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Friday Slide Show: Yosemite Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

9 May 2014

It's a drought year so the waterworks at Yosemite are not going to be quite as spectacular as they were three years ago when a wet winter put on quite a show in the spring. We were there with three cameras: a Nikon D300, an Olympus m4/3 E-PL1 and a waterproof Sony digicam.

Yosemite 2011. When the Merced River had water.

But it wasn't until today that we decided to convert a few of the D300 images to black-and-white. Some of the Sony shots were among our favorites for their drama but as JPEGs only, they didn't promise much post-processing fun. The E-PL1 Raw files did promise some fun but not nearly as much as the D300 captures, which have been burned into our mind for three years.

So we picked a few, imported them into Lightroom and converted them to black-and-whites using a preset in the Library module just to get a rough idea of which ones would make the transition successfully.

We found we were constantly juggling the blues and greens of the sky, water and foliage against the reds of the tree trunks and earth. The gray granite remained an impartial neutral.

We played this game in the Develop module, using the B&W tool's sliders for each color. We started there, running each slider back and forth to highlight the detail we wanted to see and refined the highlights and shadows with the overall exposure controls later.

It was a lot of fun.

The original trip was a lot of fun, too. Memorial Day three years ago. With some friends, a few of whom had cameras (and questions). We toured the accessible valley in sunshine and rain with them, shooting with all three classes of camera.

And when we got home we had such a miserable cold we stayed in bed and wrote a book about the whole thing. Our A Visit to Yosemite, which discusses the gear, some useful software, tips for visiting the park and more, is available in our bookstore.

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