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Old Apr 25, 2011, 10:43 PM   #1
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Default Black And White - Is one better than another?

I've been playing around with Silver Efex 2, and really like the way it converts pictures. It seems to retain more detail than the original version does (could be because I didn't hit on the right combination of controls).

One of the things I've been playing around with is how to interpret a shot, and what works and what doesn't. So here's one shot from January that I've developed in a couple of different ways. I'd like to know what you think of the picture to begin with and then if you think any of the versions is better than any others.

Here's a high-key version:

Here's the shot with a fairly "normal" type of processing.

Here's a high contrast/low key version:

I was rather surprised at how each of them said something different, I thought rather significantly. There's elements that I like in all of them, and depending on my mood I prefer one over the rest - but not always the same one (I can never quite make up my mind). Since I feel like I'm now over-thinking the whole thing, I'd love to hear what others think about them.
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Old Apr 26, 2011, 12:05 AM   #2
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Number two works for me. There is far more detail in all the elements, such as the bush, the background and the sand, than the others. Nice shot.
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Old Apr 26, 2011, 1:42 AM   #3
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I like the starkness of the first.

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Old Apr 26, 2011, 2:50 AM   #4
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I prefer 1. I think it's because you're not aware of the mountains in the background - it looks like a wide-open tundra. But the foreground does look a bit washed out so I quickly tried fading the foreground of 2 into the rest of 1 which uses the best of both:

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Old Apr 26, 2011, 5:32 AM   #5
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I like the first one very much - and then 3 and 2 inorder. It is an interesting PP and I can see changing the order according to the mood of the day I'd probbly crop out the bushes in the corners and give depth emphasis on the horizon. Thanks for sharing they are all good photos.
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Old Apr 26, 2011, 1:00 PM   #6
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My personal favorite is #2. Although I understand why some prefer #1 because the mountains are a lot less obvious. #3 seems too dark to me, particularly in the foreground.
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Old Apr 26, 2011, 7:34 PM   #7
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I like the first version, it has a cold bleakness but... I like seeing the mountains in number 2. Didn't really like the high contrast version.
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Old Apr 26, 2011, 9:07 PM   #8
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Very interesting which one everyone prefers.

I definitely agree about cloning out the bush, especially on the right. It's very distracting on the high contrast version, less so on the other two.

I pretty much prefer the high key version - thought it looked appropriate for sand dunes, looks like a desert. The two girls are the center of attention, with the texture of the desert being secondary to the picture.

The "normal" version is more balanced in one sense. The oof brush at the very bottom left is more distracting, but if I clone it out I think I'd be tempted to leave the one on the right as a balance to the girls. I think the reason why I like it more sometimes is that I like the extra detail, but at other times I don't since there's so much more competing for my attention - the mountains, the sand, the bush on the right (a reason to get rid of it - hmmm).

I like the girls being in silhouette in the high-contrast version, and the picture is more about the texture of the sand/footprints. The brush on the right has got to go in that one though - really distracting. And it really is a bit too stark I guess (though I didn't think so when I processed it).
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Old Apr 27, 2011, 7:12 AM   #9
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Generally I like more contrast, but in this case the first one is more appealing to me. The only other comment I have is that I'd like to see it with the two people in the upper left "rule of thirds" corner. I don't know that it would make much difference, but it would be interesting none the less.
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Old Apr 27, 2011, 1:07 PM   #10
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First and/or Martin's shot, prefer the neutral background but more contrast in the foreground without destroying the detail in the people.

Beautiful shot though either any way you process it.
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