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.
Batulao is one of my favorite mountains. It is readily accessible by public transpo, only a few hours away from Manila, and can be climbed within a day.
Here is Felix in one of the up and down trail of Batulao. To get this shot, I walked a little bit faster than the group while Felix walked normal pace and the rest of the group are behind the peak taking pictures, thus giving the impression of Felix’s solitude in the mountains.
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!
This photo was taken on our day 1 in Coron. After a tiring climb through the stairs of Tapyas Hill, we finally came to its top and there were these two Italians paragliding in the hill (they would would sail around and go down a few meters and climb up again).
What I like about this photo is the simplicity, only the paraglider, hill and sky (with some clouds) can be seen and for me evokes freedom – to do whatever you want to do. Tapyas Hill is not that high (we were tired from climbing as we’re probably out of shape and have not climbed a mountain for quite a long time) but these two guys seem to be having a blast.
Another of the Coron photos – Tiny’s back with the sea and limestone cliffs in the background. This is located in the lagoon where Lake Kayangan is most accessible.
Have not posted in a while. Last weekend, my friends and I went to Coron for a 4-day trip.
Coron was the last landfall that Yolanda made before exiting the country (the very reason why our scheduled trip there was postponed). The people of Coron are slowly rising up and moving on with their everyday lives. The tourists are also starting to come back. On land, the damage to Coron is visible due to uprooted or de-leafed trees and destroyed houses (mostly the nipa hut houses).
On sea, the damage is much much worse. Most of the areas we went snorkeling are tear-inducing. Corals damaged! If you’ve seen the damage to Tacloban city, you’ll have a good idea of the damage on corals. Corals, the houses and food source of most fishes, are cracked, uprooted, felled and broken. To me this is the greater tragedy in Coron (after the loss of some lives). Trees will grow quickly, houses can be rebuilt with the right assistance but corals will take years to grow back. Such a tragedy!
Anyway, as a starter, here are my friends doing their best to spell CORON. More pictures to follow in coming blogposts.
Last Saturday (September 21) was my mother’s birthday. My sister and I went home to the province to celebrate her birthday.
I also got a chance to see one of our dogs and her newborn pup.
Keana is a mongrel dog that is more than 7 years old. This is the first time she had got pregnant and got pups. According to my mother, she had two pups but the second one died since her labor took a long time and the second one was born after the first one and was already dead when born. The remaining pup is a female which my niece named Chichi. Because of lack of competition for milk and attention, Chichi got round so fast that at exactly two weeks, she’s already very round.
Such a sweet dog that attends to her pup’s every whine and still comes out to be scratched on the nape. She’s also doesn’t get bitchy when we lift the cover to her space to look at the pup. Too bad she’s very old that one of her eye is almost taken over by a cataract.
All pics taken with EOS M and Canon EF 50mm f1.4 (such a wonderful lens though slow to focus on the EOS M).
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!