Tuesday, August 4, 2015

100 Days of Black and White Photos: Day 3

A view of the sunset from my window. I have to say before moving out here, I don't think I saw the sky much. To clarify, in NYC, the roads are narrow (with the exception of main roads and highways) and the building are tall. If you are in Manhattan you probably get to see 10% of the sky when looking up. The rest is all buildings and scaffolding. NYC is also fairly flat so you get to see a lot of vanishing points. Out here, the city is very hilly. If there was a word that meant bigger than a hill but not a mountain, I would use it here, because these don't feel like hills.

Anyway, If there are hills everywhere, then each house on each street has a good view of the sky. There are also less tall buildings, with the exception of the downtown area. When you get further away from the main part of the city, buildings aren't built taller than maybe 4 stories. Some get away with 5 stories if they are built into a hill. So I've seen beautiful cloud formations and sunsets many times since I've moved out here.

Why are you taking photos in b&w and not just converting them later?

I actually researched this before starting my project. While in normal circumstances the better thing to do would be to take regular color photos (in RAW if available) and then use a photo editing program to edit the photos into b&w. This way, you are not losing any information and can tweak the photos to look better. The reason this doesn't work for my project, is that I am trying to learn more about light and composition while composing the shot. It is easier to focus on light, contrast and composition when you are not worrying about colors. Also I may take a photo that looks great in color, but when I convert it to b&w, it is flat or doesn't have enough contrast to make for a good b&w photo.

A tip I learned from "The Art of Silliness" book by Carla Sonheim, is that squinting will help you see the lights and darks, which in turn would help with finding out if a scene has a lot of contrast. The tip was for gesture drawing, but it works with b&w photography as well.

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