Colorful Crested Butte in a Black and White Paradise

June 06, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Crested Butte spot colorp1259669188-5

Colorful buildings of Crested Butte surrounded by a Black and White Paradise.

I’m not one to really enjoy spending time  sitting at the computer engrossed in Adobe Photoshop. I mean, yes it’s fun to play with the tools, actions and brushes, but my more successful images are pretty straightforward requiring minimal tweaks to color, contrast and sharpness. On a day when I planned on skiing powder based on multiple weather forecasts but wake up to howling wind and snow that looks like white BBs my thoughts turn to projects and ideas that might require hours of investment in my favorite software. That would be today. Carne Adovada is already in the slow cooker so it’s time to go to work.

The image above, which you should definitely click on to see larger, is one of those projects requiring some patience and Photoshop skills. I love this view of my little town. You’ve seen it before in a nighttime version. In this daytime version the tiny buildings seem to get lost in the view of the mountains. We can’t have that! The buildings of town are really the subject of the photo. If I had only wanted a photo of the mountains I could easily compose the image without town. But the subject is getting lost in the background. What to do?

I converted the photo (captured in color) to black and white as if it had been made with a red filter. Kind of Ansel Adams-ish. Red filters on black and white increase contrast and turn normally blue skies nearly black providing an intense contrast with the snow covered mountains. OK so far! But the buildings are still lost.

Going back to the color version of the photo I duplicated the original photo as a layer and applied the black and white settings with the red filter. Now I’m looking at the black and white but it’s sitting on top of the same photo in color. Using a layer mask and the paintbrush tool I now had to erase the black and white layer over the buildings so the color version would show through. It’s a simple procedure but pretty time consuming working on tiny areas of the photo a little at a time. Once the erasing was complete I took another look at the entire scene. Almost done. The colors looked pretty dull and washed out so going back to my original color layer, I applied a new saturation layer and bumped up the color, saved the file (with the layers in case I want to tweak my result), flattened the file and saved again under a new name. Done!

Well, almost done really. The finished photo can now be re sized, sharpened and printed. Kind of a fun project on a day I did want to spend outside but since the weather folks can’t seem to get their forecast right I had to come up with a “plan B”. Maybe tomorrow will be that “powder day”!

This just in: Sold yesterday at Rijks Family Gallery in Crested Butte, 20 x 60 on canvas:

Winter Melodyp1259669204-5

Winter Melody

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