Sunday, July 12, 2009

Vacation in Black and White

As I mentioned in the last post, I took a number of black and white shots on vacation. I'll share some of them with you here (note: I have more to say on the technical side of shooting on black and white film, but those posts will be over at the Used Camera Database Blog).

Today, I'll just share some of my favorite photographs from the second and third rolls of film (from the Costco scans on CD). I'm going to try to scan the first set of negatives myself (more to test quality than anything else) -- so those will be a little delayed.

I've been wanting to shoot black and white for a while, but this is the first time I really got around to it. Of course, I could always convert my color images to B&W in post processing, but I almost feel... overwhelmed... when converting color (digital) shots to black and white because there are so many options and variables. I'd almost rather be restricted to monochrome at shooting time than do it in post processing.

Maybe, with more experience, I'll get to know what it to look like when I do conversions. For now, I'm still learning what will show up and what won't. For instance, in the shot below, the path through the gate is totally lost in the conversion.

On the other hand, many shots that would be mediocre in color really have a little something extra in black and white. Much of it is the contrast and the way black and white restricts you to just the dark and light spots. Part of it is that 'old-time' feel of black and white -- for that reason, I think there's a good argument for doing black and white in portraits.

For instance, this shot of my son is definitely helped by removing the color (which would be distracting):

Likewise, the frame around my daughter in this photo is brought out by the lack of color. It is too bad I missed the focus and it turned out soft! (she was hamming it up too, which usually isn't a good thing, but it worked on this grab shot).

I've always felt like black and white lends an old time serenity to shots of people. For instance, the shot at the top of the page, or this one:

This last one is a bit blown out on my kids -- I think it would be benefited by rescanning at a stop or two less exposure. It probably could have worked pretty well in color though -- the barn was red with nice texture, and the surroundings were a vibrant green.

Flowers can look pretty nice, but honestly, I think this one would have looked better in color...

Black and white does excel in terms of texture, like this old building I had my daughter try to get into. I shot a series of them, but they looked better in my mind than on film :(

I like these shots though:

And I made sure to get the family dog, Annie (who, sadly, is not going to last much longer since her back legs are no longer cooperating).

I love this shot...

Finally, I'll end with a shot of my son, hard at work. One thing about black and white film is that it handles a wide dynamic range -- this image really shows that off...

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