Exercise 17: Colour into tones – 1

Task: Take or choose an image which contains at least two strong contrasting colours.

Original Image

I chose to use this photo I had taken in the summer of 4 parrots in Dubrovnik. I opened it up in Photoshop and wanted to concentrate on the red and green contrasting colours of the parrot’s feathers in the centre of the frame.

First of all I converted it to grey scale to convert it to a black and white image.

Original B & W Parrots

Converting the coloured image to black and white has shown darkened tones for the reds and lighter tones for the blues. There is also little distinction between differences in the red and green feathers.

Lightened Green, Darkened Red

First of all I lightened the green which has created a paler grey tone (above), whilst darkening the red to produce an almost black tone.

Lightened Red, Darkened Green

Conversely lightening the red in this image (above) has lightened the red feathers on the parrot’s head considerably. This conversion has also lightened other reddish hues, such as the skin of passers by and the maroon parrot on the left-hand side. Meanwhile the green feathers have become darker, revealing less green feathered area than I could see in the colour version.


This exercise has shown me that the more colourful the original image is the more control I can have when processing it in black and white. The wider the range of hues the more control I have in altering the tones in a monochrome image.

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