One Year Of Photography by Howard Haby

127/365: Colour, Black And White.

I decided to take a quick run down to the docks and take a few photos today. By the end of about 30 minutes, I’d taken about 50 photos or so. Felt good. But then I looked at them and I just wasn’t happy with the results. This is nothing unusual for me, I’m often not satisfied with the photos I take. In terms of the camera settings and all that stuff, everything was about how it should be. I even had a couple photos that were framed nice. I guess there was something about the day (cloudy-sunny-cloudy-sunny etc.) or the subject that just didn’t look how I wanted it to in my mind’s eye, ya know?

So then I did something I often do when I’m not happy with the photos. I start post processing in Lightroom and just go nuts. I’m not trying to make them look nice at this point, I’m actually doing the opposite in a way. I’m making them super dark or high contrast, going from one extreme to the other, messing with the colour a little, and often I just wipe the colour out altogether. By doing this, I’m really looking at the photo (and relieving a little frustration) and I’m trying to see what’s there, what jumps out at me. The following photos all ended up being black and white. I truly believe that some photos should be black and white. The thing with colour ( and I love colour) is that there is soo much information. Really.

A colour photo contains a huge amount of information for the brain to take in. It’s distracting sometimes because there is a colour hierarchy that our brain is alert to even if we’re not conscious of it. The same thing is true for bright areas and dark areas. Your eyes notice the light areas first. Not always, there are exceptions to this as with everything, but the large majority of the time, this is true.  Next time you look at a photo you like, try to be conscious of where your eyes move. They will move from point A to B to C and then you’ll take in the other stuff. Provided the photographer really knows his stuff (and in no way am I implying I do!) he can practically make you experience the photo the way he wants you to. This can be extremely beneficial in terms of getting the impression intended from the photo.

When a photo is in b&w, it’s like a dimension is removed from it. It takes an object and places it center stage. In a black and white photo, the subject is a lot easier to point out. Just look for this the next time you look at some photos, or at least try to be conscious of it. It can be sort of fun really, like you’re trying to figure out what the point of a picture is, or at least you’re trying to figure out what drew the photographer’s eye enough to point his lens at a certain something.  This is going to sound really, really dorky but I’m going to chance it…..looking at photos this way can be kind of… exhilarating.      *crickets*

Aaaaand I’m moving on. I guess the problem I had with the photos I took was that I didn’t get any feeling from them because it was just a dull sort of day and most of  the colour just bled into one another, leaving flat, boring images that had no right whatsoever making it past the delete button. But when I removed the colour, I thought they were worth showing.

One more thing before I go, Zack Arias of whom I’m a huge fan (not just because he’s a great photographer, but because he seems like an awesome person) is putting off a three day workshop on creativeLIVE. It’s complicated to explain but it’s a great idea that Chase Jarvis (another ridiculously generous and amazing photographer/person) has come up with, or helped or something. So just go here. Essentially it’s worldwide free creative education. Look into it, and I guarantee you’ll be impressed. Anything from photography to film making to painting etc. And it’s free, people!!  For example, if I were to attend Zack’s workshop in person it would cost me a lot!! Heck, I can barely get out of the province for a $1000 where I live. And there is no way my wife would be cool with it, I can tell you that. So this is a no-brainer for a guy like me. And from what I can tell, he’s planning it to be the best workshop he’s ever done. He’s going to cover a lot of material, from business aspects to photography techniques and much more. And the guy has been around the block so. …  Anyway, look into it. If you miss it, you can download it after the fact for about $129 U.S. $129 bucks!!!! you’re thinking? That’s actually a wicked good deal. Anyway, I’ve got my weekend planned because while $129 isn’t that much for the info he’ll share, it’s a hell of a lot more than free.

I guess I’m trying to make up for not writing much the last few entries by writing so much today.

Oh, I particularly like the second photo with the woman and her grandson walking past that big boulder on the dock. Take care!

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2 responses

  1. Casey

    I like the bottom pic the most!

    June 11, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    • Howard

      Thanks Casey, it’s pretty cool, right? I really abused this photo in Lightroom, but it turned out good. The clouds were all noisy but you can’t see it outside of LR. I do like the rocks under the water and stuff though. Thanks again, sis.

      June 12, 2010 at 8:01 pm

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