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Discussion in 'Black and White' started by Ray Sachs, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    After living with my shots from our Europe trip for quite a while, I'm going through the typical process of getting a bit tired of some of the shots that I initially liked and also starting to see some value in some of the shots I'd initially rejected.

    One of the things that's become clear is that Barcelona and Marseilles were my favorite of the cities we visited on the cruise portion of our trip (not counting some of the little seaside towns, which were really lovely). Because I was too jetlagged and exhausted to really appreciate Barcelona this trip (I spent about a week there 30 years ago), and because I took very few photographs there, this is about Marseille.

    Florence and Rome and Venice are such overwhelming tourist destinations that its very easy to forget that you're in a real, honest to goodness functioning city because you're so overwhelmed by the huge throngs of other tourists. You can walk the backstreets and get away from the throngs to some extent in those places, but the the main parts of the city are pretty over-run and that colors the whole experience (not that I can complain, being part of the problem). Not so in Marseilles - its a real functioning, bustling city, built on a very human scale, with an actual pulse of its own. The relatively few tourists blend in pretty well and the infrastructure has not been totally given over to making it easier for tourists to spend money there. It feels very real and I felt lucky to be able to just mostly blend in and observe, rather than becoming the story myself, along with all of my fellow tourists.

    I shot a lot in Marseilles and I'm enjoying these shots more and more, as some of the others fade from view. Some are people, some are places and things - all are pretty much micro scale - no big sweeping views. None of the images are individual standouts (my best people shots don't even begin to approach the level of art that a few of you seem to manage somewhat regularly!), but taken together they give me a good feel for a place I really liked and would love to get back to someday. As usual, one of my favorites is quite out of focus and it doesn't work at all in this case, but I included it anyway. There are other pictures from Marseille that were in my original set from Europe and I don't repeat those here, even though some of them were probably better photographs. This could go in the travel area, but since they're all in B&W, I'm putting them up here.

    Thanks much for your indulgence.















    • Like Like x 9
  2. I LOVE that third shot. THere is surreal effect on soe of your B&W shots. Keep on shooting.


    Hera Bell

    My Photo Ramblings
  3. kiynook

    kiynook Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 16, 2010
    As a person who has not been to Marseilles, I love the first and last shot plus I wouldn't want it in color. Thanks for sharing....it is such a beautiful city.
  4. silverbullet

    silverbullet Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 10, 2010
    Excellent work, Ray!
    Yes, Marseille is a melting pot for so many centuries. A place where it's a must to make photographs. Your views are phantastic and the b/w complements your other work in color.

    My last visit was around 1975 when my plywood daggerboard of my Windsurfer got water and the plies began to grow....
    The only shop which had spare parts was located in the Vieux Port (Old harbour), it was a night mare to find it as GPS was not invented.....

    The smaller sister of Marseille is Toulon which was at that time my destination for sailing Hobie14 and Windsurfer a bit outside in Le Pradet.

    For me, France is THAT place to spend holidays.....
  5. tomrock

    tomrock Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 21, 2010
    Indianapolis, IN
    These all have a really great look to them. Congrats.
  6. jeffnesh

    jeffnesh Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 29, 2010

    Great shots, Ray, and beautiful processing!! Would you be willing to share some your black & white processing method?

    Great work,
  7. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    Thanks Jeff. I get a fair number of compliments on my B&W processing, but I frankly almost feel like I'm cheating, its so easy. I do everything in Aperture 3. Shortly after getting the program a few months ago, I found a bunch of B&W film presets that I imported into the program. They basically simulate particular types of old B&W film on particular settings. Like "Ilford Delta 400 ISO" or "Kodak Tri-X 400 ISO Pushed 2" or "Diane Arbus High Contrast" or "Kodak HIE IR Film" and even "Kodak HIE IR Film Handled Badly"! I think I paid $6 for one set of them and found the others for free. I probably have about 40 or so, which is overkill - I generally end up using one of about 10 that I choose from most of the time. So, when I want to convert a shot, I start applying these presets to it and generally one or two will really catch my eye as being most appropriate for that particular image. It usually takes about a minute to narrow it down to one or two and then I'll save a version using each of the presets I think work best, which is often just one and occasionally two. And then I'll tweak a few settings, usually highlights, shadows, high contrast, mid contrast, sometimes the color filter sliders. I very rarely spend more than 5 minutes on a photograph, usually much less.

    So, its very easy. It comes down to instinct in terms of what looks best rather than any particular technical tricks or knowledge. After spending too much of my misspent youth in dark rooms working on exposures that were pretty close to finished product by the time you started the printing process, with only minor tweaks available to you at that point, having all of these 'after the fact' adjustments and even film types available to play with on any raw exposure just feels too easy. But jeez, its FUN! I feel like a kid in a candy shop.

    If interested, there are a whole lot more B&W shots (as well as a few color) in a photo book I just put together for my own entertainment - I mentioned it and provide a link here:


  8. akulya

    akulya Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 21, 2010
    That is a fantastic photo book Ray. Your choice of B&W processing is a resounding success; I've been to a few of the places on your trip (Barca, Nice, Monaco, Rome) and seeing your pictures in black and white inspires me to remember the colours in my own experiences more vividly than if they were recreated.

  9. grebeman

    grebeman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Some of those shots really convey a sense of heat under that Mediterranean sun, although my particular favourite is perhaps a cooler corner, namely those steps, good work.

  10. jeffnesh

    jeffnesh Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 29, 2010
    Thanks for the info, Ray. No 'cheating' in using the right tools with skill! All the images in this set as well as the book have such a wonderful classic feel. Inspiring!

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