March 17, 2014

Everything old is new again


lack & white photography captures my fancy. As much as I love brilliant, vibrant color, black & white photography has a special way of communicating that color photography can’t match.

Black & white photography also requires the photographer to look at the scene in a very different way. For me, it has always made me consider shading and light values much more carefully. And that is really what photography is all about. After all, the word photography comes from two Latin words that mean, in essence, writing with light. Reducing a color scene to levels of black and white seems to me to be a pure form of writing with light and I really love working that way.

I took this photo of the dogwood tree in my backyard the summer before last. The flowers had some direct sunlight shining on them, but everything else in the scene was in shadow cast by the upper portion of the tree. The result is a striking contrast between light and dark.

Canon EOS 7D, EF85mm f/1.8 USM lens
85mm fixed focal length
ISO 200, 1/400th @ f/7.1

I took this next picture under one of the piers at Clearwater Beach, Florida. (By the way, it’s the same pier as the one pictured at the top of this blog—at least right now.) I love this beach. It is absolutely beautiful. But even more than the beach’s natural beauty, I love the people there. Every time I have visited this beach I have come away with a wealth of pictures of happy people who are obviously enjoying themselves immensely. There’s just something about Clearwater Beach that seems to lift the spirits.

This couple was actually posing for another photographer. But when the wind began whipping the girl’s hair around, the couple began laughing. I had to quickly raise my camera and grab the picture before the scene changed. I actually took three rapid-fire shots. The two others were worthless because the girl’s hair was covering her face. But this one was perfect.

Canon EOS 7D, EF70-200mm f/2.8 IS USM lens
70mm focal length
ISO 100, 1/60th @ f/9.0

And while we’re on the topic of candid people photography, I also love taking pictures of people on buses. For some reason, people become very animated and expressive on buses. Maybe it’s because the noise level is so high that it makes it hard to hear so being more expressive helps the communication. Whatever the reason, it makes for some fun photographic situations. This girl, in a Disney transport bus, was responding to some playful ribbing by her younger brother. I loved the expression as she tried to ignore him by looking out the window. He wasn’t buying it either.

Canon EOS 7D, EF70-200mm f/2.8 IS USM lens
73mm focal length
ISO 800, 1/60th @ f/8.0

Although this post is about black & white photography, I have to honor St. Patrick’s Day with a little bit of green. So... here is my wife’s necklace to provide the needed color splash.

Canon EOS 7D, EF28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens
56mm focal length
ISO 800, 1/60th @ f/8.0

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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