Simon Allen’s Colour to Mono & IR Conversions

Here is Simon Allen’s Colour to Mono & IR Conversion techniques he demonstrated on Thursday.


1. Open colour image of your choice in Photoshop.

2. Convert to monochrome using Chanel Mixer. Tick the monochrome box and adjust the three colour channels to obtain the best conversion.

3. If the image looks a little flat, increase contrast using a Curves Adjustment Layer. Moving the top point of the curve a little to the right and the base point a little to the left will have the effect of brightening highlights and darkening shadow areas. A reasonably contrasty image is desirable for creating the infra red effect.

4. To reproduce the characteristic graininess of an infra red image, create a new adjustment layer and fill it with 50% gray by going to Edit→Fill→50% gray (chosen from the use box). Then add noise Filter→Noise→Add Noise (ensuring that the Monochrome and Gaussian Blur boxes are ticked. I would initially suggest a setting of between 40% and 60%. Finally, change the blending mode on the layers palette to Soft Light and adjust the opacity of the layer to achieve the desired effect.

5. To re-create the glow around highlights that infra red images tend to exhibit go back to the background layer and create a duplicate of it. Apply Gaussian Blur Filter→Blur→Gaussian Blur with a suggested setting of around 30 pixels. Adjust the opacity of this layer until the image adopts the appearance of an infra red print.

6. Final adjustments to contrast can be achieved by the use of a Curves or Levels layer. The dodge tool set on ‘highlights’ may also be used to improve the glow in highlight details, such as foliage and other greenery, as often seen in infra red images.



1. Open colour image of your choice in Photoshop.

2. Select Image → Mode → Lab Color.

3. Open Channels palette: Window → Channels.

4. Click on lightness channel. The lab, a and b channels will be switched off.

5. Select Image → Mode → Grayscale. This will leave only a gray channel in the open palette.

6. Holding down Ctrl and Alt, click on the thumbnail image in the channels palette. This will select all pixels between white and mid gray. If you have a version of Photoshop with a Histogram palette, this will be clearly shown.

7. However, we wish to select those pixels representing black to mid gray. Therefore go to Select → Inverse.

8. Open the layers palette: Window → Layers.

9. Change image back to colour file: Image → Mode → RGB Color.

10. Select Layer → New Fill Layer → Solid Color. A New Layer box will open, click OK. This will open the Color Picker. Click on a colour of your choice. The exact colour is unimportant at this stage but, if you desire a warm tone, click on a red part of the spectrum or, if you prefer a cool tone, select a blue part of the spectrum. Once a colour is selected click OK. Your image will probably look rather washed out at this stage – don’t worry.

11. On the Layers palette, click on the little downward facing arrow in the blending mode window. This is the box at the top left of the palette which will presently be at ‘normal’. Click on Multiply from the drop down menu.

12. You now have a toned monochrome image.

13. If you are unhappy with the colour, contrast or tonal quality of the image (or simply wish to experiment), these can easily be altered.

14. Double click on the coloured thumbnail shown in the uppermost of the two layers in the Layers palette. This will re-open the Colour Picker. Simply click anywhere on either the large graded colour box or on the vertical strip spectrum until you achieve the desired result. Click OK.

15. Voila!

Many thanks to Simon for allowing us to post these.


The Bowburn Centenary Banner and Bowburn Junior School Banner were paraded, along with others, to celebrate the opening of the new Lamp Cabin at Beamish Museum on Saturday 28th March. Members of the Society completed a documentary project on the Bowburn Banner in 2006 and have been photographing its progress in the community ever since.

Picture Tony Griffiths.

Picture John Attle

Results, Trio Projected Images.judged by Keith Robertson

1st Place.Barry Armitage— Sweet Music

2ndPlace. Angy Ellis—Rock Chick

3rd Place. Gitte Edelman— Happy Despite Ink Accident

1st Place. David Trout—Walking in North Bailey

2nd Place. Angy Ellis—Abstract Parking

3rd Place. Les Travis—Prebends Bridge

1st Place. David Trout—Schizophrenia

2nd Place.Dennis Hardingham—Junior School Musical

3rd Place. Les Travis— All at Sea

NCPF Championship 2009

The NCPF Championship (AKA “Knockout”) has been long been a highlight of the photographic year and about half a dozen Durham members made the trip to see how we would fare on February 8th. Washington Camera Club has taken on the job of hosting it for a few years now and the effort their members (and others) put into it is admirable. This time there were no slides to be seen, which shows the way things have changed – just a few years ago it was exclusively a slide competition. The move to digital images, or “Electronic Images” as the NCPF calls them, hasn’t made such a difference as far as the viewer is concerned. We still see big pictures on the screen. Prints are more of a problem, though, as we are beginning to realize in our own club. Once you get an audience above a certain size the people at the back can’t see a print properly. Washington has tried to get round this by using a camcorder linked up to a projector and, although contrast picks up and the colour balance shifts slightly, the results from this point of view seemed better this year than last. It seems like we are all waiting for another leap in technology (and the price to come down) before we get a really satisfactory solution to viewing prints in a large hall. The Knockout is a long day – 9.30 until about 4.30 – but it is made worthwhile by being able to see a lot of excellent pictures (some of which we haven’t seen before!) and by being able to see and chat to fellow photographers from other clubs.

The results of the competition? Ah well, for Durham it will have to be “let’s wait until next year”. We just missed out on a place in the final in both projected images and prints, but at least we had the consolation of getting the judges’ choice for the top digital image courtesy of Gitte Edelman’s “Dancing through the Night” (not bad for an unsharp picture, Gitte!).