Black and White

Lately I have been very fascinated by black and white photography. I love the minimalistic feel you get from certain black and white images. In recent years several photographers inspired me in black and white photography. People like the famous Ansel Adams, my fellow Dutchman Joel Tijntjelaar and many others. I think the minimalism, contrast and fine art feel you get from a great black and white image really appeals to me. In addition, turning an image to black and white will give a lot more dept to photos that are shot in harsh or flat light. 

The last days overcast skies and rain prevented the sun to create colour filled skies or any beautiful light for that matter. I still had the itch to take photos, so some black and white images were a perfect alternative. Also, I watched a great video by Serge Ramelli on processing black and white images in Lightroom that got me excited. 

This first image was shot Downtown Vancouver. The light was actually okay, there were some breaks in the clouds which created some nice light spots in the sky and some contrast on the city's buildings. With the processing I wanted to put an emphasis on the tall glass tower which contrasts nice against the sky and the stone wall from the Vancouver Art Gallery. I also accentuated the light part in the sky which gives the impression of projecting extra light on the glass building. With some dodging and burning I 'hid' distracting parts of the image and accentuated more interesting parts such as the stone wall and the light pavement in front of the glass building which acts like a leading line to the subject of the image.

With these last 4 images I used a very long exposure to soften the sky, this creates a more minimalistic feel and gives more emphasis on the subject. Contrast is key in a b&w image and the soft sky is a great contrast against the crisp in focus subject of the image. As you can see very clear in the first 3 images I used the rule of thirds, the subjects (bench, train and rocks) are nicely positioned on the third lines of the image. Even though the orca is centred in the frame, the face on the orca is positioned on a imaginable third line. Besides the subject also the horizons are on the third lines. The first two images there was more interest in the sky than the foreground so two-thirds of the sky is showing and in the third image I found more interest in the foreground so two-thirds of the foreground is in the image. 

When shooting in broad daylight the it is very hard to properly expose your image, this was also the case with these images (except the third). The if you meter your exposure for the foreground, your sky will be over exposed and when you meter for the sky your foreground will be under exposed. That is why I took two shots of each image, one exposure for the sky and one for the foreground, later in Photoshop I brushed in the sky or brushed in details in the foreground. Also with the help of my circular polarizer filter I prevented any over exposed highlights and therefore remained much detail.

I'm quite happy with these images and am excited to continue shooting black and white land/cityscapes in the future and improving my techniques.