How To: Fix a Flat Image by Converting to Black and White

Due to heavy fog, photographer Will Waterman's image was lacking pazazz, a simple b/w conversion fixed the problem

Wave Form: After

Wave Form: After

After: The massive, breaking, winter waves in Coos Bay, OR, are a favorite of photographers. Bill Waterman used a Canon EOS 50D and 24–105mmf/4L Canon EF lens to make the shot at 1/200 sec and f/8, ISO 400.Bill Waterman

Kersplash! Bill Waterman captured a breaking wave at its explosive peak in Oregon’s Shore Acres Park. But the contrast-suppressing fog really lessens the impact of the shot.

As the image was essentially monochromatic to begin with, the Fix It Fast Team decided to go completely black-and-white, using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 to convert the image. We used the preset called High Structure Harsh for a crisp Ansel Adams look, and added even more structure with a slider control. (Structure makes for greater differentiation between nearby like tones, and hence boosts the appearance of sharpness and contrast.) We also brightened the midtones with a slider.

Silver Efex brought out an amazing amount of detail—notice the rocks and the breaker in particular. Total time fixing: 10 minutes.