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Two Plant Studies In Black And White Straight From The Camera Technique

I enjoy shooting in black and white sometimes.  In a way it is returning to my earliest studies in photography while learning to take pictures for a school newspaper.  I later worked in graphic arts and studied printmaking which further reinforced my love for monochrome images.  Since digital cameras have viewfinders, and immediate reviewing, I always switch the camera to black and white to take advantage of composing the shot in real time. Then I use the immediate feedback from the resulting image to decide if adjustments are desired.  When the image comes out of the camera it’s finished.

Here are two images of one subject straight from the camera. There were no adjustments, no cropping, no editing, etc…

Plant Study In Black and White #2

I've done what I did here a few times when the sun is low in the late afternoon.  The low sun strikes my subject with raking light. I position the camera to catch the background in shade. And finally I lower the exposure until the background drops off into darkness. The angle of the sun gives strong lights and darks like a single light source in the studio would.

Plant Study In Black and White #3

I sometimes get images I really like this way.

  1. Wow, this is separate from the post. The post is still there but there is something glitchy or something I don’t understand about the “Gallery” style post. I am never using it again! I had a whole slug of posts that went bonkers – I don’t think that I will get many of them fixed. I’ll start over using “Story” or something.
    I need to go catch up on everyone’s posts that I have missed. ((I’m no longer in Norcal, but the weather here is “smokey” so I feel at home I guess. So many places around the globe have had this “smokey” weather during the recent summers ….
    Cheers Kim, I’m off to browse …

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  1. This is really intriguing, Howard. Like many others, I suspect, I tend to do most of my fine-tuning at the post-processing stage. But the results here speak for themselves. You’ve inspired me to try harder and the shooting stage. Thank you for that 🙂

    • Thanks Norman … I often use low exposures on white flowers that are in the sun this way with shade behind. It started with Oleander and I kept lowering the exposure to show the interior of the flowers and the shade got so dark. I’ll throw one of these up in the flower group. I probably posted them before but it was perhaps a year ago. Apple and cherry blossoms are good subjects.
      Meanwhile I am slipping down a slope of post production. Some of my photos are heavily retouched, enhanced, rearranged, etc…

    • I think I wrote about my background a bit before. It is a bit complicated but I just went around doing different art things for a few decades. I was printmaking and sculpture major who became a glassblower and, later worked lighting exhibitions at museums. There was a lot of community theatre, visual art, ….
      I could see that lower exposures would work great in your garden at certain moments. White flowers in full sun almost beg for it. (When doing close ups of flowers you can even make a background with a dark cardboard for bokeh.)
      Cheers, I need to go catch up on everyone’s posts that I’ve been missing. The weather here is “smokey” so it’s a good day to be inside.

    • Thanks and it’s nice to be back in touch I’m looking forward to seeing the work you’ve posted during my absence. I don’t always stay connected to the internet – I’m old enough to remember not having these things at all.

    • I have really enjoyed seeing your pictures and think you take them well. Cordial, honest, and documentary photos are good photos. Seeing a glimpse of something I might never see but that I knew was real at the moment the shutter opened was the attraction I had with photos before I got my first camera as a child.

      • First, off Howard, thank you. Your kindness made me smile this morning. I think you should expand your comment above and post it as a blog. What you’ve said is rather brilliant!

        i would love to hear about a young Howard, thumbing through pictures!

  2. I prefer images in black and white, so much more dramatic than color. I never relied on a darkroom or photo shop to adjust any image. All done through the camera. Sometimes I would use a filter (ie red) to make a sky stand out more. Nice images

    • I agree. I like the expressionistic aspects to black and white. I’m a fan of film noir movies. I also enjoy learning ways to use the camera to get images. I have a running series of abstract photography where my rule is no crops, no edits, no adjustments, etc…
      I do have a $30 software I bought to prepare photos of artwork for newspapers and I have played with it – mostly photobombing funny weird stuff.

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