Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The camera has had a couple of days off...

...mainly because I haven't found a thing I wanted to shoot. It happens. And I don't like it.

That said, one of my interests, black & white photography, has been enjoying a bit of a revival in my head. It has always been there; that's where I started, after all. Add to that my recent thoughts about Will Connell -- which led to my godfather C.K. and my father, all of whom could do wonders with a roll of Kodak Panatomic-X.*  Stir in seeing photos from a dear friend who is a true artist with a camera and can produce compelling B&W images, and I've been moved to start idly riffling through old images to see which would respond well to having their color bleached out (digitally).

Here's one. I liked it when I shot it in color, as the light was grayed and softened enough by overcast skies to have a nice "feel," but I like it better the way I would have shot it on film.** If I had been shooting film that day.

I'm amazed by the change. As taken, the photo was a bit soft and dreamlike, probably due to the pastel effect on the surrounding greenery and the remains of beige paint on the truck. Now, it has a harder edge, and my eye is drawn more to the destructive effects time, missing parts, and rust have had on the poor old Ford.

Yes, this is more to my liking. Fun to do, as well.

* Yet another archaic reference. Panatomic-X was Kodak's best film ever, as far as I'm concerned. It had a slow ASA/ISO rating, which meant using a tripod/flash in anything but broad daylight, but when properly processed, gave brilliant results. It also had exceedingly fine grain, so enlargements were never a problem. I think they stopped making it many years ago. Creeps.

** Or for that matter, if I had known how to mess with color saturation, hue, contrast and brightness on the computer when I took the original.


Doug said...

Once in a while I'll pick a photo that I think will look good in B&W and convert it (irfanview), but I won't convert any photo with bold colors unless there are strong lines to grab one's eye.

The old Ford is an excellent choice, Scribbs.

MrScribbler said...

Not sure about the "bold colors," Doug. I'm still playing with that, and am not sure of the end result.

They should come out as bold blacks and grays....

Doug said...

Road or building signs, bright colors that seem out of place, like a bright blue box against a stone wall, stuff like that.

I convert most portraits to B&W, though. The pastier the skin color, the more likely I'll convert it :-)

aka mag said...

"They should come out as bold blacks and grays...."

Would it be so!

They have this inconsiderate way of turning all to similar grays.

'Crayon' red looks darn close to 'crayon' green when converted to the gray of b&w.

Take the photo in b&w in your mind. Look to include the darkest darks to bright light with as many variants of possible grays in between. think intensity range.

Then when digitally altering your color image, be sure you lose no details in the blacks, and none in the whites.

And don't forget to use color modification as an influence in your b&w conversion.

Dorrie said...

yes, there are some photos, like the one you chose, that really ARE better in B&W. My ex was also a big fan and even had his own dark room, only for B&W.

aka mag said...

Oh, and I should have added that your truck photo does it all without exception.

Very nice, Scribbs.