Black and white: I’ve rediscovered it. This is another offshoot of the photo discussion by the museum exhibit judge. (Thanks, Colleen. She dragged me to it.) He did not discuss this topic. But, he got me to thinking about black and white photos today. There’s no simple way to shoot, develop, or print black and white film. Converting to black and white while post processing in Photoshop has never been satisfactory to me. Shooting black and white is a commitment to the technique. The tradeoff is that I am a color guy. I have been thinking in color for decades. It’s a work in progress. To be sure, it is way different from color. Embrace the madness?
I’m out of order in my posts. Sorry. But, I dabbled in black and white again, then promptly dropped it. It was a brief sidebar. At the end of the day, I’m still a color guy. Mostly.
It’s in the eyes. When you see it you know it? Love? When you are in love you know it. Black and white is kind of like that. The absence of color makes me focus on the eyes. It’s arresting. I know I like it. Would it be the same in color? No, but then again, I didn’t shoot this in color for comparison either. It stands alone. I have two cameras ready to go now. One set for color, the other black and white. It’s not the same as converting after the fact. I do have a brain that splits and I can think and chew gum at the same time.
Alas, I am still color > 99%.
I have two point and shoot cameras. I lamented that the Sony RX100M6 has a series of screens to maneuver before you change the setting to Black and White. It means you cannot toggle to color easily. The Canon G7X has a way to toggle relatively easier. Or, just keep one camera for color and the other for black and white. I’m still playing. It’s good to experiment. My cat, Feather, agreed to pose. She’s not patient. It’s another work in progress. I learned that focus is critical. And depth of field… yawn. I’m still wishing my cameras could change as fast as I think of something else to try.
They used to joke about a black cat in a coal mine being hard to photograph. Sure! Do your worst. A dark cat is almost impossible to photograph in detail in BxW. In color I never noticed it was hard. BxW can be arresting. When it’s good, it’s great! Color is less so. Maybe? I think of texture and tone when looking at BxW. Maybe there’s hope for me yet.
Perhaps, it’s the other way round? Black and white is demanding. I think in color. We see in color. Consider it a work in progress needing a lot of progress.
Ha ha! A white cat – in shades of grey. Funny?! Pardon the extreme ISO. If you are iPhone ignore the last completely. Color has subtle ways of drawing viewer attention. BxW is about grey – shades. Different vibe, your choice. My preference? I yield to well made, well exposed, well printed BxW. I’m color. Maybe I can think again in BxW. For now, my work is 99.9% color. Patch is the name of my cat.
Ansel Adams I am not. Good cat portrait? See the white fur. The digital sensor is not capable of shooting extended range. It’s complicated. But so, it has always been. The human eye is better in some instances. The white fur is overexposed. In black and white this is the first thing I noticed. In color it’s ok by me to notice the eyes first. Color, black and white, it’s different in so many ways. It’s easy enough to do, why not keep experimenting?
Evolution. I started in black and white – Tri X. I developed my own because I was on a budget. Cheap! It’s a mindset you never lose. It’s why memory card are so wonderful. Unlimited shots (seemingly) for little money. Color. Nope, expensive, till I developed my own slide film. Heaven. I never shot another frame of black and white. The color was like landing in Kansas in the Wizard of Oz. Color was totally seductive. I never looked back and never used black and white film again.
Black and white is a mindset. You have to live and dream in it. Ansel Adams, my hat is off to you.
Black and white is easy. Photoshop, whatever. Just convert your color to BxW. So simple. It is. But it’s not the same as thinking in BxW. For that you need to see your subjects in tones. I’m a color guy. For sure. I see color. It might be fun to experiment. The camera will shoot BxW automatically. But, then, I would want my color too. Easy, shoot color and convert it. It’s just not that easy and definitely not the same thought process. Drat!
And the cats? Elle is behind the door. She’s separated in order to recover from a wound to her tail. The high chair is against the door handle in order to prevent the sisters, Spice and Feather from opening the door. Yup, they can jump the handle and get the door open. As you can see, they are patiently awaiting entry. They are more curious than sympathetic. When I let them in, they went straight for the food and water. It’s not punishment. Elle just needs some quiet time.
Shooting Star resort. I have many photos of hibiscus flowers made over the years from tropical climes I have visited. My first memory were of the flowers in Hawaii. One early sunrise at the Shooting Star, as I walked by this blossom, I noticed the high key light on the yellow flower. Once home, I edited this photo and converted it to a sepia toned image. It makes stunning graphic interpretation of a flower that I have seen many times before. The conversion tones give the image a surreal glow. I really don’t recall having to do too much post processing. All the elements were just perfectly setup for this image to work.