Introspectives #22

More often than not I’m dissatisfied with my colour shots and stay with black-and-white for safety’s sake. This might explain why:

One of the good things about monochromatic photography is that even if your light is flat, the photos end up looking “okay.” With colour photography, having flat light ruins a photograph.

ducks take flight in the deben
I’m rarely out and about in the photographer’s golden hours and on this day in Woodbridge there was no brilliant light but only a teasing of late morning sun between cloud. The grey tones suited my mood but the DSLR is not in tune with that and reproduces whatever light manages to hit the sensor. To be fair this shot was spontaneous as the ducks flew and I had no time to set it up or wait for the clouds to pass. Nice detail perhaps but poor skies.

If  you want to make a truly stellar black-and-white photograph, you need to embrace the light…no amount of post-processing or darkroom magic can “fix” a photograph with poor light.

woodbridge_mono1Here I deliberately obliterated what little sky there was by upping the highlights in this high contrast mono. As a result it creates white space above and between the deep blacks emphasising the patterns and angles of the shot as much as the subject matter.

But isn’t this “cheating?” No — black-and-white isn’t about capturing reality; it is about creating your own version of reality. After all, do you really see the world in black-and-white?

Quite often I take a photo for what it means to me with little reference to its intrinsic value.  I love this half-water world that the Deben exhibits much of the time as here where the trickle of water meanders over mudflats towards mid-river. The little bird is a nice addition.
I had only taken my 30mm lens away with me and this shot needed a wider angle so I did have to crop some sky.

“If you shoot landscapes, perhaps your single-subject is a solitary tree, a solitary rock, or a starfish on the beach”.

I was focusing more on the contrasting tones that fade from a dark foreshore to pale grey and white as the river disappears on the horizon…and finally got closer to the desired result with this shot:-

“Make monochromatic memories, and savor the brilliance it will bring your images”

All quotes are from Eric Kim’s Monochrome Manual – well worth an online read and it’s also a free download. Makes me feel I need to begin all over again. Hey ho!

Related Post:
W for Woodbridge – the colour version!

Thinking out loud with an aim to improve and learn more about photography. Hence the images are not always for show – feedback is welcome.


4 thoughts on “Introspectives #22

  1. I’ve always like your monochrome shots, that’s something I rarely do, I often don’t have an eye for what would make a good monochrome picture. I tend to cover up not so successful pictures with a Lightroom preset 🙂 . I think I shall experiment more with monochrome. I also like the bit about “…creating your own reality”.

    1. I thought of you when I read that as we have touched on the purist’s reality vs creative edits! Monochrome might just free up your vision and re-ignite enthusiasm – nothing so refreshing as a new venture.

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