The aim of the exercise is to use an image with at least two strong contrasting colours, convert to black and white and create two opposite versions with one colour lightened and the other darkened in tone.

I chose this image from Rennes, taken earlier this year:

ISO 400, f/8, 1/80s

Original Colour – ISO 400, f/8, 1/80s

And here is the straight black and white conversion:

Original Black and White

Original Black and White

Red Lightened, Green Darkened

Red Lightened, Green Darkened

Red Lightened, Green Darkened

Adjusting the tones for these colours has created a contrasting frame around the door.  That was present in the colour version because of the distinct differences in colour, but disappeared in the unmodified black and white conversion.  The adjustment has restored an element of how I composed the shot that was otherwise lost in the original conversion.

The adjustment has masked some detail though – with some of the graffiti no longer being visible.

Green Lightened, Red Darkened

Red Darkened, Green Lightened

Green Lightened, Red Darkened

As with the other conversion this has emphasised the frame around the doorway.  Some detail is again lost, with graffiti on the door blending in now.

This particular set of adjustments I feel has significantly affected the mood of the image; I shot this wanting to capture the grubby, almost seedy, side of what was otherwise a picturesque and old-fashioned city centre.  In colour that is achieved to some level, but this version really enhanced that sense.  I find my eye is drawn towards the central flier in the frame within the frame.  The ripped edges of previously torn-off fliers stand out more from the background more so than in the colour or other black and white conversions.  I was rather indifferent to this shot after I took it, but this processing has got it much closer to my intent when shooting it – it’s given it new life and it’s a good illustration of how black and white conversion and adjustments to tone can be used for creative purposes!