I went looking… and found it. Brilliant?! I guess I have had it in my catalog long enough that finding was not so hard. We – Jules and I – were in Zanzibar. Name dropping? I got up early to photo the sunrise. An ordinary hibiscus blossom beckoned. Later on I converted it to BxW. Spectacular! How does one change ordinary into spectacular? Well! That’s my opinion and I’m stickin’ with it.

Black and White

Technical: Nikon D90, 1/80 sec, f4.5, focal length 18

Black and white has almost become a lost art among digital photographers. It’s an afterthought many times. The striking thing in this image is the deep rich shadow of the bushes which frame Jeffrey’s head. Shades of gray tend to look washed out. You need some richness to the shadows to make a good BxW. As I’ve said before, I think in color now. It’s another world to be thinking in BxW. It would be a good lesson to pursue. Don’t think of it as a way to salvage an image. Look for those contrasts and shadows. You’re still shooting in color and you get BxW too!




Technical: Nikon D300: 14mm; f2.8; 1/60; ISO 800; +1.7 Exposure Bias.
Image was cropped as view from 14mm super wide, so there was ‘excess’
on the left which was a blown out portion of the banister.

Staircase NY Historical Society. Cousin Amy shot this. What’s striking is the composition. Amy’s done an excellent crop and rendered the image in black and white to emphasize the pattern of the stairs and railing. The eye is led through the photo as the stair winds. Thanks for sending this shot. It’s great.

Kevin’s Clan

Technical: Black and white from the cave man days

Susan found these photos of Kevin’s family. They are old black and whites. I know, ‘cause Kevin’s old now…kidding. What’s with the ‘keep out’ sign? Kevin is really a modern kind of ‘new century’ guy these days. Remember the square BxW’s from Kodak? Brownie? No one smiled much… except mom. Kev looks just like his dad now. He just smiles more. What a difference from BxW to digital!


Technical: Nikon D90 1/60sec, f5.0, ISO 560, focal length 80mm

Black and white is a completely different subject. I will make comments but at the moment I’m not any kind of expert. It’s been years (decades) since my Tri-X and Plus-X darkroom days. The composition is great. Susan has the portrait stuff nailed. The gray scale conversion is soft. This means that the grey tones are washed out. A good and strong image would have had a greater dynamic range with dark black to light gray. Converting to black and white is a process and not just hitting the ‘convert to gray’ button in Photoshop. Anyway in my imagination, the image would be much stronger with a more emphatic tonal scale. But, that’s my opinion. Getting there is another story for which I do not claim expertise. Keep in mind that you usually don’t make a good black and white out of a failed color photo. One generally needs to be thinking in black and white beforehand.

Conversion to monotone

Technical: Canon G11, 1/125/sec, f4, ISO 80, focal length 6.1

Zanzibar at sunrise. After shooting the sunrise, which was spectacular, I shot this image of the hibiscus with full sun now shining. Otto commented this morning. And, Susan asked me how I did this shot. The image as shot in color was just another bright colorful yellow hibiscus blossom. When I sorted my images in Lightroom, it struck me that a conversion to BxW would be interesting. I’m not too savvy on the nuances of BxW conversion. Instead I looked at the Lightroom default conversions and picked the sepia choice. It really does work well here. I also want to mention that the Canon G11 is really a great camera. I had my Nikon D200. But, here I used the macro setting on the Canon. Thanks for your comments.


Technical: Nikon D200, 1/200 sec, f8, ISO 100, 170mm focal length

Otto was kind enough to make a suggestion on my other blog entry today in PhotoBackStory.

“I think it’s fun to see that you are experimenting with a new field of photography. I like your bee-picture and I like the tight crop. If I may come with a suggestion; a way to emphasize the bee a little more is to add contrast and colour saturation locally on the bee, and then take down (make darker) the surroundings. Keep up with the good work!” munchow

Lately, the majority of my post processing is being done in Lightroom. While Amy might spend time getting her images perfect, in Photoshop, I’m more ‘come as you are.’ However, critical comments are always helpful. Otto’s comment hit the target. The image wasn’t quite right…

As long as we’re on the topic, consider cropping as part of post processing. The standard image crop from the camera is either horizontal or vertical but you are not limited. Here I cropped in a panoramic style. Consider a square crop. It’s also a good visual option sometimes.

Green Leaf


Technical: Panasonic DMC 257, 1/80 sec, f3.3, ISO 80, focal length 4.1, no flash, patterned meter

This leaf is well done by composition. There is a point of interest. To explain the rule of thirds imagine the image divided into 1/3’s. At the intersection point of the dividing lines is where the point of interest in the picture would theoretically be. Confused? Take the imaginary point and place the curve of the leaf roughly at each point. The image flows. Still confused? I’ll have other images and posts to perhaps illustrate this better. Continue reading