Black & White HDR Photography

Late last month I began experimenting with converting tonemapped HDR images into grayscale. I wanted to see how the extended shadow detail found in HDR images would look in B&W. I’ve found that tonemapped images produced from software such as Photomatix Pro almost mimic the grain found in B&W films such as Kodak’s TriX when they are converted to grayscale.

What do you think?

The Stables

The Stables
Copyright © 2008 Jeff Lynch Photography Shot taken with a Canon 40D hand-held, EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM at 17mm, f/11 at ISO 200 on SanDisk digital film. The HDR file was made from three RAW images tone-mapped in Photomatix Pro. All other processing was done in Lightroom 2 and Noise Ninja. Click on the image above for a larger version.

7 thoughts on “Black & White HDR Photography

  1. The look is wonderful! It truly does look exactly like TriX. I am amazed you got away with handheld. I am just begining to experiment with HDR and I am awed by it. My goal is to dupicate the colors you used to get in the old Kodachrome slides and the 50’s style postcard and calender pictures that looked like they were handtinted. I have been just plugging along with the Photomatix Pro software and Photoshop Elements 3. I can’t afford CS4, but have been thinking about getting Nikon NX4 as I shoot with a D50. Any advice?

  2. Wes,

    Thanks for reading. I did indeed shoot the photo in color (RAW). I merged three bracketed exposures into an HDR image using Photomatix Pro and then converted it to grayscale in Lightroom. The final step was to tweak the contrast, black point and clarity to achieve the B&W “look” I was after.

    This technique really seems to bring out the shadow detail end extend the grayscale tonal quality.


  3. Nice pic.

    So, am I understanding this right — you shot the photo in color and then switched it to the tone-mapped black and white in the post processing?

  4. Wow, that looks great. Nice detail. I actually don’t notice the grain that much.

    Click the link above…let me know what you think about that image I shot this past Saturday. It was overcast and warm, a little rainy. I shot some nice foliage as the reds and yellows popped again the gray sky, but I like how this one came out too.

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