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Roger_Williams
01-13-2011, 06:08 PM
I have a B&W image for competition and have 2 questions. First, it is shot at night so the sky is totally black, no stars, nothing. Is that going to hurt because "there is no detail in the sky" or should I go back and add some very faint stars? Secondly, because the sky is all black, I was going to use a dark gray background with a very thin stroke around the image. What is the best way to determine what is the best background color to use for a black, B&W. I've only entered 1 other time with a B&W image but the had enough gray in it that I used a black background (it merited :)). This time with the sky, black is not really an option. Will a gray background make the image look muddy?

Keith_A_Howe
01-13-2011, 06:24 PM
No, it will not hurt you that there is no detail in the sky, because there shouldn't be. Sample the color from the blackest area of your sky and use that for your background. Why is black not an option with a black sky? It doesn't matter that the outside most border area is the same as the sky. I would not use gray because being lighter then the black sky, it will draw the eye to the border, which is not what you want to happen. For the stroke, it's better to error on the side of too dark then too light. What does hurt a very dark sky is if there is noise that sometimes shows up on a long exposure. So watch for that pixelated look in your sky.

Keith

Roger_Williams
01-13-2011, 08:35 PM
No, it will not hurt you that there is no detail in the sky, because there shouldn't be. Sample the color from the blackest area of your sky and use that for your background. Why is black not an option with a black sky? It doesn't matter that the outside most border area is the same as the sky. I would not use gray because being lighter then the black sky, it will draw the eye to the border, which is not what you want to happen. For the stroke, it's better to error on the side of too dark then too light. What does hurt a very dark sky is if there is noise that sometimes shows up on a long exposure. So watch for that pixelated look in your sky.

Keith

Thanks, what I am afraid of is that the sky and the background will merge into oneness and the stroke would be the only thing that would separate the top of the image from the background. The image is a remake of Casablanca at the end of the movie when they are at the airplane. I have good detail in the couple and the airplane so I'm good there. The entire top of the image above the airplane is black and I just worry about separating it from the background.

Keith_A_Howe
01-13-2011, 08:46 PM
Thanks, what I am afraid of is that the sky and the background will merge into oneness and the stroke would be the only thing that would separate the top of the image from the background.

I don't see that as an issue. If you don't want to post it publically, send it to me in an email and I'll tell you what I think, but there isn't any "rule" about the sky not being the same as the border. In fact sometimes you can use that too your advantage if you want to fool the eye into thinking there is more room above the subject then is actually available in the frame.

Keith

Roger_Williams
01-13-2011, 08:53 PM
I don't see that as an issue. If you don't want to post it publically, send it to me in an email and I'll tell you what I think, but there isn't any "rule" about the sky not being the same as the border. In fact sometimes you can use that too your advantage if you want to fool the eye into thinking there is more room above the subject then is actually available in the frame.

Keith

This is the image without the background or being cleaned up. The detail does not show up here as well as it will in the print, like I said, the shadow detail is there.

Keith_A_Howe
01-13-2011, 09:46 PM
Roger, I copied this and tried it with black and with charcoal - definately black IMO. The charcoal just looked faded and like a mistake and made me notice it. The black, I just look at the image. I can't imagine any judge having a problem with the border being the same color as the sky.

Keith

Roger_Williams
01-14-2011, 01:56 PM
Roger, I copied this and tried it with black and with charcoal - definately black IMO. The charcoal just looked faded and like a mistake and made me notice it. The black, I just look at the image. I can't imagine any judge having a problem with the border being the same color as the sky.

Keith

Thank you for taking the time to look at it and I will go with the black border.