There is a challenge ongoing in facebook to post 5 black and white photos over 5 consecutive days. Basically, you get nominated and post 1 B&W photo per day for 5 consecutive days. I was nominated and though I don’t enjoy these types of facebook challenges, this one cost me nothing and I get to see some works that are buried in my other facebook albums.
Now I like black and white. I believe that without the distraction of color, the quality of light and composition becomes much more important than ever. Also, some high ISO shots where there are color noise looks much better (and cleaner) in black and white. However, I know that not all photos are meant to be black and white. I shoot and process mostly color and convert only to black and white when the image screams to be presented in black and white (great light or great tonal range or too many distracting color). In short, color is my default and black and white photos are somewhat rare and special.
Now I’ve made several black and white photos over the three years I’ve been serious about photography. However, for this challenge, I don’t want to present just a black and white image. It has to be a special B&W image and in the posts, I explained why I think they look better in B&W and the post processing I did to make them that way. Without further ado, here are my five picks for this challenge.
This low-key black and white photo of a beautiful little girl was shot about a year ago in a wedding. I know it wasn’t the first b&w photo I made but maybe the first one I’m satisfied with. I’ve always been amazed by high-contrast and low-key b&w and after use of Lightroom’s graduated filters, contrast and sharpening sliders and several brushes, this is the first one I made that I’m proud of. (Canon 7d+15-85 IS)
Just in time for Halloween, this photo is of a good friend (Elaine) playing the roll of Sadako. Taken at bright afternoon sunlight in Fort Santiago, this is heavily darkened with clarity added to heighten the atmosphere of horror (though she is smiling). (Canon 7d+15-85 IS)
One of my most favorite shot of Batanes. This was taken in Valugan Beach on the main island of Batan. The beach has big boulders and strong waves which makes swimming next to impossible. In the picture is Ellidel taking a picture. After moving several sliders and even messing with brushes and levels in Lightroom, finally got the picture to my liking. (Canon 7d+15-85 IS)
A very simple black and white photo of boatmen and their dog while docked. No fancy post processing, just simple cropping, shadow, highlight, contrast and clarity adjustments. Some pictures are just meant for b&w. (Fuji XE1+18-55)
Another very simple vignette. This one of the cashier/staff of Casa Rap. Instead of a clutter of colors from the cluttered surroundings, it’s just rich grays with some blacks. (Canon EOS M+22mm)
I believe I completely nailed the challenge (except for a gap in daily posting due to my coming home to the province for the November 1 holiday). I enjoyed it so much that I’m thinking of doing additional shares of some more images from my previous albums – pictures buried among tens or hundreds of photos in albums, those that deserve better attention than they got.
Reinier, the groom, was a close friend since college. I first met him on the very first day of college since he is a classmate (our blockhead or head of our section/block). We’ve been friends since and got closer during our later year in college and got closer still during review for CPA board exam (where he got the 2nd highest rating while I got the 12th highest rating). We also went to the same audit firm for our first job and that’s where he met the bride, Bless.
Bless is a graduate from another well-known university and like many of us in our batch in audit, she was also a topnotcher in the CPA board exam that year (November 2003). She and Rein have been friends since and I along with them (though of course they were closer since they belong to the same audit group). I guess nobody expected for them to get together as they are just really good friends then.
About 6 or 7 years ago, they, along with many other auditors, emigrated to UK (London) to work there and that’s where the romance started.
Fast forward to that afternoon on January 5th and they got married in one of the oldest churches in the country. I was part of the wedding entourage (a frist time for me) and didn’t bring my camera to the church.
Due to limited time alloted for each wedding in the church, many of their pictures were taken outside in the streets of the old city of Intramuros. These are just two of my shots (where I just took shots while their official photographers are also taking shots).
Below is a slightly pudgy looking me in a barong (national costume for Filipino men). Barong is made from pineapple fiber (or silk or other fiber and synthetic material). The more formal barongs (from jusi or pineapple fibers) are worn at formal events while those made from cotton or combination are worn everyday at work.
This being a wedding, I got to see again very close friends from college, Lourdes, Maris and Manny, as well as other college acquaintances.
Myself, Maris, Lourdes and Evan (middle).
Rem (maid of honor) and Manny.
Really nice name holder for place settings.
To Reinier and Bless, Congratulations and Best Wishes!
Taken with EOS M with 22mm lens (very sharp lens).
Since I have discovered Lab color space in the excellent blog of Roger Cicala (of Lensrental), I’ve been experimenting with it a lot. The biggest benefit I see with Lab is the separation between luminance (and the related high resolution details) and colors. I can edit and change colors with little effect on artifacts and a change in color doesn’t affect all the colors (blue-yellow and pink-green). I’ve tried doing this with RGB and find that changing colors impacts white balance a lot.
Anyway, here are just some samples. The flowers and strawberry have been edited to unnatural colors but all the rest of the things in the picture can be believable as they are of the natural color (green leaves in pic 2, dried leaves in pic 1 and black table with white sticks in pic 3).
Being stuck at home and not being able to shoot outside has its perks!
Just some flowers with EOS M and EF-M 22mm.
Top one autofocus. Bottom left, manual focus. Bottom right, touch to focus.
I generally don’t like mass produced statues since most of them are not pleasing to look at, mostly due to disproportionate features.
This praying angel’s a nice one and the maroon-brown background frames the angel nicely.
I’ve always loved shooting flowers, and closeups in general. That’s why the first prime lens I bought when I purchased my first DSLR was the Canon 100mm Macro. After a while, the macro lens stayed home most of the time when we travel – it is heavy, big and I find that I can take closeups using the kit lens (not as sharp as the macro but good enough).
The 22mm pancake of the EOS M is very convenient to bring and found out is good enough for close ups. Here’s a pink hibiscus (image is about 80-90% of the original frame). I like the delicate color and the fact that even the small hair on the top of the flowers are rendered sharp enough. And this was manually focused too!
Yesterday was Ellidel’s birthday and today, she treated us to a wonderful but very far restaurant – Casa Rap in San Jose, Batangas. Casa Rap is a play on the words casa, which means house in Spanish, and sarap, which is Tagalog (Filipino) for delicious.
Since I did not expect a lot of photo opportunities, I just brought the EOS M with the 22mm (35mm equivalent) pancake lens. The combo’s small enough to be convenient for bringing and putting in small bags or a largish pocket. The focus of the pancake lens is slowish (but not as slow as the very very slow Pentax K01) but manual focus is good and the good LCD screen makes it easier.
Here is one shot of one of the restaurant’s helper on her table (probably works as a cashier). The light was amazing and makes for a very good black and white. Actual contrast is much higher but I settled for a lower contrast to get better midtones. Looks better on print.