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I don't know if this happens to you in your own photographic journey, but for me there are times when I take pictures and I really like the photographs, but then eventually I just kind of grow tired of them. But then there are other pictures, like this one here, that you take and you don't initially like, but then as more and more time passes, they just get better and better. You enjoy them more and more. And I really like this picture. I think it's the leading lines. Also it was the experience of being out there in the desert and all of the wildflowers and the sky and the clouds.
And with this picture what I want to do is I want to create a dynamic and really engaging black-and-white conversion. This is where we can really get creative with how we use the HSL controls and also our other controls, like the Adjustment Brush. So let's see how we can convert this image to black-and-white. First, let's select the Targeted Adjustment Tool for the Grayscale Panel and let's again use that shortcut just to practice it. On a Mac it's Shift+Option+Command+G, on Windows that's Shift+Alt+Ctrl+G, or if you forget the shortcut you can just click on this icon here and then choose Grayscale Mix.
Now that we've done that, the first thing that I need to do is to deal with the sky. All of a sudden I don't like the image. It doesn't work at all for me, because the sky is too bright and compared to the ground being dark, it's just kind of lost. I don't know where to look. So here if we click on the sky and drag down, you can see that it's moving my blues. Now, you may think, well, why not just reach for the blues? Well, we might not want to do that, because if we click and drag near the horizon, notice that it's also darkening the Aquas. I didn't realize that this was one of the colors in the sky, and you can see how that's working near the horizon.
And so sometimes by using this tool can help us target different areas of the picture. Next, we can click around here, I can go ahead and click on the grass and I could darken that or brighten that. What I actually want to do is I want to change this a little bit so I have a nice brightness level there. Then I'm going to click on the path. I want to try to change my overall path, but as I do that, it's also affecting the hills in the background. So what I need to do is I need to paint in some adjustments into the path. To do that, let's use the Adjustment Brush. Here I will press the K key. Once you've selected the Adjustment Brush, go ahead and click on the Plus icon for Exposure and then drag this over a little bit and let's also increase our Contrast. Next, scroll down.
We want to turn on Auto Mask. You can do that by pressing the M key or by clicking on this icon here. For the Flow, we want a relatively low Flow amount, and then a medium amount of Feather. Next, we are going to go ahead and click and paint across this path, and what I want to do is paint back and forth in a way that I can brighten this up, because for me this is really what a lot of the photograph is about. It's about this area of the image and about how the eye is drawn into this. It's almost like you want to go down that road and see what lies ahead. Here I will press the Left Bracket key to make my brush smaller to kind of get back down here into these areas.
Right Bracket key makes it bigger and I'm just going to keep painting in these adjustments. And because I have such a low flow, I need to go back and forth from side to side to make these adjustments. And so I'll just kind of go back and forth and make those. We could also increase them by clicking and dragging that Contrast up and increase our Exposure as well, so I should say we can increase the adjustments there. In doing that, that's now starting to work for me in an interesting way. I'm going to bring up some Clarity. That will bring in some nice texture into the path, and then lower my Exposure a little bit. Well, now that we have done that, if we click on the Preview icon, you can see here is our before.
We use to think that path really let us in, but now, whoa, it's like all of a sudden it really literally is. The next thing you might want to do with an image like this is do some either brightening or darkening in different areas of the photograph. So let's press the N key to create a new adjustment. Then in order to simplify our settings here we'll just click on the Plus icon for Exposure. Then scroll down, and with my overall Flow amount, I want to take this even lower and then make my brush a little bit smaller. And by having a small brush what I want to do is just start to bring out a little bit of the highlights I'm seeing in a few areas of the picture, make my brush even a little bit smaller and then zoom in on the picture, so press Command+Plus or Ctrl+Plus.
And by zooming in, this will then allow me to kind of paint in a little bit of brightness here. And what you want to do a lot of times with black-and-white photographs is you want to build a little bit of sense of dimension or of drama and by brightening or darkening different areas of your photograph you can do that. It makes it feel a little more dynamic or like there is more depth. So these brush strokes, I'm just kind of going along some of these lines I'm noticing, painting these in, and a lot of this work may not seem like it's really even worth it, but I think it is. Here we'll zoom out a bit.
Next, create a new adjustment by pressing the N key. This time I'll go back to my Exposure slider up here and I'm going to press the Minus sign. I just want to decrease the Exposure in a few places. And again, I'll just go through and make a few little darkening adjustments here, brush strokes, darkening up some of these hillsides, trying to build up a little bit of that dimension and drama, and just kind of having fun with that. Alright, well let me zoom out. Now that we have made all of these different adjustments, we can press the V key to hide those different pins and then we can press the P key, or we can click on the Preview button to look at our before and after, and you can see how what's happened is all of a sudden the whole image, it's like it has more kind of life to it.
My darkening effects look though a little bit too strong. So I'll press the V key and I'll target that pin. You can see these brush strokes here, they're a little bit too much, actually those are the brightening ones. I need to go to this one, there are my darkening effects, and those are a bit too strong. So here I'm going to diminish those by taking that back; I don't want quite as much of a darkening effect. I also don't necessarily like this one on the hillside, so I'll click on Erase and then I'll get rid of that one over there. Well, now that we have made these wonderful adjustments to this picture, the next thing I'm going to do is go back to my Basic Panel.
So press the Z key or select the Zoom Tool to exit out of the Adjustment Brush and then click on the Basic Panel. Finally, we want to add some overall Clarity to the picture, also some overall Contrast, deepen some of those nice dark Shadows that we have there, work on our Exposure just a touch here as well and recover some of our Highlight detail. And by making some of these adjustments what we are able to do here is just kind of control some of these final elements of the picture so that now we have this deep and rich and engaging black-and-white conversion.
If we click on the Preview button, you can see, well, here is our before and now here is our after. And now here in seeing this black-and-white conversion, I realize there's one more thing I want to do here. I want to darken up some of the sky and also some of the clouds. So let's do that by using our Graduated Filter. We can click on the Graduated Filter icon. Then next thing I'm going to do is click on the Minus sign for my Exposure and I'll click and drag that down. I'll also decease the Highlights value here, and in doing this I want to darken up this area of the sky, so I'll go ahead and click and drag across the sky.
This will then allow me to create a little bit of a deeper sky there and also recover some of the details that I'm seeing there in that part of the image, so here we can modify the overall Exposure and also the Highlights. This then just allows us to kind of darken up that area of the photograph so we have little bit better detail there, in that part of the picture. Alright, well, now that we have that, I'll click on the Zoom Tool, that wraps up our work on this image. And as you can see here with this photograph, like with our other photographs, it really was the combination or the integration of working with the HSL controls, with some of our other panels and tools, which led us to creating this compelling black-and-white photograph.
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