Westminster Bridge at Night

Westminster Bridge at Night
Taxi pickup on Westminster Bridge, London

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Exploration of Monochrome

I have published a few photographs in monochrome, but I can't say that, so far, I have really got to grips with it.
One of my earliest attempts at creating monochrome from colour.
Not bad (and you can criticise the composition if you wish). Fairly contrasty. I was pleased with it at the time.

Original image  - f/5.6   ---   1/320 sec   ---   ISO 100   ---   70mm

The more I look at (good) monochrome images, the more apparent it is that it is a skill-set all of its own - distinctly different from colour photography.  I'm not talking about the desaturating of colour images - although that has its place too and, if done right, can be equally impressive. And that is all I have done in this area so far.
Yes, this is monochrome.
The image was desaturated of all colour except blacks, greys and whites,
before I added a tint at the end of the process.
Original image - f/5.6   ---   1/250 sec   ---   ISO 320   ---   400mm

I'm talking about actually shooting in monochrome. It's a whole new ball-game; like having to learn to use a camera again. Light, shadow, texture - everything in fact - are all different.

When you consider that I started out, aged about ten-ish with a roll of black-and-white film and a second-hand Brownie, you would think that I would have a handle on it. But actually, I'm finding the prospect quite daunting.

The side lighting, combined with the
monochrome finish brought out every little contour,
many of which were not immediately evident in the
original colour image.
Original image - f/3.2   ---   1/1600 sec   ---   ISO 125   ---   67mm
Just recently I started taking an interest in the work of street photographers and in particular their monochrome images. They seem to have so much more impact and drama when they are presented like that. So I am thinking about my options. I've got a small Canon G16 camera who's image quality is good, but not up to DSLR standard.

Shooting our black dog against a fairly dark background
really shouldn't have worked in monochrome, but somehow
it did and I even indulged in a small amount of vignette.
I think her lovely shiny coat and the natural light were key.
Original image - f/3.2   ---   1/100 sec   ---   ISO 250   ---   47mm

These days, you're taking your life in your hands if you start pointing a big camera around the streets of suburban London, so maybe I'll get out and have a go with that. A few discreet shots here and there should be a good start. I've also got a Panasonic TZ90, which has a much longer zoom and a flip-up screen (useful in the street) but whose picture quality, so far, I have not found to be as good.

So my aim is, eventually, to be able to publish some genuine monochrome images but in the meantime, enjoy these few, originally shot in colour of course, which I have worked on to produce - well - something different from what they originally were.

Another early attempt at dramatizing an image using monochrome.
I remember being fascinated at the way the clouds suddenly appeared in what had been a rather
washed-out sky and how the dereliction of the building was suddenly accentuated.
Original image - f/8   ---   1/320 sec   ---   ISO 100   ---   70mm

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