Friday, August 07, 2009

Ghosts of Newport Past - Island Cemetery in Black & White

In the course of editing the photos for Wednesday's post on Island Cemetery I did what I always do with my photos - I converted them to black & white. Adobe Photoshop™ has some really excellent tools for such conversion, and I've gotten fairly good at producing usable b&w versions of my color shots. And before anybody starts making rude noises about digital manipulation and using words like "not authentic" and "tampering" and such, let me ask you something: In the old days of film photography, did you ever actually develop film in a darkroom? Because this is exactly what I do in Photoshop™; I'm developing a picture from a digital "negative", putting it through the digital equivalent of darkroom chemical processes. It's every bit as painstaking as working the old way, applying different processes or filters to get exactly the look I want in the final product. But as much as it's a lot of work, it's also great fun.

Sometimes, though, as much as I try, it doesn't always work. The bronze angel from Wednesday just wouldn't come out the way I wanted it to; the blue-green of the patina just wouldn't contrast itself with the stone no matter how I played around with the red/blue/green filters. It always ended up a uniform gray, and was boring to look at. And the wide shot of the chapel was just too dark, and lightening it up made the trees too bright, to make a good photo. But the chapel door shot here on the left turned out great. So did the Belmont monument and the Perry mausoleum shots below. Three out of five's not a bad result!

© 2009 by A. Roy Hilbinger
PS - Don't forget to check out my latest entry on Just A Song - Gillian Welch's "Elvis Presley Blues".


  1. Roy, still all in all, I think they came out pretty good. I've yet to upgrade to a better editing programme. My older snaps need some serious work!

  2. I love the black and white! My ancient old program doesn't let me do it. I especially like the first photo with that amazing ivy on the door!

  3. Roy, great shots. So many shades of grey.

  4.'s so interesting how the feel of an image can change so drastically by removing the color. I love black and white, but there's something about see the green moss and algae on the stones I love too...beautiful photographs.

  5. these play really well in black and white...seems to fit the subject. without the color you find hidden textures.