Black and White Photography Magazine host the Black and White Photographer of the Year Competition every autumn. This year I entered 2 sets of images in the main competition (First Prize is a Leica Monochrom Type 246) and a few in the individual categories. I have been informed that one of my sets for the main award has been selected to go through to the second stage of judging. I will now rework the images from raw and print them to A3 for the judges. This gives me the opportunity to make any minor modifications to tonality, cloning and dust removal, together with trying a few different paper types to ensure that I get as much out of the images as possible, both technically and aesthetically. The process will start by making a set of small prints from the jpegs that were judged in the first phase. It is essential that if I make a new set of tiffs from the raw I have the same crop and aspect ratio as before. Stage 2 will be to look closely at the raw conversion and in this case I will run them through Phase One Capture One, which I now believe to be a better raw converter than Adobe CR. Capture One it seems delivers superior Tiff files and the tools for local area adjustment work on the DNG file before making the Tiff. The third stage will be to make a set of full size prints on my everyday paper which is used for OCA work and most other output. It is a satin finish onto which is applied a small amount of gloss enhancer. The fourth stage will be to calibrate the printer for some Canson Baryta and make a set on this high quality paper. If I can find any other papers in the store I will run a set with those and at this stage I will have as many options as possible.
To add to the possibilities I may look at toning. In the past I have made prints with toning to help set the image into a historical context. This work particularly well for the Edward Weston images during Landscape but can be disastrous if applied with the wrong intent. The set I have to work with (I am not allowed to show these until after the winner is announced in November) is quite contemporary in its content and I worried that anything other than totally neutral monochrome will be wrong. The angst of editing and presentation as always is one where a decision has to be made and that is the lot of the competition entrant. The work is to be with the judges by 15 October.