monthly theme | april 2022 | black and white

mollyc

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Welcome to the monthly theme thread!

Each month a new theme will be posted for us to explore. This is not a competition, and you are welcome to post as many photos as you like throughout the month (this rule may be amended in the future depending on the level of participation). You may use any gear you like: phone, digital camera, film, etc. The idea of this thread is to focus on a technique or theme and grow with it over the course of the month. There will be no voting or winners.

You are welcome to ask for constructive criticism for any of your photos, but please do not offer it unless asked. This is a safe space just for sharing. However, discussing techniques or shooting experiences is highly encouraged. Ideally photos posted each month will also be shot during that month (ie, new photos), however, this is not a hard and fast rule as I know we have people with varying schedules and in different parts of the world, which may preclude certain themes throughout the year. Please feel free to include archived photos if you cannot manage to take a new photo throughout the month.

Please note the following:
  • All work must be your own
  • All photos must be Safe For Work
  • Exif data is appreciated, but not required (please include if you are asking for CC)

Our first month will be black and white.
 

mollyc

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I primarly shoot color images, but at the beginning of the year I decided that I wanted to focus a bit more on black and white. To at least have one or two each month. I will start off the image share with some taken in February and March, but will come back with new images in the next few days. I have a roll of bw film that will hopefully get developed this month.

I would love to know what tips you guys have for conversions or shooting. Obviously finding a high contrast subject is the big key to start with. I usually use commercial presets when I am converting because I'm not personally good with tones as I see color a lot more clearly.

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Citysnaps

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Love your B&W photos! I also love making them as well - most of mine are B&W and contrasty.

Question: How ideal is "Ideally photos posted each month will also be shot during that month (ie, new photos)...?

Due to the pandemic and playing it super safe, and that I mostly make photos of people, sadly I have not made any B&W photos that would meet that criteria. Thanks!
 

mollyc

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Love your B&W photos! I also love making them as well - most of mine are B&W and contrasty.

Question: How ideal is "Ideally photos posted each month will also be shot during that month (ie, new photos)...?

Due to the pandemic and playing it super safe, and that I mostly make photos of people, sadly I have not made any B&W photos that would meet that criteria. Thanks!
if you aren't making new content, feel free to share old photos. The goal is to get everything thinking about new stuff, but of course the pandemic is a big factor for shooting new content.

Safety is the number one priority, so please still participate with archive photos if the topic is relevant to you. ❤️
 

Citysnaps

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Thanks Molly! Here are a few of my B&W pix.

I like making photos that hopefully evoke a bit of mystery, ideally posing questions rather than providing answers. The goal is to try and stir a viewer’s imagination and conjure a narrative. It doesn’t matter what that narrative is. Letting a few details and information drop into shadows, or kept out of the frame, helps. I see that in your strong set of photos, Molly. They also have a nice consistent look and feel as a set - something mine don’t have being made over a period of time.

My editing/processing is all done in Lightroom, with pretty much the same routine for each photo. Crop, exposure, black levels, contrast, texture, clarity. And color temperature, which helps highlight/de-highlight certain elements in the frame. Ditto with the B&W Mix color sliders. Viewers tend to first gravitate to the brightest element in the frame. If I want that to be a face, I’ll move the color temperature slider towards red - as all faces have some amount of red in them. If there’s a distracting blue car that appears too bright in an image, I’ll knock that down with the Blue B&W Color Mix slider. Though not as precise, that's often *much* easier than masking and adjusting Exposure/Shadows/Whites/Blacks sliders.

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r.harris1

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This is an excellent monthly theme! Seeing in black and white - seeing in tones - is something that I'm working on this year. This is an older one from late last year - I think I was using a red filter and a uv/ir cut, but I actually forget. Work-life balance has been anything but of late but hopefully will get out for more as the weather improves here in Colorado.

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DT

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Wow, some amazing posts already in this thread.

B&W is so interesting, obviously anyone can easily filter an image (with today's devices/apps), but there's certain content that's really visually amplified by B&W. I love some of the photos above that have more depth, and are more emotive without color.

@r.harris1 Is that Lakeside amusement park off in the distance?
 

DT

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:)Why yes it is! My stomping grounds…

Nice! We've never been, but we're huge coaster enthusiasts. We're headed up to Hershey PA this summer, never been there either, looks like they have some really fun rides :)
 

r.harris1

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Nice! We've never been, but we're huge coaster enthusiasts. We're headed up to Hershey PA this summer, never been there either, looks like they have some really fun rides :)
It’s a fun rollercoaster. I think it’s the last one open that was designed by the excellent Edward Vettel. Opened in 1940, I believe. I hope they can open this year. They’re family run and had a tough go of it during the pandemic.
 

mollyc

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oh so excited you all like this theme! I thought it would be a good opener and fairly easy for most people to participate.
 

r.harris1

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CF000418 2.jpg

Except for a few short months every year, Colorado is various shades of brown on the Front Range. The clouds and light though offer a lot of opportunities to chase tones. It was a fairly cloudy morning with a bit of light hitting the foothills off in the distance. There was no filter on the lens, so it's not blocking UV or IR in this case though I doubt there was much of a role here. Prairie is also a challenge. It's flat and everything is off in the distance, which is why I love it, but on this occasion there weren't a lot of opportunities for a foreground subject - not even a convenient yucca plant. This is from the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge. They used to make triggers for nuclear weapons.
 

DT

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This is a store / attraction in the downtown area of St. Augustine, the "Old City", over one bridge for us :) We took this for a project the little G was working on , and given the ol' timey nature of the content, I always thought it worked really well in in black and white. It was a rainy day, so the sky had a really blown out contrast, I think it nicely amplifies the building - no edits other than a slight crop/rotation and dialing the color down to B&W in the Photos app.



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mollyc

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Okay, I took these this afternoon. I admit that I sometimes put my camera in monochrome mode/style while shooting to help see better in bw, although I end up using a different preset in LR for editing.

1.
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2.
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3.
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4.
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I don't really like two much, mostly because it's a white flower with a tiny yellow ring aroud the stamens (forget me nots) but the yellow gets lost. I also kind of feel like even four is kind of flat, but I didn't want to increase the exposure any. I do really like one and three (I am going to have an alternate to three in the POTD thread).
 

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Okay, I took these this afternoon. I admit that I sometimes put my camera in monochrome mode/style while shooting to help see better in bw, although I end up using a different preset in LR for editing.

I was going to ask the group if people were shooting in B&W (using that as the preview), or starting in color (and editing).

I meant to mention above (since my automator workflow resizes and removes all the EXIF meta-data) that was shot on an iPhone 13 Pro Max.
 

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I shoot B&W a couple of different ways. One of my cameras has an achromatic sensor (no Bayer color filter array or UV/IR cut filter). It only records B&W. The above are from that camera. I also shoot with standard color cameras and convert later.
 

Citysnaps

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I was going to ask the group if people were shooting in B&W (using that as the preview), or starting in color (and editing).

I meant to mention above (since my automator workflow resizes and removes all the EXIF meta-data) that was shot on an iPhone 13 Pro Max.

I've never had a monochrome (or a monochrome option) digital camera. Though I'd be interested in trying that out.

OTOH, I think I'd still like to have the option for shooting in color since what I shoot is not that predictable and varies quite a bit when I'm out and about. Even when I know I ultimately want a photo to be processed to B&W, I like being able to mess with the color mix and temperature pre-B&W conversion in Lightroom - something I do in every photo I make and process, such as in the one below. Giving that ability up would be really tough. :)

Street-139.jpg
 

r.harris1

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I've never had a monochrome (or a monochrome option) digital camera. Though I'd be interested in trying that out.

OTOH, I think I'd still like to have the option for shooting in color since what I shoot is not that predictable and varies quite a bit when I'm out and about. Even when I know I ultimately want a photo to be processed to B&W, I like being able to mess with the color mix and temperature pre-B&W conversion in Lightroom - something I do in every photo I make and process, such as in the one below. Giving that ability up would be really tough. :)

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It can definitely be challenging. The color sliders in Capture One / LR / etc are great. With this camera, if I want to use red/green/yellow filters (or whatever), I have to physically put one or more on and that means I have to carry them around with me. One interesting benefit of an achromatic sensor is there's no demosaic process needed - the tones are recorded as seen, essentially. So it's possible to get additional detail if one wishes. One of the (many) things I want to get better at this year is training my eye in B&W. We shall see :) .
 

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Here's a different scene from Sunday's trip to Rocky Flats. While I didn't use any filters on my lens for the shots in this short series, if I get time this month for this theme, I'm going to show the effects of using red, yellow, orange filters and one that just allows IR through.

A bit of a crop on the foreground grass, 40mm (~24mm ish) , ISO 200, 1/1600, f8.

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Citysnaps

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I was in heaven when I discovered the Clarity slider in Lightroom years ago. It was a great way to make images, especially B&W pix, appear more punchy - which was fine for some kinds of street photos I like to make.

But then I discovered the realm of negative Clarity, and liked going there even more. I like the softness it introduces, making some scenes feel a bit ethereal or uncertain, hiding some information and details.
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