Studies in Black and White

After three shows in 24 hours, I was able to get away from the office early this afternoon, and I got the boat off the rack and spend some time on the river.  As is my wont, I shot several dozen pictures. 

My two projects have turned out well.  I had no water in the bilge after a couple of hours on the water, and I turned on and tested both the live well and deck wash.  It all worked just like you’d want it to.  And, the stereo I installed last weekend worked really well with the MP3 player.  I really enjoyed having some tunes on the boat.

I converted a few of the pictures to black and white.  The shift can turn some pretty ordinary photos into something much more dramatic.  For example:

Bridge Grid This is the drawbridge span of Sisters Creek bridge.  Obviously shot as I came underneath the bridge.  I love the way the light plays on the cross bracing, which didn’t really show up in the color photo.  This kind of shot, in my opinion, really lends itself to a black and white treatment.  There aren’t a lot of different colors, but the sunlight coming through the grating makes for really nice contrast.  Click on the picture to see it big on Flickr.

Covered Dock

Here, the black and white treatment gives the impression of age.  I immediately thought of how this shot would render in black and white as soon as I saw the dock.  Taking the color from the picture, with nothing modern apparent, gives this picture the appearance of being from a history book of old Florida.  You’d never think it was shot with a 21st century digital camera.  Well, you might, but work with me here.  It’s sharper in it’s larger size, but even the somewhat soft focus here adds to the appearance of age.  I like it.

Driftwood BWFinally, this really interesting piece of driftwood.  Driftwood and stumps also make for interesting shots in black and white.  In the bright sunlight this afternoon, the shadows against the bleached wood again make for nice contrast that makes black and white photography so challenging.  The art is in making the eye see color where there are only shades of gray.  I used to shoot a lot of Tri-X pushed to 1200 ASA, which always got really grainy.  On this camera, out in sunlight today, I need to remember to adjust the “film speed” setting in this kind of sunlight.  I had it set on auto, and I could have gotten more vivid colors, I think, by adjusting the ASA.  But, when you’re trying to drive the boat and take picture as well, auto focus, auto shutter speed, auto f-stop … really are a blessing.

I hope to be out again tomorrow, and I’ll bring back more photos if I am.



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