|Leopard Looking Out - 1DX, 200-400 @ 325mm, f/4, 1/500s, ISO 400|
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Sunday, January 26, 2014
|Geometry in Clouds - D800e, Zeiss 15, f/11, 62s, ISO 100|
I had struggled with what to do with this image. In afterglow the entire sky had a warm reddish hue but that color palette wasn't that interesting to me. Then last night, I came across this image again and since I've been focusing on black & white images these past few weeks, it became obvious that I should convert it; removing color and focusing on the lines and geometry in the clouds instead.
Saturday, January 25, 2014
|Reaching for a Meal - 1DX, 200-400 @ 448mm, f/6.3, 1/125s, ISO 1600|
Monday, January 20, 2014
|Engrossed - Leica MM, 50 Summilux, ~f/1.4, 1/90s, ISO 320|
One of the challenges with working with the Leica M Monochrom is the combination of its fairly flat response combined with the desire to preserve highlights (especially if highlight detail is important to you) as recovering highlights is even harder with this camera than a color digital sensor. This means that 'properly' exposed images can appear a bit flatter straight out of camera.
The above image is what it looked like straight out of camera. The exposure is ideal because highlight detail is preserved even for the brightest tones. In many scenes, I would appreciate the subtle dark tones and may even want to accentuate it but not in this case. I wanted tonal contrast to bring attention to the face and the eyes. Without color information to manipulate the tonal relationships, one turns to just simple dodging and burning to get there.
In general, I find working with Leica M Monochrom files to be different from most other cameras' files. Lightroom's tonal control sliders seem to respond a little differently (especially shadows) and my workflow is a little different.
|Under-exposed Leica MM files at ISO 320|
|Same file as above but with final processing|
Unfortunately my choice of subjects is fairly limited, given my restricted movement. Still, last week I went out to the exotic location of a Home Depot parking lot. The little one was asleep in the back and so I was relegated to remain in the car with her, parked in the shade. Nothing else to do but stare at trees, leaves and pavement, photographs present themselves, even if they aren't going to win any awards.
|Bark and Leaves - Leica MM, 90 APO Summicron, ~f/9.5, 1/80s, ISO 320|
|Sony A7r, 55 FE, f/1.8, 1/60s, ISO 2000|
I'm about 2/3 of the way through my month of monochrome and though I've only made 6 posts so far on this blog, I have been spending time looking at a lot of files and playing with conversions and processing images.
Sunday, January 12, 2014
|Icicles and Branches - 5D3, 24-70 II @ 70mm, f/11, 1/250s, ISO 100|
Saturday, January 11, 2014
|Waves on a Beach - Leica S2, 120mm, f/13, 1/250s, ISO 160|
Sunday, January 05, 2014
|Juvenile Elephant - 1DX, 200-400 @ 376mm, f/6.3, 1/640s, ISO 200|
Saturday, January 04, 2014
|Kumquat Shapes and Textures - Leica MM, 90 Summicron, f/5.6, 1/250s, ISO 640|
The thing I find interesting is that of the ten, color is only one and the rest are independent of color. We were also taught to be careful about the number of visual elements we included in our photography. Too much would increase the cognitive load and so sometimes as a photographer you had to work to remove an element. As a result a lot of photographers convert a color image to black & white as to remove color from the visual load bringing the focus on other elements. Of course it doesn't always have to be color you can reduce the others like say movement (by shooting a faster shutter speed) or dimension (by avoiding layering of planes or perspective) or tone (by processing to push finer tones together).
When I typically make black & white images, I use the color information to bring forth other visual elements (usually dot, tone, shape or line). If I had used a color base image for this one I would have likely used the color (i.e. hue) difference between the orange kumquat and the green leaves to make the little round circular kumquats pop out against the leaves. I would make yellow/greens map to darker tones and orange to lighter tones. But what I saw was a touch of sun light highlighting the edges of the leaves. So with no color information and just a lot of black and white tones I adjusted my post processing so that the shape of leaves were emphasized and the attention brought to their texture (which one sees better when viewing this as a large print). I don't claim this is a better way (or even a good way) to make black & white images. Its different and it is forcing me to break my habit (or perhaps over dependence) on hue to make black & white images.
Friday, January 03, 2014
|Pepper Tree and Leaves - A7r, 55 FE, f/3.2, 1/50s, ISO 1600|