Alice Springs Photographer Blog

Photo of the day: Saturday 18 July 2009

Vel'ka Studena Dolina, SlovakiaA bit of black and white for your Saturday viewing. While spending time in Slovakia I started to record black and white images in the field and while that might not sound like much it ended up being a very educational experience. I'm a digital kid, I have only ever recorded photos using a digital camera and shooting in color so the whole mysterious realm of black and white was just that a mystery.

After a particularly good sunrise session fully fueled by coffee I just started to play around with the black and white setting in my camera mostly the color filters red, yellow, green, blue and so on because I just wanted to know how they effected the light entering the camera. Of course the filters were all electronic but the effects were still very noticeable on the camera LCD. From this short little experiment it was easy to see that exposure was far different element in creating a black and white photo than with a colour photo.

For a while now I had been following the "expose to the right" concept and aiming for an image that holds the most amount of data rather than looking good on the LCD. This method is all about slightly over exposing the image with the intention of giving the shadows as much light as possible but not blowing out the highlight to a point where data is lost or clipped. With the black and white I found a very different approach to exposure where I was not trying to get everything in one frame but just make a photo that worked straight away in the camera not back in the digital darkroom.

As a result I found my methods of composition very different to what I would have done previously in color and particulary how the tone of the main subject was the absolute priority for the image and not the tone of the image as a whole.