A Saturday Afternoon in Black and White

Looking cool a priority ©2010 Jason Hindle

Looking cool a priority ©2010 Jason Hindle

Black and white is both a fascination and a challenge to me.  Having recently read that some street photographers believe in doing no post processing on their work, I thought I’d do a bit of a Saturday afternoon experiment on black and white. The results can be found here:

Manchester in Black and White

The experiment was simple enough:

1. Set the camera up for black and white photography.
2. Go out and take a few photos.
3. Limit post processing to straightening and cropping only.
4. Publish.

Beetham Tower in black and white.  ©2010 Jason Hindle

Beetham Tower in black and white. ©2010 Jason Hindle

Now, I have two cameras that are both capable of producing very nice black and white results, straight out out of the camera.  As an early Micro 4/3 adopter I have the Panasonic G1 which has an excellent picture mode called dynamic black and white.  More recently, I have the Olympus E-PL1 which gives the flexibility of monochrome plus a colour filter, just like old fashioned film photography.  For this exercise, I decided on the E-PL1 and made the following settings before I left the house:

– Mode: Aperture Priority, F7.1
– Picture mode: Monochrome + red filter, contrast + 2, sharpness + 2
– ISO 200.

Oooh Errr - A little bit of politics.  ©2010 Jason Hindle

Oooh Errr - A little bit of politics. ©2010 Jason Hindle

Having set this up, I went on my Saturday walk and took a few photos along the way, with a casual attitude of “to hell with the highlights”.  The results?  Well street photography isn’t really my forte but some of the technical results were quite nice.  Even at the maximum sharpness the camera allows, when viewed very large, the photos perhaps lack that little extra crispness I achieve with Aperture’s edge sharpening on top of the camera’s default setting (but it is still plenty sharp for me).  The monochrome red filter setting combined with the camera’s maximum contrast setting gives the output enough contrast, which surprised me.

Would I repeat the exercise? I think I would but next time I’d do it a little differently.  The output from these photos is very clean and next time I might boost the ISO, switch the noise filter to off and see if I can get a bit of grain in the resulting images.

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~ by jasonhindle on May 5, 2010.

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