As many of you know, I like to participate in the Weekly Photo Challenge that the folks at WordPress send out each week. Not too long ago they also began a Weekly Writing Challenge. Unfortunately I cannot commit to participating in this challenge due to the fact that for the time being most of my writing focuses on academic endeavors. But when I saw this week’s challenge, my curiosity was piqued and I had to give it a try.
When I first began shooting photographs, digital cameras were unheard of. Everything was done with film and processed in a dark room. At that time I shot almost exclusively in black and white. A friend who taught at a nearby university gave me a key to a rarely used darkroom in one of the science buildings on campus so I could process and print my photos. I also designated a room in our home as a makeshift darkroom. Both darkrooms were frequently put to use. There were also times when I worked for professional photographers doing all of their darkroom work. My camera was a classic Pentax Spotmatic and I still keep it on my desk, beat up and worn from extensive use over the years. But with the arrival of babies, the cost of film and processing, not to mention the time involved in photography, I put away this hobby/avocation and became a ‘responsible’ adult dealing with ‘grown-up’ issues. Many years later, after the kids were grown and out of the house, my brother loaned me a ‘point and shoot’ Olympus camera, my first digital. Once again the passion was stirred and I have not stopped taking photographs since. I once again own a Pentax, this time a K-7. With the dawning of the digital age, darkrooms were replaced with computers. As much as I love black and white photography however, I never could master B&W on a digital camera. So I take all my photos today in color. Even so, I continue to enjoy this hobby.
With this week’s writing challenge however, I decided it was high time to experiment with my camera to learn how to shoot good black and white photos once again, and write about it! I read the manual (ugh!!!) that came with my camera and began shooting. The following photos are my first serious efforts with digital B&W photography but I am pleased with the results. In fact I may stick with black and white as I hone this skill once again. I miss the dark room, but if I can achieve good results, I may return to black and white photography!
My first shots were taken in our living room.
My granddaughter knows that this is my favorite chair. In fact she calls it “Bubbe’s Chair.” This morning the natural light streaming through the living room window created a nice effect. What do you think?
- Grandaddy’s Lamp
Granddaddy was an artist and carpenter. When he combined his artistry with woodworking the results were beautiful pieces of art with practical uses. He crafted this lamp for me when I was nineteen-years-old. The wonderful thing about black and white photography is that it helps one see design and patterns, the play of light, the elegance of a scene rather than the clutter and mismatched furniture that color photography often reveals.
- The Lattice and Shadows
Next, as I stepped outside, the first thing I noticed was how the lattice railing created a beautifully designed shadow on the wooden floor of our deck. I don’t think that a color shot would do this justice.
- Stone Against Wood
From the deck one steps down onto a cobblestone border that has been untended for years. I actually like the effect of the space and grass between the stones. I also love the contrast between stone and wood. Black and white makes this a far more interesting shot than if it had been taken in color. Do your agree?
This was an interesting shot. I stood at the back of our yard on my tip-toes peering over my neighbor’s fence. All I could see was the lines of the roof tops of neighboring homes . . . and this flower. What a find! I love this photograph. But this is one of those shots that works well in color, too. So I’ve included a color shot. You decide for yourself which one you like better.
Black and white photography also helps the viewer see beauty in what might be considered ‘ugly’ or ‘worn’ in other circumstances. Peeling paint becomes a pallette of beauty when what one sees is texture and scattered patterns. Following are a couple of examples.
Black and white photography can also enhance the graceful lines and nuanced patterns found in flora and fauna as you can see in the following photos.
Finally, as I was returning to the warmth indoors, I couldn’t help but notice the lines of the siding on our home juxtaposed with the lines of siding on our neighbor’s home. Quite interesting.
So this is completely different from the posts you will usually find here. But this subject challenged me to step out of my box and explore the art of photography in a different light. Be assured that I will spend many more hours shooting black and white once again!
Thanks for stopping by. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think of this experiment in trying something completely different!