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Beginner's Guide To B&W Photography
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:32 am    Post subject: Beginner's Guide To B&W Photography Reply with quote

Please share your thoughts, experience here for beginners!


PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh well, hi here. i'll try to give some infos.

Why b&w ? For me it has a more "dramatic" touch than color, and you can by choosing the right film/exposure/developer create very unique images.

What you have to do in order to have good results is to understand what you're doing, not simply release the shutter , its valid for all kind of photo though. So i'll advice manual light measuring for beginning with external cell, as you can forgot all the infos your camera gives you, and go with your imagination. Though light metering with the camera is not a bad thing !

each film for its purposes : external shots in daylight require 100 iso , a general "all round" film for both outside/inside is a 400 iso, then for night photography you would choose a 1600 / 3200 iso film or in some cases "push" the film while developong it. result in higher iso ( 800 + up to 3200 and above ) is a more grainy effect on the picture, while low iso ( 25 -100 ) gives more details.

developing then the film by yourself gives you the opprtunity to add your real touch on the negatives, by doing slower time development that indicated, or longer in order to have more details, but if you pictures are not correctly exposed, its really a pity to see bad negatives ( yes i've made errors ).

its all i can say , hope it helps a bit.


PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aside from all technical aspects, there is a basic thing to understand about B&W, and that is, how colours influence the perception of an image.

When asked why did he made Psycho in B&W, Hitchcock replied that the key scene (the murder in the shower) would have been too shocking for the audience if shown in colour because of the red of the blood.

So we understand one basic thing: colour gives a direct link to the world as we experience it with our eyes. Therefore, it makes things more direct. More punching. If an image is shocking, colour makes it more shocking. If an image is sexy, colour makes it sexier. And so on.

However, a B&W image has not a lesser impact. It just acts differently. It enters your brain more slowly. But it lasts longer. Make an experiment. Try to recover from your memories, some photos that you have seen. Chances are, many of them who surface are B&W. Or at least, in similar proportions to colour photos, in spite of fact that we are exposed to a much higher number of colour photos daily.
This shows the other aspect of colour: it makes things more daily, more ordinary. Seas are blue. We know it. When we see a beautiful sea photo, we may be impressed by how deep or shiny blue. But some days later, that goes. A blue sea is not enough to carve deep into your memory, unless it is associated to something else.

So, natural colours are easily forgotten, because that's how the every day things look like every time we look at them.

The essence of B&W is exactly that of stripping out the colour effect of the image. The "direct", shocking effect, and the "ordinary", already seen effect. Black and white images will impress you less in the moment that you see them, but will stay longer in your memory, if the subject is good. Because a good subject without the "ordinary" effect of colour, is given the status of something special, something that you select out of the continuous flow of reality, to make it stand out of the stream of the ordinary life.


PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just an example of what I mean. Here's a photo I casually picked from Google image search. I don't know who the author is, I guess that searching the flickr link would reveal it:



That is an example of an image whose ordinary everyday colours (the greyish blue of the overcast sky and sea, the dark brown of the poles) have been stripped off, leaving a special image from an ordinary one. Something that 9 people out of 10 will not perceive in real life when looking at the same things in the original location.

What in real life (and in colour photography) is a rather common boat stop place, in B&W becomes something that could be an entrance to an Infernal place, or a door to another dimension.

That is the power of B&W. It digs deeper than what people's eyes commonly see.


PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good points Orio, i also want to add that in b&w the eye is less "distracted" by the colors, as there are only two & variety of grays , therefore it focuses more on the subject. We can say that b&w is an "imaginativ" film Very Happy


PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was told by an old time B&W person who now uses the Kodak B&W C41 film to make sure to use B&W paper with this film when you make prints, otherwise there is a very good chance of purplish overtones to appear.


PostPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2009 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

greg wrote:
I was told by an old time B&W person who now uses the Kodak B&W C41 film to make sure to use B&W paper with this film when you make prints, otherwise there is a very good chance of purplish overtones to appear.


Greg, are you sure this is the correct thread for your reply?


PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Black and white is about shape and tone. Look for strong, interesting shapes.

There are many ways to process black and white, whether you are using a darkroom or a scanner and photoshop (or similar). People always seem to begin by making the lightest tones pure white, the dark areas black and boosting the contrast throughout the image. This does have impact but so does being hit over the head with a blunt object. Try experimenting with softer transitions of tone and with trying to keep detail in both deep shadows and bright highlights, the results may surprise you.


PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

B&W is the archive.
Even today, we like the real thing instead of these fake.
So the B&W is mainly on art.
(We have been using this for at least 160 years,color is so young,about 50 years)

I have no idea about film as using as is. When I ask the retailer one thing named ILFORD DELTA 400, they said the thing is a real stuff. I do not know what they are saying,I pay the money to get one, First of all,I see a black roll,not the transparent one I usually see. When I read the list, I think I have missed something extremely much. How many processing methods are on a typical list? Then I know I may need to ask carefully when I need to process that kind of film.

Second time,I ask about the KODAK BW400CN, that being like computer processing(Removing the Color channels to get the B&W), I haven't use this before since I have read lists to reserve. (ILFORD also has developed this for fast-processing)

Now, I know there is an option to make the real stuff. I know digital era is able to perform very efficient, but the taste, once I have posted some pictures on the forum, you will see the difference.


PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 4:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last comment there from Polar.... I got nothing. No clue. read it twice. still nothing.


PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 4:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last comment there from Polar.... I got nothing. No clue. read it twice. still nothing.


PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jimithing616 wrote:
Last comment there from Polar.... I got nothing. No clue. read it twice. still nothing.


lol read it as well and to me that looks like google translator. I don't get it either.


PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ansel Adams always said it is 10 times harder to make a technically perfect black and white print than a color one. I will have to defer to his experience on this one, because even after 42 years at this, I don't feel that I am worthy of evening cleaning the front elements of his lenses. Black and white takes away the colors we normally see and makes you think more in the abstract. It makes you think more about tones, texture and contrast. Black and white can be so much more expressive than color. Don't get me wrong, I love Paul Simon and his music, but I take real issue with his song "Kodachrome". NOT everything looks better in color than black and white!!!!

The "digital generation" (people who think digital photography is "real" photography) is really missing out on what the true essence of photography is all about if they limit themselves to digital cameras, computers, PS and printers. There is no more exciting thing in all of photography than to watch your print take shape under the light of a safelight! You have not experienced true photography until your hands smell of darkroom chemicals!!! If you have never done real photography, you owe it to yourself to take a basic photography course at a local college or junior college.


PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, this is a beginner's guide to B&W photo in which level, theoretical or practical?

Cheers,

Renato