I haven’t done much black and white photography. But that changed thanks to this month’s photo blogging challenge. I switched my digital camera to monotone mode; that camera processes the jpg files in black and white while leaving me with full colour RAW files for blogging, tweeting, etc. The other result from changing the picture mode to monotone is that everything seen through the EVF and on the LCD screen is in black and white. That really helped me focus on shape, form, lines, patterns, textures and other sources of tonal contrast – elements of composition that become particularly important when colour isn’t part of the equation. The biggest thing I learned by doing this is that viewing a composition in black and white makes for stronger compositions; I think I’ll use this mode on a semi-regular basis.
1. Black and white film – I haven’t done much film photography, so this month’s theme prompted me to shoot two rolls of black and white film in two different cameras. The logistics of getting the film developed and scanned turned out to be way more complicated than I anticipated; I had to send one roll all the way to Toronto! I’ll share more details about my adventures in film photography in a couple of blog posts early next month. This is one of my favourite film photos, taken with the Olympus Trip 35 camera that Mr. GeoK bought in 1970 while visiting Japan on a childhood family trip. With low cloud obscuring the surrounding mountains and a gentle wind kicking up parallel lines of wavelets, this wide spot on the Bow River near Canmore took on the appearance of a mountain lake.
2. Mountain panorama – Even though we didn’t summit Mount Niles, at a couple of spots on the hike from Sherbrooke Lake to Niles Col it seemed like we were on top of the world, including this moment when K came over a rise on the shoulder of Mount Niles. Lightroom version 6 makes stitching panoramas almost painless; this one is based on six separate photographs and looks down the valley between Mount Niles (on the left) and Mount Ogden (on the right), carved out glaciers and Sherbrooke Creek.
3. Cool, clear water – Thanks to all the rain we had last month, the water in Three Sisters Creek was cloudy early this month. But it was absolutely clear one day later in the month, so we spent an hour or two photographing some of the many waterfalls and cascades along the creek. This little twin cascade, where water tumbles over a log (as well as boulders), is one of my favourites.
4. Canmore squirrel – Black and white is a great way to compensate for otherwise blown highlights and clipped shadows. I almost didn’t take this shot because the squirrel was so badly backlit, but it sat there for so long, ignoring me in favour of a tasty pine cone, that I finally decided it was worth a try. I had to move the highlights slider pretty far to the left but that seems to work better in black and white than it does on colour images.
5. Mount Stanley – We took some friends hiking to Stanley Glacier in Kootenay National Park and I was so busy chatting that I didn’t take many photographs. And I’m not very happy with the ones I did take. I guess that means I was immersed in the experience rather than preoccupied with photographing the hike so I’ve got my priorities straight! From this spot on down was the most challenging part of the trail with lots of loose rock and plenty of switchbacks.
Please click on through to A ‘lil Hoohaa for the link-up to all the rest of the black-and-white participants. I treat this photo blogging challenge as a month-long photo assignment, which makes it pretty low stress. New participants are welcome to join the photo blogging challenge any time. Will you join us? The next theme will be announced here on the 1st of the month.