Digital Outback Photo
- Photography using Digital SLRs


Digital Outback Photo Contest #008

Contest June 2003: B&W Conversion

Sponsored by

1. Prize: Capture One DSLR Pro version (Windows or Mac)

2. Prize: One of our E-booklets of choice


Congratulations to our winners:

1. Prize (Capture One DSLR Pro): David Kieltyka and Nicolas Eertmans

2. Prize (Outback E-Booklet): Jonathan Wienke and Orin Bassoff


See also our other contests


To share experience it is not enough just to show the results. We need precise step-by-step descriptions of all image editing operations that had been performed. That is why we need to limit the used tools to the ones that are available at Digital Outback Photo (and they have to be available for PC or Mac):

  • Photoshop (this is the standard image editor we use)
  • Capture One DSLR Pro, Adobe Camera Raw or Canon SDK based converter
  • Other tools (if the tool author provides a free full working copy to Digital Outback Photo)

This photo was taken with the Canon 1Ds and the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens.


  • Image should not be cropped
  • All preparation should be done for a normal inkjet print and not for web presentation
  • Color Space: Adobe RGB or Grayscale
  • You load the full raw image (copyright Bettina & Uwe Steinmueller) from here (12MB ZIP)
  • You make the best out of it and fully document all steps (try not to be too complex as this makes our life difficult)
  • You then resize the resulting file to 500 pixels wide at JPG 8 compression in Photoshop
  • Note: Do not send the full sized image! (we will send them back to you)
  • Also send us the same crops (500x300) at 100% pixel level as shown below in the sample entry
  • Do not forget to include the full instructions
  • We need be able to perform all steps ourselves following your instructions
  • We may reject entries without any further notice if they get to complex, the tools are not at hand or we see major quality issues.
  • Send images and instructions to:

From now on we plan to have exactly one contest per month. The contests will be limited to 8 entries and every week we will publish two (that means 8 after 4 weeks) entries we like the best. This means you can take your time as we do not publish on first come first served basis.

  Note: As all photos should be in the AdobeRGB color space it is recommended to download interesting samples and view them in Photoshop on a profiled monitor.
  Sample Entry (by Uwe Steinmueller)


  #1 David Kieltyka

  1) Use Adobe Camera RAW via Photoshop 7.01 for RAW conversion:
-- White Balance: As Shot
-- Exposure: +0.60
-- Shadows: 4
-- Brightness: 45
-- Contrast: +30
-- Saturation: 0
-- Sharpness: 0
-- Smoothness: 0
-- Moiré Filter: unchecked

2) Levels: 22 -- 1.00 -- 245

3) Channel Mixer:
-- Red: 0%
-- Green: +25%
-- Blue: +75%
-- Monochrome: checked

4) Levels: 0 -- 0.89 -- 245

5) Convert to 8-bit Grayscale mode.

6) Convert to Duotone mode using my WarmGreyQuad quadtone profile.

7) Convert to 16-bit RGB mode.

8) Levels: 4 -- 0.97 -- 255

9) USM using Midtone Sharpening action.

10) Additional USM using Fred Miranda's Intellisharpen 2.2 action, Intensity 1 (lowest setting). This enhances contrast in the wood grain.
  #2 Jonathan Wienke


1. Open RAW with Adobe Camera RAW, white balance as shot, brightness 50, contrast +88, saturation +23, smoothness 4, all other values 0, upsized to 6144x4088, 16 bit Adobe RGB.

2. Run Midtone Sharpen LAB 16 action in attached file, 300%, radius 2, threshold 0.

3. Apply theimagingfactory's Convert to B&W Pro filter with the following settings:

4. Levels adjustment, 0-1-235, 0-255.

5. Convert to 8-bit grayscale, save as PSD file.

6. Open RAW with Adobe Camera RAW again, white balance as shot, exposure +1.5, brightness 50, contrast +100, smoothness 4, all other values 0, upsized to 6144x4088, 16 bit Adobe RGB.

7. Run Midtone Sharpen LAB 16 action in attached file, 300%, radius 2, threshold 0.

8. Apply theimagingfactory's Convert to B&W Pro filter with the following settings:

9. Level adjustment, 29-1-255, 0-255.

10. Convert to 8-bit grayscale, select all, copy, paste into previously created PSD file.

11. Add layer mask (reveal all) to newly created layer, and set layer opacity to 50%.

12. Apply Image on layer mask from temporary mask file created during the second running of the Midtone Sharpening LAB 16 action, normal blending, opacity 100%, to serve as a starting point for blending the layers together.

13. Levels adjustment on layer mask 0-1-127 , 0-255

14. Airbrush the layer mask black on all the rusty metal areas to improve the look of the blend.

15. Resize image back to its original dimensions of 4064x2704, bicubic.

16. Run Midtone Sharpen All 8 RGB action in attached file, 150% radius 1, threshold 0.

17. Flatten image, mode duotone, load attached tritone Sepia 5, done. (Finally!)

  #3 Gary Yelland


  • Canon File viewer utility
    White balance (Shot Settings), Sharpness 3, Colour (Shot Settings), Convert to 16b tiff
  • Load into Photoshop
    Convert to 8bit
    Channel mixer Red 0%, Green 90%, Blue10%
    Auto Contrast
    Freds 10D CSPro Meduim
    Curves map white point RGB
    Input 6 output 0
    Curves map Black point RGB Input 232 output 255
    Curves mid tones map RGB Input 141 Output 118
    Curves contrast map RGB Input 73 Output 67
    Curves contrast map RGB Input 181 Output 187
  #4 Tomaz Levstek


I used Canon ZoomBrowser EX to convert to TIFF and then used Photoshop with this steps:

To Sharpen:

    • USM 40, 0.8, 0 (3 times)
    • To bring out shadows:
      -Duplicate layer with blending Normal 50% and If Gray - This layer 55, 255.
      -Original layer Brightnes +4
      -Duplicate layer Brightnes -4
      -Flatten Image
    • To make B/W:
      -Channel Mixer (Red +24, Green +24, Blue +50, Monochrome)
      -Mode - Greyscale
  #5 Lars-Erik Mollerstrom

  • RAW file converted with BreezeBrowser, normal conversion 16 bit TIFF, SNR=low, WB=Auto, CM= 4: Adobe RGB, False resolution filter=yes, False color filter=yes and embedded profile=Adobe RGB 1998.
  • File opened in PS 6.01 in 16-bit mode and the following was processed:
    • Levels adjustment; 8, 1.0, 242
    • Curves adjustment; 67/50, 133/120, 191/191.
    • FM action DV PRO v4 at level 2.
    • Converted to 8-bit mode
    • FM action Shadow Recovery v2 at level 4.
    • Adjustment layers; Channel mixer, monochrome=yes, Red=50%, Green=10%, Blue=40%
    • Color balance adjusted for Shadows and Midtones; +20, +10, -10 to create the sepia tone.
    • Image flatten.
    • Run FM action IntelliSharpen v3, level 6.
  #6 Nicolas Eertmans

  • Use David Coffin’s dcraw freeware to convert the RAW file to a 48bit Photoshop file. No command line option used.
  • Open in Photoshop (and assign AdobeRGB as working space)
  • Use the channel mixer to create a monochrome image from the single blue channel: red 0%, green 0%, blue 100% (the blue channel is the noisiest but in our case it is also the one where the shadow is the easiest to enhance)
  • Convert to Greyscale mode
  • Auto levels (the histogram which was actually on 12bits needs to be extended)
  • Levels 0-2.2-255 to lighten the midtones.
  • Apply an Unsharp Mask filter with amount=100, radius=1 and threshold=0
  • Convert to 8 bit per pixel
  • Convert to Quadtone with the attached WarmGreyQuad options.
  #7 Jon Dokken

  • In Capture One DSLR
    • Add 15% Color Saturation
    • Save as Canon 1Ds Flash - 8 bit
  • In Photoshop 7.01
    • Duplicate the Background (Layer 2)
    • Sharpen Lvl 6 - Fred Miranda Actions
    • Clone Tool - Setting 45 @ 100%
      • Remove upper crack close to top left
      • Remove Nut on vertical board at top
      • Remove Spoke Lower Right
      • Remove Carriage Bolt Head Far Right
    • Duplicate the Background Again (Layer 3)
    • Apply Gaussian Blur - 2.5
    • Carefully Extract foreground Rim and Spokes from Layer 3
    • 5 Green Blue Checked 0
    • Carefully clean up edges in Layer 3 with the Eraser tool 17 100 100
    • Change Layer 3 Brightness to -16
    • Change Layer 2 Contrast to +8
    • Flatten Layer 2 & 3
    • Brightness -24
    • COnvert to Lab
    • Copy Luminance Layer
    • Paste in new layer
    • Convert to RGB
    • Carefully Burn in the wheel rim and 5 bolt heads Burn 100 Midtones 20%
    • Burn - 1 Pass over inner edge of wheel rim - darken grain a bit
  #8 Orin Bassoff

  • BreezeBrowser was used to convert the RAW file, settings:
    • Normal conversion to a 16 bit TIFF, SNR=OFF, WB=Daylight,
    • CM=4:AdobeRGB,
    • False resolution filter=ON, False color filter=OFF
  • The rest was completed in Adobe Photoshop as follows:
    1.) Open 16 bit color TIFF converted in BreezeBrowser
    2.) Channel Mixer:
    -> Monochrome: checked
    -> Red: 10%
    -> Green: 50%
    -> Blue: 40%
    3.) Curves:
    -> Personal preset curve setting used. The .acv (saved curve preset)
    file I used can be downloaded from my web site (Note: link was broken and removed ) at and used freely. In Photoshop just click the "Load" button when in the curves dialogue box and browse to the downloaded file.
    4.) Unsharp Mask:
    -> Amount 150%, Radius 0.4, Threshold 0
    5.) Unsharp Mask:
    -> Amount 50%, Radius 1.0, Threshold 0
    6.) Levels:
    -> RGB, Input Levels: 15, 1.00, 234
    7.) Convert to Grayscale

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