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03-07-2019, 01:36 PM - 1 Like   #1
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Using monochrome to better note contrasts/tones/etc.

I was rambling around youtube looking at what the experts want me to learn and watched a fellow who uses a monochrome setting to set up a photo as he believes it is easier to pick out exposure details that might not be as noticeable with color as it adds complexity. He then works with the raw image in color. (I hope this is clear.) Have any of you tried this or even use it on a regular basis. It may well be a valid technique in particular circumstances (rapidly changing light especially with subjects with uneven surfaces). Opinions?

03-07-2019, 02:12 PM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by gump Quote
I was rambling around youtube looking at what the experts want me to learn and watched a fellow who uses a monochrome setting to set up a photo as he believes it is easier to pick out exposure details that might not be as noticeable with color as it adds complexity
There is some truth in this. Light and colors may confuse us with the components of an image and how those components relate to each other. It is a deliberate effort to pay attention to components in a scene unrelated to colors.
03-07-2019, 06:53 PM - 1 Like   #3
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I think of it as a way to reveal texture or contrast when colors are flat or distracting. Similar concepts expressed a bit differently.
It's interesting to shoot raw+jpeg with Mono setting on the jpeg processing. I find that shooting B&W with an EVF can be especially useful, though most of the time I'm an OVF fan.
03-08-2019, 07:31 AM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by jimr-pdx Quote
It's interesting to shoot raw+jpeg with Mono setting on the jpeg processing. I find that shooting B&W with an EVF can be especially useful, though most of the time I'm an OVF fan.
I do this on a regular basis and I find it useful in two ways. As already pointed out, with color images in mind, it removes the "distraction" of color when tonal range or extreme contrast are at play. I also use it for black and white photography even when I still aim to process the RAW image to get the result I want. I find it is a simple way for me to gauge if my mental way of putting together a black and white image will work or just won't (I'm not that good at "seeing" black and white possibilities with some subject matter).

I say try it out and see what you think.

03-08-2019, 09:50 AM - 3 Likes   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by gump Quote
I was rambling around youtube looking at what the experts want me to learn and watched a fellow who uses a monochrome setting to set up a photo as he believes it is easier to pick out exposure details that might not be as noticeable with color as it adds complexity. He then works with the raw image in color. (I hope this is clear.) Have any of you tried this or even use it on a regular basis. It may well be a valid technique in particular circumstances (rapidly changing light especially with subjects with uneven surfaces). Opinions?
I spent my entire first 3+ decades of photography shooting B&W pretty much exclusively. About the only time I shot colour was when someone was paying me to do it.

What shooting B&W does for you is it removes the pretty colours that can get in the way of determining if your composition is as strong as it could be.
I think this is one of the things we have lost as we transitioned to digital and it's virtual enforcement of the use of colour.

Shooting B&W, and staying with it from the moment the shutter is released until the final image is created forces us to be more aware of composition. I've seen a lot of weakly composed pictures that get by because of the colours (most sunset pictures fall into this category).

Shooting B&W exclusively will turn you into a better photographer very quickly. Unfortunately, most people don't have the patience to do that.
03-08-2019, 03:47 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
. I've seen a lot of weakly composed pictures that get by because of the colours (most sunset pictures fall into this category).


Real good example.



03-17-2019, 11:55 AM   #7
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I too am very much in agreement with Wheatfieldís opinion on B&W. I have not shot anywhere near as much B&W as he has, but I did also start mostly shooting B&W. Color is mostly eye candy to the eye. It can very easily distract from some of the more important photographic compositional elements in the photo. This is part of the reason why it is somewhat difficult for photographers who start in color to transition to B&W. It can also make it more difficult for these photographers to progress beyond these limitations. There is some logic to saying that photographers should start with B&W and then progress to color, but thatís is not going to happen anymore.

Probably everybody here has heard the phrase; the photographer needs to see with the camera sees. In this case, the photographer needs to learn to see in B&W. Part of the problem is that even if we are born colorblind, we canít help but see in color. The other part of the problem is even though B&W is by definition no color; color is extremely important in B&W. What I mean by this last part is color is not in the final photo, but different colors in the real world have different contrast levels. A red and blue color may look sharply different to our eye but could have an identical gray level in the final product. If these two colors are side-by-side, you could end up with just one gray blob.

If youíve ever seen photos of a director or art director from the old silent film days, you may have noticed some things hanging around their neck. One of these items you might recognize was something called the Directorís viewfinder. The Directorís viewfinder was a lens to help the directors frame his possible shots. But the other device you may have mistaken for a monocle. Monocles were a popular quasi-fashion item at the time. But more likely it was a device like this.


Tiffen #1 Black and White Viewing Filter BWVF B&H Photo Video


What you would do is hold this filter up to your eye and close your other eye. You would look at the scene for several seconds; this would allow your brain to adapt and somewhat mute out some of the colors. You would then quickly remove the device from your eye and look at the scene again. This would help you determine if there were items in the scene that would not have enough black and white contrast. For example, you would not want the actress sitting on the couch in her dress and the dress on the couch blend together. So the director could order up changes before the scene was shot and not need to waste miles of film. It could also be used to check out the makeup on the actors to ensure they did not look too ghostly.



http://hair-and-makeup-artist.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Elaine-Shepard-BW.jpg


The makeup artists at the time would apply makeup with highly contrasting colors without regard to how the actors might look if seen in color.

This helps explain why B&W photographers used to use different colored filters to help bring out the contrast between different colored portions of a photo. We donít need to do that now nor is it advised as we have much more control over the process by shooting in RAW and manipulating the colored filters in postprocessing. Wheatfield was probably very good at choosing his colored filters, but it most likely took him more than a few years to develop his eye for this.

Although the colored filter I mentioned above is one tool to help one see contrasting colors in B&W another way was what was mentioned in the opening post to shoot a JPEG in B&W. I donít recommend either of these methods. The use of the filter was mainly a last-minute check that there wasnít a contrast problem before shooting and wasting miles of film. It doesnít help you learn to see in B&W. Shooting a JPEG in B&W can very easily turn into a crutch, and one will never learn to truly see the scene correctly. One needs to follow the process from beginning to end concentrating on each step of the process.

I start by carefully looking at the scene. I then either imagine myself or move around until I found the perspective point I wish to photograph. I deconstruct each of the photographic elements to choose my framing. At this point, I start contemplating color and B&W. If I think that this is going to make a good B&W photo, I then contemplate what the scene might look like if I exaggerate the colors. I do this because that is most likely what Iíll end up doing in postprocessing. So in postprocessing, my 1st step is to process the photo as if I was trying to make a good color photo. My next step is then usually to start boosting the color contrasts all out of whack and then comparing this to what it would look like when I turn it into B&W. I might go back and forth a few times until I have a somewhat good contrasty B&W photo. Iím still not finished with this photo though. I now convert the photo to B&W, but I apply various color filters as I used to when I was shooting with B&W film. The advantage of doing all of this in the computer postprocessing is I can very easily go back and forth learning how one part affects another part. Other than the order is reversed from the way we used to do it in B&W it is very much the same process. I do have some photos that I can point to if anybodyís interested in seeing some of the intermediate steps.


DAZ
03-18-2019, 06:21 AM   #8
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Place holder post so I can remember this thread name and location. Carry on, please.

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