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Adventures in Monochrome

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by John M Flores, Jan 1, 2012.

  1. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    This time last year I had just entered the M43 world with the GH2, 14-140, and 20 F1.7 lenses. I eagerly went out to shoot only to find a winter world devoid of color. It drove me batty as I had to wait until spring to really see how this new system drew colors.

    This year, dreading the same lack of color, I've decided to spend the winter shooting black and white. M43 is a great platform for this since you can compose in black and white. I've still got the GH2, and now I've pretty much glued a Super Takumar 50mm F1.4 on the front. This shall be the winter of my desaturation. I hope to come out the other side a better photographer for it.

    This lens has been glued to my Panasonic GH2 as I explore in B&W. Being able to compose in B&W is very helpful.

    6617319921_2a2367b682_b.
    A walk in the woods by john m flores, on Flickr

    6617318157_7dc76f11fe_b.
    A walk in the woods. by john m flores, on Flickr

    6617319153_d8cacdfef2_b.
    Abuzz by john m flores, on Flickr

    6617320919_e6f4be42c0_b.
    Looking up by john m flores, on Flickr

    6617322601_556589f4a7_b.
    The future is hazy by john m flores, on Flickr

    6617326529_022daf5198_b.
    Trail by john m flores, on Flickr
     
    • Like Like x 9
  2. Some very nice abstractions. That lens has a great character. I think the first and last are my favourites. The third has a great mystical quality, too.
     
  3. peterbee

    peterbee Mu-43 Veteran

    226
    Nov 2, 2011
    Huddersfield, UK
    Peter Bartlett
    These work well as a set of abstract images - the letterbox crop is original and very effective. I think the last image is the one that stands out for me.
     
  4. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    I really like 1, 4, and 6.

    2 might be more powerful with a different crop.

    3, and 5 just set my teeth on edge.
     
  5. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    I like that you have decided to embrace your winter in B&W. If your are really serious ... lol ... I suggest you jump in with both feet and click B&W in-camera. Now you're locked in.

    But, (the big but), Personally, I think that B&W in a generally B&W environment is easy ... going color in a generally B&W environment is a test of one's mettle. Conversely, B&W in a color environment is tougher because color is often the distinguishing value but in B&W many colors share similar gray values. A green and red pepper, for example, exhibit opposite colors but in B&W these opposites can reflect identical gray values.

    Good Luck and Good Shooting,
    G
     
  6. crsnydertx

    crsnydertx Mu-43 Top Veteran

    995
    Dec 31, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Chuck
    Re color vs. black-and-white/grayscale, I like it that you can have your cake and eat it too if you shoot RAW + JPEG on mu-43 cameras. Something about being able to see the black-and-white in the EVF or on the LCD as you compose and shoot...then knowing that the color information is available if needed for alternative renditions of the image.

    Gary, I suppose that's not a "serious"approach to black-and-white, but if one needs a net while first crossing this tightrope....:smile:
     
  7. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    LOL ... my first knee-jerk reaction was "Hey, that's cheating ..." but seeing everything in B&W (vis-a-vis) a electronic viewfinder is a good idea.

    G
     
  8. zerotiu

    zerotiu Mu-43 Veteran

    222
    Sep 13, 2011
    Indonesia-Singapore
    I like first photo a lot :D. 80% all the time I always shoot using monochrome filter. There is something different about black and white. Boring image can be interesting if it is made to be b&w
     
  9. Herb

    Herb Mu-43 Regular

    33
    Aug 16, 2011
    BW

    You will note that most really good landscape work in Galleries is BW.
    It is more evocative of emotion than color, IMHO.

    You might try converting to IR in photo shop for a different look altogether.
     
  10. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    Question: in order to view in B&W, do you have to set the camera to a B&W jpeg mode? If you do that, and shoot raw, I assume the raw files are still in color, so you can do the B&W conversion in post. Is that correct?
     
  11. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    Thanks for the feedback everyone. I started shooting strong BW JPGs in camera, which makes the EVF BW and the JPGs BW. I've since switched over to strong BW but saved as RAW DNG, which makes the EVF and in-camera review but when I bring the DNGs into Lightroom they are color. Call it cheating if you'd like LOL! I'm just used to PPing the shots myself, and part of the purpose of the exercise is to improve my BW PP conversion skills.

    I hear what you are saying, Gary, about the challenge of shooting the world in color when there's very little color. I may try that at some point, but right now I'm trying to learn to see in BW - to see in EV - because I think it will ultimately help my color shooting. Having the EVF in BW is a bit of cheat in that regard, because it's doing some of the seeing for me. Still, I think that it's helping because I'm thinking about how the shot will look before I bring the BW EVF up to my eye.

    My next step will be to shoot BW with a color EVF or OVF. For that I may actually set the camera for BW JPGs. We'll see.

    Watch this space for more photos. If anyone would like to join in this exercise, feel free to post your own photos too. The more the merrier!
     
  12. crsnydertx

    crsnydertx Mu-43 Top Veteran

    995
    Dec 31, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Chuck
    Depends somewhat on the camera; I had a Canon that would only do black-and-white in JPEG, disabling RAW capture. If your particular model will create a RAW image when you're shooting a black-and-white JPEG, then yes, the RAW will be in color. If there's a RAW image taken, by definition it's going to be in color.
     
  13. crsnydertx

    crsnydertx Mu-43 Top Veteran

    995
    Dec 31, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Chuck
    John, for me it's been difficult to match a black-and-white JPEG by post-processing its RAW companion. This is especially true of the noted Dynamic Black & White I've used on the Panasonic LX3, GF1 and G2.

    One helpful suggestion I was given: download both the RAW and companion JPEG into Lightroom, where they'll appear side-by-side in the catalog. That provides an easier framework for matching the PP of the RAW with the pre-baked JPEG. It's still not easy, but your "go-by" JPEG is sitting right in front of you as you develop your RAW image.
     
  14. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    Hey Chuck, I've gotten pretty close to the in camera Dynamic B&W with my RAW file by using the LR3 BW Creative 2 preset. I looked at the setting and it's pretty simple:

    Temp 4k
    Tint -105
    Exposure +.76
    Recovery +16
    Fill + 25
    Blacks +56
    Saturation +21
    Contrast +20
    Saturation -100

    They also play around with the Tone Curve, setting to Medium Contrast while boosting the ends and dropping the middle.

    Just doing this has been good learning for me. Typically, I control the shadows with the bottom of the Tone Curve; I've never tried punching up the Blacks as much as this preset does. But the effect is nice. Combined with the lifting of the Shadows, it provides some nice "pop".


    Now here are a couple of shots in both BW and color:

    6629733643_1336bc4ac4_b.
    Trail by john m flores, on Flickr

    6629735185_6d2bc4e4b7_b.
    Trail by john m flores, on Flickr

    It's pretty interesting how the trail more or less disappears in the BW.

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    If a plastic bottle falls in the woods and nobody's around to hear it, does it just disappear? by john m flores, on Flickr

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    If a plastic bottle falls in the woods and nobody's around to hear it, does it just disappear? by john m flores, on Flickr



    6617319153_d8cacdfef2_b.
    Abuzz by john m flores, on Flickr

    6629732341_8df6cd74da_b.
    Whisps by john m flores, on Flickr

    Interesting, but helps show me that I've got to work harder!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. I like the last shot of the first batch John. Happy New Year.
     
  16. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    I'm restoring my old Raleigh road bike this winter, hopefully building up my first set of wheels and creating a one-speed/fixed-gear playbike. In recent years the fixie craze has come and gone. I'm a bit late to the parade but that's not why I'm doing it. Back in the day, racers used to train in the early spring with fixed-gear bikes. The smaller gearing helped prevent early-season joint injuries, while the fixed gear encouraged smooth pedaling technique. I've been away from cycling a couple of years, so this will be a new and fun way to get back.

    Step one, is documenting the horrendous state of the old Raleigh...

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    Dia-Compe by john m flores, on Flickr

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    Sugino 42/52 by john m flores, on Flickr

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    Suntour downtube index shifter by john m flores, on Flickr
     
    • Like Like x 1
  17. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    • Like Like x 1