Black & White Masterclass & 1:1 with Paul Gallagher Black & White Masterclass & 1:1 with Paul Gallagher

From May 4 until May 8 I had the pleasure of taking part in the Black and White Masterclass 3-day workshop of with Paul Gallagher followed up by a 2-day 1:1 session with Paul.

The location of the workshop was in the beautiful Lake District in Keswick. We stayed at the Crow Park Hotel. Lovely place, where I had a beautiful view from my bed across the roofs of Keswick. Also the local ale was absolutely fantastic. Did not last long in our glasses 😉

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On my first evening before the workshop had started I went in the evening sun to a small walk past Derwent Water. There were lots and lots of sheep, ducks and some geese.

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Very early in the morning I went to the Stone Circle of Castlerigg (above Keswick), which is dates back some 4500years.  Some impressions from Castlerigg.

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The workshop took us to lake Buttermere, some ravines between Hornister Pass and Seatoller and the wonderful valley with lake Watendlath. A few hours we spent around Derwent Water. My 1:1 took us to the area south of Skelwith Bridge where we “shot” trees around Yew Tree Tarn and in an old slate quarry nearby.

Weather wise we had no rain. For two days it was overcast, thus everything looked a bit flat here and we did bring not many shots back to the hotel. But the workshop was not so much about composition but more about how to convert those colour images to great black & white pictures. Therefore, we spent two afternoons inside the hotel, where Paul showed us his personal workflow and his trick around his black & white conversion.  The way he uses Camera Raw and Photoshop with using layers and curves to fine tune the images I found absolutely intriguing as the results were each time stunning for each of the photos from the five participants.

The three days were followed by a two day 1:1 with Paul. This was absolutely brilliant. We worked on landscape photography with a tilt/shift lens (Nikkor 24mm PC-E). He gave me an excellent insight into how to approach the topic of photographing trees. I used a tele lens (f2.8 70-200mm or the great new f4 300mm from Nikon). On the 2nd day we worked again in his office with the post-production in Photoshop. At the end of the week I got home with 5 large A2 prints.

My favourite B&W shots where Paul showed me his approach of converting and fine tuning those pictures are the following ones:

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And this is my personal favorite:

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This was taken with the Nikkor f2.8 14-24mm with a Haida 12stop ND filter. Exposure 5min. The fantastic bit with the Haida filters is that they have no magenta colour cast as you usually get with other filter manufacturers.

On the way back from the frist day of the 1:1 along side Ullswater I saw the evening sun coming across the mountains and made this shot.

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Further down the road back to Keswick those 3 sheep amazed me and made me smile. Nerves like steel as they were laying right next to the road where the cars would do 50-80km/h.

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Absolutely loved those 5 days! Was it worth it? Yes without a doubt, even though it meant driving 3000km in a week as I went up there by car.

My own challenges I see is that it takes a while and experience in working with Photoshop and putting curves down for the different areas in the photo in order to fine tune the image. But in the end the result is a lot more  harmonious as I would call it than Silver Efex 2 from the Google Nik Collection. At least with landscape shots I found the effects now to bee too strong.

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Will post over the next weeks a few more pictures. Also intend to do a 1:1 comparison between the colour shots and the converted B&W images.