Winter White


Twin trees stand guard over the barren fields, bare branches reaching upward. Fence posts march in crooked formation along the frosted roadway. A muted silver-gray sky stretches unbroken from horizon to zenith.

Yes, it’s a cliche – a desolate and stark winter scene to illustrate this week’s white color theme.

But every cliche has its nugget of truth. So I went with it – with this simple image of snow and silhouettes –  pared down to the barest essentials of black and white.

To tell my story of winter white.

High-Key Effect

Flipping through back copies of Photoshop Creative magazine in search of inspiration, I came across this super-fast way to achieve a high-key effect. High-key photographs are defined as very low-contrast images with minimal shadows and a focus on white. This seemed to offer intriguing possibilities during my exploration of the color white. Here are the steps:

  • Duplicate your image (Image>Duplicate)
  • On the duplicate image, change to CMYK color mode (Image>Mode>CMYK)
  • Click on the Channels palette and then click on the Black channel
  • Select All and then Copy (CTRL-C)
  • Return to your original RGB image and Paste (CTRL-V)

If the effect is too strong, lower the opacity and/or change the blend mode. Adding this layer really brought out the white tones, further simplifying the image into its defining lines and shapes.

Texture Tuesday Processing

  • Add “winter” text (321 Impact font) – blend mode = Vivid Light
  • Add “white” text (Allura font) – opacity = 45%
  • Add High-key black channel layer – blend mode = Soft Light (per steps above)
  • Duplicate original image – blend mode = Soft Light
  • Add Golden Texture. Desaturate. Blend mode = Multiply and Opacity = 35%
  • Increase contrast with an overall levels adjustment

Below is the original image and the Photoshop layers palette.

Layers-Palette Feb-28-Before


Linking with Texture Tuesday


Posted on February 28, 2012, in Photoshop and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Before I read your post, stark was the word that jumped into my mind but beautiful so. Love the contrast between the black and white.

  2. this is beautiful….picture perfect!!!!!

  3. I love the high contrast of this image. Nice use of textures!

  4. Love the silhouettes on the stark white- a very effective image.

  5. This is anything but a cliche! The composition is so lovely, with the lines of the fence posts leading us to the trees. You are always so generous about sharing your techniques, thanks!

  6. This is stunning!! Stark yes, but, oh so beautiful! I love how you processed this and love the barely visable words that don’t distract from the scene!

  7. Stunning and stark. I so appreciate your explaining the process. Love how the trees seem to be reaching up, looking for nourishment.

  8. Artfully done, as always–this image could easily grace a greeting card!

  9. Perfectly simple..and simply perfect! Love the silhouetted trees..the contrast. Wonderful winter scene and image.

  10. Brenda, this is a truly stunning photograph.
    I absolutely love the wonderful minimalism.
    Beautifully done!

I greatly appreciate your comments!

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