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One More first Friday in July Image – and on Seeing in B&W

Jul 13, 2019

Another image from First Friday in July. This is the drum-circle, facing up Washing ton Street. This time April Monique, a local belly dancer, did her bit to liven things up. I would have loved to have Cliff Giles, the leader of the circle, in the scene, but he had to just drop off the drums and leave this time due to the killer heat. I find a lot to see here, expecially when viewed much larger.

I'm setting up for a long overdue print session as soon as a couple of people get back to me with their orders – getting way behind on some of the Havre de Grace Street images for the Freebie-Box at RiverView.

This image and the one from the last posting are being added to the 2019 Street Events PDF on the Havre de Grace Street page. The sheer volume of images forced me to change how I did these, and I wasn't at all sure about how it would work out. Surprisingly, I'm actually getting more traffic there this way than before. Go figure.

B&W Photography Notes

     I'm not sure where all this will go, with a number 2, etc., but I recently found myself, again, having to address how B&W photography differs from color photography. So I thought I'd take a few postings to run off a note or two on the subject. If it goes anywhere, I’ll join them into a long, probably unreadable, diatribe (Nan’s word).

1– The exposure – see through the noise…

I occasionally get feedback and/or questions about working in B&W. But they always seem to come from a perspective of how should a photographe turn one of their exposures into a good B&W – as I see it, sort of a subset of color. It doesn't help that this is how most of today's software is set up to work – after all, the original exposure has the color still in it.

Sure, B&W as a subset of color can produce good images – so can setting the camera on automatic and closing one's eyes. But B&W photography is its own art form – which is why I always refer to myself as a B&W Photographer, not a photographer. Photography can be an art, but usually isn't, color rarely. One can be a great photographer and nothing of an artist – one can even be a B&W photography artist and not be a very good photographer (or artist for that matter).

Contrary to a lot of expectations, the difference begins with the exposure. Perhaps shooting "for" B&W is easier for me than some. Years of shooting B&W film, while viewing, framing and deciding on settings – in full color – knowing that my results would always be full grayscale. It's hardly any different with digital. I view, compose, make my exposure decisions in full color – but still never losing touch with the "reality" that my end result will be B&W. In fact, my focus, from the beginning, is on something beyond just the image, the physical print – even when it probably won't happen.

Yes, this does make for some differences in what one shoots, and even more in how one shoots it. To a B&W photographer, color is noise, something that has to be seen through or beyond, dismissed. This in spite of the fact that there is a real advantage of having color in the RAW file where one can control how each color range is conveted to grayscale. Digital photography giveth in gaining this power and taketh away in that now it can take training and discipline to "shoot for B&W". Seeing through this noise leaves one free to concentrate on all of the factors that contribute to the making of a good image, whether it be a painting, charcoal drawing, watercolor or photograph. Right there in the initial exposure, so much can be visualized once the brain learns to tune out colors.