I was never a big fan of monochrome images but after spending some time on Robyn G’s One Four Challenge I started to see the error of my ways.
After some searching I found an inexpensive photo app called Stackables that uses multiple layers to produce an amazing variety of ‘looks’, which includes all of my favourite monochrome looks.
I’m still somewhat hesitant to use monochrome, especially for gardens. Unless there happens to be statuary. Enter the Glenveagh Castle gardens in Ireland, with more statuary than you can shake a stick at!
Because I am still in the experimentation stage of using Stackables I decided to try out a few of their monochrome ‘formulas’ on this formal Irish garden, and then label them. Not all of the formulas worked on all of the images, but I tried to pick the 6 best all-round monochrome looks for this particular subject…
Happiness. Warm brown merging into a soft sea green, this formula shows up details but was often too dark for many of the images. Stackables allows infinite adjustments on these matters, but I haven’t yet figured out how to do this.
Frozen Souls. Misty high-contrast blue monochromes. Many of the details are lost but I really like the way this translates into a lost winter garden. Lost & Found. This formula is really soft around the edges and only worked if the part of the image I wanted highlighted was in the centre of the photo.Statuesque. This formula brings a very faded version of the actual colours into the image so technically it’s not a monochrome, although in this case the images themselves were semi-monochrome so I included it.
Serenity. Very soft green tones create an almost underwater effect. I found it a bit too soft for my liking and ‘improved’ on it by hitting ‘Auto Contrast’ in Photoshop. Silverado. A cold blue-green contrasty monochrome that I’m not sure if I like that much. Now for my favourites, including some extra ‘formula’ looks that didn’t make it into the sets above:
Happiness. Best detail, especially around the eyes.
Anarchy. This formula is very similar to Happiness but on the cooler side with the soft sea green in the centre merging into a purple-brown on the edges.
Statuesque. I loved the magical effect on the ferns surrounding the tree.
Frozen Souls. This adds a wintery mood to the fish fountain.
Winter Blues is like a faded ‘colour’ tintype. I’m rather fond of this look but not sure where I would use it.
Sandscape. Slightly solarized and low contrast, another look I like, but am unlikely to use. Rich England. This image of a hop bower in front of Glenveagh Castle just refused to work in monochrome, but I love the colour version.
There are at least a half a dozen other monochrome formulas that didn’t work for this particular set of images but I’m hoping to find something they work with!