The Stadium

I’ve said it before, but it’s worth saying again: B&W is a much more tolerant medium than colour. It allows us to exaggerate contrast, to distort the tonal range, create mood, and at the extremes produce images that, I recall three decades ago, were referred to as ‘soot and whitewash’. And very powerful those images could be and can still be.

Today’s image is of a portion of the football stadium in Milton Keynes. I liked the geometry of this as I walked round the exterior of the building – the skewed reflections, particularly of the lamp-post. It was always going to be a monochromic image. Here’s the original un-edited RAW image.


Back home, my first task was to re-align the image, correcting vertical and horizontal lines and in particular deal with the slight curve to the horizontal lines of the background building (which is circular) using the Transform tool. Then it was time to convert to B&W, accentuate contrast and adjust levels. I then made a selection of most of the right half of the building – the part that leans and reflects – and solarized that and then inverted the solarization. That process accentuated the tonal range and then reversed it. And that final reversal, I think, makes a substantial difference to the character of the building – although I must admit it is no longer entirely true to the tonality of the original building.


And so, the image loses its right to be a true documentary image of this building. But I think it becomes a more balanced and perhaps a more successful image. Well, that’s my opinion – you may think differently. Do make a comment.

Click on any image to see a higher quality enlargement.


About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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21 Responses to The Stadium

  1. I don’t have your ‘eye’ for a good image Andy, and given a choice I would usually go for the colour version. In this case however, I would choose the black and white image – much more interesting.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Paul. You’re underestimating the quality of your images, Paul. And it’s true most images in the mountains (UK particularly) work better in colour. Black and White suits some images better than others. I’m sure if you took your camera into urban environments you would soon start finding images there. There’s a challenge for you!

  2. Len Saltiel says:

    Great lines and patterns Andy. I think that B&W often accentuates these types of subject in a very positive way.

    • LensScaper says:

      The thing is, it is so easy to experiment with B&W in the digital era. Just one mouse-click on the menu item and there you have it. And one click to reverse the edit!

  3. Good choice on the B&W. The final image definitely has more punch. The first, while interesting, looks a bit mundane. Good work.

  4. Your modifications greatly improved the image. And I appreciate the tutorial on how you did it – gives me some ideas for some of my own work!

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Melinda – all part of the service! If you’ve never tried solarization – it’s dead easy. You’ll find it under filter/stylize/Solarize in Photoshop. May also be in Elements too – I don’t use that myself. When you first apply Solarization – the image will look ghastly. Go straight to Levels and correct them and you’ll see the image come to life. Sometimes well worth experimenting with inverting the image too after the initial solarization. It’s ideal work for a winter’s evening!

  5. oneowner says:

    Of these two images I prefer the black and white version. It does have a very nice tonal range and contrast as opposed to the color version. However, I don’t think that the color version is optimized the same way the black and white version is optimized. I think that some slider adjustments and some dodging and burning could make this version pop. In color printing from film this was difficult to do but it’s pretty simple in digital.

    • LensScaper says:

      There’s been no optimising at all in the colour image! It’s straight out of camera. I’m sure it could look better with a little TLC. I just opted straight for B&W and played until I got what I was looking for. Maybe I’ll take a look at the original and see what turns up – if it’s worth showing – it will be shown!

  6. I certainly agree that B&W allows us to push the tones and contrasts beyond the “normal”. This B&W conversion really illustrates that nicely, resulting in a crisp and clean image.

    Some images lend themselves to a B&W result from the very beginning. I think the original image falls into that category. While a nice shot, there was not a lot of energy to extract for a color finish, in my humble opinion. The conversion however, is full of punch.

    Really nicely done, Andy!

    • LensScaper says:

      Many thanks Jimi – I know you do a lot of B&W conversions so I really appreciate that comment. I’ve always been a great fan of B&W – it’s what I shot from Day 1, 45 years ago or thereabouts.

  7. Very nice work, great image

  8. Mike says:

    Much preferred in B&W, and nicely seen, Andy.

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