This is my 67th Photo of the Week, yet it is only the second monochrome image to make it into the series. I think this is because I absolutely adore colour, and feel rather out of my depth when colour gets extracted from the equation. It took me hours to process this shot the first time, then I got some feed back from people on a few flickr groups, and then it took me another hour or so to have another go and come up with something I not just liked, but liked a lot. Most of the time I only revert to monochrome as a fall-back, but I’m going to try change that, and spend more time experimenting with monochrome precisely because I’m not comfortable with it.

Returning to this image, I reverted to monochrome here because I didn’t have a choice. I had once chance to get a short visit to the priory, so I had to make do with what ever I got – which was mostly rain! At the very end I got a few shots in good sun, but I didn’t have the opportunity to re-shoot this shot in sun because of time pressures. So, what I got was an image with a blown out sky, a flat looking stone building, and almost no colours to speak of. I was either going to bin it, or go monochrome. Determined not to waste the shot, I went for the monochrome option – deciding texture was going to be what I needed to concentrate on – in particular, I wanted to recover details in the sky, and enhance the details in the stonework of the building.

Since I’d shot in RAW I started by tone-mapping the image to recover detail in the sky, and also to enhance details in walls. Then I converted to monochrome using the monochrome mixer in Aperture, before using Aperture’s dodge & burn plug-in to correct some side effects of the tone-mapping and to pick out the spire of the church a little better. After seeking and getting some opinions from others I also used some pretty dramatic levels adjustments to really push up the contrast and really make those textures jump out.

Ennis Friary
on FlickrFull-Size

  • Camera: Nikon D40
  • Lens: Nikon DX AFS 18-55mm (D40 kit lens)
  • Exposure: 1/400 sec
  • Focal Length: 18mm
  • Focal Ratio: f/8
  • ISO: 400
  • Camera Mode: Aperture Priority
  • Processing: Generated by tonemapping a single RAW file in Photomatix Pro, then converting to monochrome in Aperture, dodging & burning in Aperture, as well as applying some other tweaks in Aperture.