Posted in Pics

MTA at Columbus Circle: CB&W

Oh dear, I missed last week’s challenges. I went away for the holiday weekend and it threw off my whole schedule. Anyway, I’m back!

I’m still experimenting with selective colorization in my black and white photos (my first attempt was reasonably successful). I’ve downloaded GIMP and have been slowly learning it over the last month. As someone who hasn’t used Photoshop since about 2007, I don’t have anything recent to compare GIMP to. But comparing it to old Photoshop, I like GIMP more. Plus GIMP is free and there are tons of YouTube tutorials. (On tip I will give you is that when you are using photo editing software–or even just viewing photos on a blog–turn up your screen brightness.)

This week’s Black and White Photo Challenge lent itself to more experimentation. After all NYC has no lack of public transportation, so I had a wealth of subjects. I grabbed my camera and wandered over to Columbus Circle. It’s a nice mid-sized subway station and there are a bunch of bus stops just upstairs. I didn’t end up snapping as many photos as usual–not that digital isn’t cheap, but I’m trying to get better about not just mindlessly shooting. I ended up with about 8 that I liked and 5 that I still liked after I applied a basic black and white filter! Then it was just a matter of deciding what to do with the photos.


I knew I wanted to try selective colorization on the bus stop. If you are familiar with NYC mass transit you’ll know that bus stop signs are generally blue, but limited buses are labeled with purple signs. A little bit of work in GIMP and the purple limited sign was the only colored sign. A bit more work, this time with the with the dodge and burn tool, and the white on the signs looked whiter and the bright windows from the Time Warner Center were dimmed.


I also had some fun with one of my subway platform photos. I wasn’t there particularly late at night, so I figure a train must have just left the platform because it was empty enough to get this shot. I love just the lights and the yellow edge showing in the black and white photo. It’s somewhere between “Wizard of Oz” and “Pleasantville.”

The other platform photo I didn’t colorize, all I did was play with the saturation, contrast, and highlights to make it look how I wanted in the black and white. It’s the photo at the top of this post.


I also left one other in all black and white: my shot of the out of service bus. It’s not my favorite photo of the batch but I really enjoy it.

Finally, these are just for fun. I love this wall at the subway–such a contrast to the usual white subway tile. I think I love it even more in black and white. But for fun I fiddled with some filters: on to fade the colors and the other to re-colorize the black and white photo in a completely different color palette. I love the Warhol-esque quality when I put them all together!



Hi, I'm Mercedes. I'm a PhD candidate in politics and a trained pastry chef. I'm also an amateur photographer, hobby quilter, and all-around nutty girl living in the Big Apple.

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