28 December, 2014

Black and White from Colour

Coffee Shop Window, Bardon, Queensland [click to enlarge]

The image above might look familiar if you visit my blog. I used it in the 10 December post, but want to use it as an example today. (So I used another image for that post and moved this one up. As you've probably noticed, the images don't usually have much to do with the subjects of the respective posts.)

By way of yet another digression, I won't tell you that in the "good ol' days" I carried around a set of filters to accompany my Tri-X. There were times, of course, when I said to myself, "I wish I had a green or yellow (or whatever) filter."

For myself, I have no problem whatever in shooting b&w images with a camera/sensor that captures colour. Because now, instead of limiting the colour that goes into the camera with filters, we can limit the response coming out, in Lightroom. Absolutely, freaking amazing.

In the image above, for example, the post in the center of the fame was a dark green. In Lightroom I selected the colour of the post and decreased the luminance — which is how the scene looked to me when I took the shot. (It was always a dark green post, but it was bright outside and I really didn't notice it.)

I was never wealthy enough to carry two cameras, one with b&w film, and another with colour. Hell, I wasn't wealthy enough to shoot in colour. And, I suppose that I was too lazy to carry around a set of filters. Now I don't miss a beat.

Every photographer has his or her own sensibilities. So, when others say that they find it difficult to photograph black and white with a camera that captures colour, I don't doubt them — I just thank my lucky stars that I'm not one of them.

Of course, all of this carries us to discussions about the abilities of particular cameras to capture black and white in the ways that we want. That, in turn, often leads to the differences between digital and film. Et cetera.

Those are discussion for another day.

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