Windows Live Photo Gallery has a selection of tools for “fixing” – enhancing, correcting – photos. Included is a group of six tools for black and white effects. Maybe I should say more correctly “monochrome” effects, because two of them are “Cyan tone” and “Sepia tone”.
The effects go well beyond “fixing”, they allow you to create images of different moods, pictures that are not just a representation of what you saw, but what you want to share with the viewer. The sepia tone creates images that evoke old times. Cyan abstracts a photo to a cool, formal image. The other four are black and white effects. The first, “No filter”, translates the photo to the gray tones that we find normal. It shows how a photo would appear when printed in a newspaper. Then there are three color filter effects, yellow, orange, and red.
Back in the days of black-and-white film photography, these filters were quite popular. I still have a collection of them – various sizes for different lenses – but now, with digital photography I don’t need the actual filters, the effects can be done with a click of the mouse. (The Undo option removes the effect – it is easy to try one after another.)
The yellow filter darkens blues and greens slightly. The orange filter deepens these effects. Blue skies are made darker, bringing out clouds more prominently. Green foliage is darkened while yellow and red colors of flowers are made lighter. The most dramatic color effects are achieved with the red filter.
Photo by Justin Keck
Here is a pleasant picture of Death Valley, California, showing the desolate landscape, the valley and the Panamint Mountains beyond. The mountains are some twenty-five miles (forty kilometers) away. The atmospheric haze makes them appear blue. We are used to that and associate that appearance with distance. The sky has just a few wispy clouds. Now take a look at the dramatic picture that the red filter creates:
The sky is very dark, almost giving the picture the appearance of a night scene. The distant mountains seem much closer. The mood is totally different from the original color photo.
See what you can do with your photos. You might like what you can achieve.