Archive for Black-n-White Photography
I had never managed to photograph a fox. I have always been fascinated by his being cunning and reserved. I had met her sometimes, a look, a noise, an escape. Just enough time to take up the camera and the fox was already gone to safer places. So I decided to start a photographic safari, I only wanted to take her a picture with her “winter coat” in order to capture the wonderful figure with her most beautiful colors, when the harsh winter weather increases her hair and makes her look like a teddy bear. Early in the morning I put on her trail in the park of the Gran Paradiso. Finally, after six hours of walking, I can see her in the valley that goes back at her lair. I followed her, trying not to scare her. She sees me, but It seems not to have fears and she let me go with her. It was really exciting to share with her two hours, standing three meters away in complete harmony and with deep respect. As a used model lent herself to the objective of the camera and I could photograph her in all possible ways. Unfortunately the light was too direct, with the sun that drew her silhouette, making silver her features. This is why I chose to underexpose the photograph so that the features were the only visible part. When I returned home I only exacerbated the part in “black” in post-production getting this result. ~ Stefano Ronchi
Below are Alan’s six favorites from the Fire and Ice photo tour. We had ‘interesting’ weather that forced participants to dig deep to come up with creative images. As you can see from Alan’s images below, there is always something to shoot no matter what kind of light and weather nature throws at you.
Cline River Canyon
Lumix GH2, Zuiko 11-22mm lens at 22mm (44mm equiv.), ISO 160, f8 at 1/60s, + 1.33 EV
Lumix GH1, Lumix 100-300mm lens at 200mm (400mm equiv.), ISO 100, f16, 1/10s, +0.7 EV
Morning Sun on Vision Quest
Lumix GH1, Lumx 100-300mm lens at 170mm (340mm equiv.), ISO 100, f9, 1/40s, +0.7 EV
Lumix GH2, Zuiko 11-22mm lens at 21mm (42mm equiv.), ISO 160, f16, 0.6s, +1 EV, solid ND filter
Lumix GH2, Zuiko 12-60mm lens at 21mm (42mm equiv.), ISO 160, f16, 1/5s, + 0.66 EV
The Drain at Whirlpool Point
Lumix GH2, Zuiko 11-22mm lens at 11mm (22mm equiv.), ISO 160, f14, 0.8s, +0.66 EV
Here’s the Ice, Where’s the Fire?
This photo was taken on the last morning of the Fire and Ice Photo Tour in the Canadian Rockies which ended yesterday. Unlike most November tours, this tour we were given cloudy and snowy conditions. But even with the lack of ‘fire’ (sunrises and sunsets), the group of intrepid photographers made some great images.
One of the tricks I use in ‘bad light’ (e.g. overcast, grey days) is to set my digital camera to ‘monochrome’ so that the LCD of my camera shows B+W photos. I find it helps to strip away the colour to see compositions in B+W. Often there will be great images out there that speak to be taken even in the ‘crappy’ light. The image is a case in point. In colour it had no life but when I saw how it looked on the LCD in monochrome, I decided the photo was worth taking. If you shoot in RAW format the camera will display a B+W image on your LCD but record a full colour image in-camera which you can use to make B+W conversion later in post processing. I use Silver Efex Pro 2 as my default B+W conversion program (for a 15% discount on the software just enter darwin as the discount code on checkout). Stay tuned for great shots from participants in the following weeks most of whom used the monochrome setting on their cameras to mine wonderful B+W images in the moody light
For anyone wanting to see the new ice in the Rockies and hopefully to get a bit of fire to boot, there is one spot left starting this Wednesday (November 16) until Sunday (November 20). Contact Alan at the Aurum Lodge (email@example.com) to for more information.
Canon 5D II with a 17-40 L lens @ 26mm. 1/50 sec @ f/4. ISO 400
This image was taken at Blists Hill Victorian village, in Ironbridge (Shropshire UK) It’s an amazing place, recreated exactly as it would have been in the Victorian Era. I chose a slightly unconventional lens for portraiture here, due to the tight confines of the shop. I do however like the effect the wide angle lens has had on the foreground printing plate, and his hands in particular. Shot wide open at F4, in attempt to make the printer ‘pop’ from the background. The shot was composed to have the printer fairly dominant in the scene, while still allowing the viewer to see the ‘tools of the trade’ in the background. I am fairly pleased with the way that the final image turned out. The image was initially processed from the raw file in Adobe camera raw, and finished off in Photoshop. The mono conversion was carried out with Nik Silver Efex, which I find a superb piece of software. ~ Phil Morgan
Samantha and I just got back from the SNAP! Photography Seminars ‘Weekend Workshop’ with John Marriott which, based on the feedback forms was a great success. We had a wonderful group of talented photographers ranging from absolute beginners to semi-pro shooters. Because our location was based in the heart of Banff National Park near Lake Louise it was hard for photographers not to wish for ‘good light’ for the sunrise and sunset shoots. Good light to most of us means richly-coloured skies and warm light skimming across the peaks. Well, the weather did not co-operate with these expectations and we were mostly met with overcast skies.
The problem with expectations is that they blind you to other opportunities which can lead to thrilling images. On the last day of the workshop we all went to Lake Louise at sunrise. Of course, there was no sunrise but instead it was cloudy, then fog rolled in, and then it started to snow. There was some grumbling about the ‘crappy’ light but where some people saw a curse of bad luck, others found inspiration. There really is no such thing as bad light (just bad attitudes ;-)). Below are two images made from the ‘crappy light’ that morning at Lake Louise that show that photographers with an open mind can create amazing images no matter what the conditions.
These two photos were the images that John, Sam and I felt were the most compelling of the weekend (all made in the ‘worst’ light by the way). To us these were refreshing and novel images of Lake Louise. How many more pink alpen-glow images need to be made from here anyway? To see more work by each photographer simply click on their photos. Watch in the future for new workshop offerings from Samantha and myself and new offerings from John Marriott.
This image of Adrina among the roots was made with my Canon 50D and 16-35 2.8 back in June of 2009. It was f8 at 1/100. Sounds great, right? Well, it’s also shot at 1600 ISO, because just prior to arriving at this location, the model and I had been trying to shoot in an abandoned space that was very dark. So I’d cranked up the ISO to try to get a workable shutter speed under those conditions — then forgot to adjust it back to my usual 160 or 320 before resuming outdoor shooting. For various reasons, a tripod was not practical for this location, so the high ISO actually worked out well. It did allow me to shoot at a an optimal aperture for sharpness and depth of field, plus a high enough shutter speed to get very good sharpness hand-held, so a little noise is a trade-off I can live with. I’ve exhibited a 16×20 inch print of this image and the noise does not detract in my opinion — being properly exposed and not having heavy shadow or solid areas makes noise less of an issue. Converting to monochrome in Lightroom, adding a little vignette, and some secret herbs and spices completed the picture. I frequently shoot RAW with monochrome picture style because it gives me a good preview of what the image will look like in B&W, which is pretty much my “native language” when it comes to photography. Of course, the RAW file gives me the option to use color when an image calls for it.
About the image, we were in pursuit of a purported waterfall in an area south of Dayton, Ohio, but I’d not had a chance to scout this location ahead of time. So it wasn’t until we were on the scene after a 20 minute walk into the woods that we saw the stream was nearly dry, and nothing even resembling falls in sight. But the roots of these two trees on the shore of the stream bed provided a lot of visual interest and possibilities. Adrina tried some poses in the little cubby hole on the right side of the trees — I like those shots, but finding the spot where she could stretch out among the roots was a clear winner. As serene as this image looks, she was contending with the usual spiders and insects, while still managing to look graceful. We worked the scene a bit more, as well as some other spots near there before we headed back to the car, but I was confident that this frame would be the standout from that location. ~ Gary Mitchell