this video I compare creating monochromes in Luminar to those made in Tonality. There are a few key differences so follow along and let me know your thoughts!

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Using Luminar Instead of Silver Efex Pro

Using Luminar Instead of Silver Efex Pro

Are you using Silver Efex Pro to create monochrome photos, but you're concerned because it will no longer get updates? Consider using Macphun's Luminar to edit your monochrome photos. Click in to see a ton of sample photos and see why it works so well for this!

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No two zebras are alike

No two zebras are alike

I'm normally a "big color" type of photographer, but I have been exploring a new creative path with black and white photography, and have both learned a lot and changed my mind about monochromes.  It's all due to my recent use of Tonality by Macphun - and here are 10 examples of the same photo that show you just how versatile monochrome photography can be.

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Paris in monochrome

Paris in monochrome

Today I take you on a tour of the lovely city of Paris, France - all in black and white.  Sure, I generally go for big colors, but change is good, and I am working to embrace my inner monochrome artist, and bringing it all to you right here!  Enjoy!

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London in monochrome

London in monochrome

Today I share some images from London that I have converted to black and white.  I love big colors, but I have to admit that using Tonality from Macphun has caused me to seriously reconsider my "color only" history.  Take a look and let me know your thoughts!  I think you will enjoy this!

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The sentinel of Loch Ard

Some thoughts on why I don't normally post black and white photos...

I have 2 confessions to make, and this might be a little embarrassing.  But, here they go...  

1) I never think in black and white when shooting.  

2) I usually just convert a photo to black and white when I find that the color version sucks.

In other words, black and white is not a core part of my photo-thinking, and is mostly a poor attempt on my part to save a photo from the wastebin.  I like black and white photos - and many of them I LOVE - but I never think in black and white.  I am a big color guy at heart.  Always have been - probably always will be.

Daily Photo: The sentinel of Loch Ard (roaming in the Trossachs)

It's hard to confess those two things, because it's sorta like admitting that I lack vision.  A black and white photo can be incredible, timeless and ageless, and full of just as much life (or more) than a color photo.  Many of the most famous photos ever taken are black and white (see Ansel Adams), and I love them.  But I just don't think that way.  It doesn't come to me naturally.  So, there you have it, one of my shortcomings as a photographer.

But sometimes I do try it, and it works out (the converting to black and white that is, not the thinking in black and white).  I was driving on the edge of Loch Ard in the incredibly scenic area known as Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park (in Scotland).  I saw this scene, dumped the rental car on the wrong side of the road (you know how hard it is for an American to drive over there?) and stood there in the howling wind, thinking about how awesome this shot was going to be, in all its full color glory.  :)  Oh well, I'll take a black and white this time and just shut up about it.  Thanks for listening - and looking!

Strike a pose

...and now for something completely different!

I rarely ever shoot photos of people, rarely convert shots to black & white, and almost always produce HDR photos.  This is a major departure for me!  I shot this last year on the big Thomas Hawk photo walk here in Austin.  This is a local model named Eight (well, ok, her name is probably something else, but that is what she is known by).  Several local photogs do shoots with her, but it ain't my thing.  Anyways, she showed up for that photowalk, and was hitting some poses by the lake while folks snapped away.  I joined the fray.  Why not?

Boiling clouds

This is the second image I have posted that was taken from behind Pike Place Market in Seattle, looking out at this lovely range of mountains in the distance.  This one is remarkably similar to this shot, mostly because they were taken mere seconds apart from the same spot.  I fired off a lot of shots within a matter of minutes, because it was incredibly beautiful and the clouds were literally boiling and churning, and changing by the second.  It was incredible.  I am posting this because I just confirmed a return trip to the lovely Emerald City in a few weeks, and will have a bit more time to shoot on this upcoming trip.  I hope to get some cool shots!  There is so much to shoot up there, and I can never get it all, but I can sure try!

Also, today was an awesome day in New Mexico.  We left the northern mountains and headed out to Ojo Caliente, where we sat in their hot mineral springs, where you can literally feel the stress melt away.  It was excellent, and definitely rejuvenating!  We followed that up with a visit to Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu where Georgia O'Keefe once spent her time painting - below is an iPhone shot from there.  Talk about inspiring landscapes - I was shooting left and right.  I can certainly see how that place got her fired up to create.  We landed in Santa Fe, from where I am typing this.  Exploring Santa Fe tomorrow - a town I love.  More soon! 

Mountains draped in clouds

I really enjoy viewing black and white photographs, though I do not employ that technique too often.  I tend to be a big color guy, if there’s such a term, but now and then a monochrome just seems to fit the bill better.  This is one of those cases.  I was walking around at Pike Place Market in Seattle and after snapping a bunch of shots there, I walked around the back side - really more off to the right and sorta behind it - where there is a very small park which offers up a commanding view of these lovely mountains.  I snapped away.  The clouds were just spectacular. 

I’m a big fan of the Nik Software suite, which fits perfectly for me as a plug-in to Aperture, and I used HDR Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro, and Color Efex Pro all on this single exposure.  It’s fun using all these great tools!

By the way, since this image has both ocean and mountains in it, is it called a landscape or a seascape??  hehe I am really not sure how to classify it.

A tree, a fence and a camera

This is actually an old image that I posted a long time ago.  No, I am not out of new photos to share - in fact I still have thousands to go, and some upcoming travel that will yield me even more.  In this case, I came across this photo and wanted to approach it a little differently than I did the first time - using Nik Silver Efex Pro - which is fairly new to me but which I have quickly decided is awesome!  

I caught this image outside of Jackson Hole, WY several years back while on a guys’ trip up there to see Yellowstone - which was amazing.  It was a fabulous trip and despite having very limited photography knowledge at the time, I came back with some keepers.  This is one of them.

Here is the originally posted version, which was in color: