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Thread: color vs. black and white

  1. #51
    nei1
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    Re: color vs. black and white

    The more I think of this and in the context it is being argued I realise that this is solely a digital discussion and in fact about post processing and the massive choices that are to be made.
    A sugestion might be to tone a black and white print various colours and vote on the emotional responseto each.
    Last edited by nei1; 5th February 2009 at 13:03. Reason: to remove anything that might be thought condescending......ooops.

  2. #52
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    Re: color vs. black and white

    Several excellent points have been raised here, the latest being Niel's about much of this being 'digital' question. It is true that digital allows the luxury to actually see the results of changes during PP. This allows one to experiment more. As Ansel said, to paraphrase him, the image the image has become the performance.

  3. #53
    nei1
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    Re: color vs. black and white

    And Lili if I may paraphrase yours, photoshop is the new camera ,any decisions can now be delayed until after the creative process(is that possible?)No its not possible,that leaves photoshop as the creative act.

  4. #54
    nei1
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    Re: color vs. black and white

    Graphy sounds good for the future wayne.

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: color vs. black and white

    Quote Originally Posted by nei1 View Post
    And Lili if I may paraphrase yours, photoshop is the new camera ,any decisions can now be delayed until after the creative process(is that possible?)No its not possible,that leaves photoshop as the creative act.
    Photoshop has been part of the creative process as long as Photoshop has existed, and long before digital cameras were commonplace. Is it really interesting if the colour/b&w question relates to digital photography or not? The choice exists. If there was a camera that would give us the same choice with film, and I believe that would be technically possible, although somewhat impractical, the principle would be the same.

    One of the nice things about digital photography is that we do have the choice. It makes it less critical to make the right decision when taking the photo, but that's not the only thing that is easier using a digital camera. It's just the nature of the beast.

    Many mediocre photographers are able to make their photos shine with the help of Photoshop. Does that make them inferior as artists? I don't know, and in the real world, it doesn't matter. Most people, and now I mean non-photographers, only care about the end result, and not if you made the right choice during a fraction of a second, somewhere out in the jungles of Borneo, with mosquitos biting and a crocodile chewing your right foot while you hide for the head-hunters who prepare for their final, devastating attack.

    The world just isn't the same anymore, but there's still excitement to be found

  6. #56
    Subscriber Member Streetshooter's Avatar
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    Re: color vs. black and white

    jSo theres at least 2 ways to see things...
    post visualization, PS etc and pre visualization...
    I do pre....I think and compose on terms of b&w.

    It comes from my film daze....I appreciate the luxury
    and choice of post.....but I still feel b&w deep down.

    At today's funeral I ran the images in color because
    that's what is needed. My edit will be in b&w but it's nice to
    have a choice. Digital does that very well.....

    don
    Last edited by Streetshooter; 5th February 2009 at 17:06.

  7. #57
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    Re: color vs. black and white

    last nite i did a theater photoshoot:

    www.pbase.com/wwp/tommy

    when i got home, i had to decide whether b&w worked best, or color. for the show, color did. (5d with the 50 1.4)

    another show:

    www.pbase.com/wwp/blue

    i shot with the funky little underestimated polaroid x530 with a foveon sensor. at a show a couple years ago i blew a dozen of these up into large 12x18 prints and they were the favorite of many people out of three hundred mostly in color.

    i agree, how lucky we are to live with the options. alas, i like an audience!

    wayne
    www.pbase.com/wwp
    Last edited by smokysun; 30th March 2009 at 09:32.

  8. #58
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    Re: color vs. black and white

    I simply adore the black and white, the movement makes the image
    ghostly
    sweeet

  9. #59
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    Re: color vs. black and white

    thanks, lili,
    i took a bunch of dance class photos with the 5d and 85 1.2

    www.pbase.com/wwp/choreo09

    but i must confess when i look through the various recent photos, i just love those from the dp1. they seem to record an age. and those are the photos we ultimately remember.

    wayne
    www.pbase.com/wwp
    Last edited by smokysun; 30th March 2009 at 09:32.

  10. #60
    nei1
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    Re: color vs. black and white

    The digital photographer has a much harder time with this decision,it has to be made each and every time a photo is to be produced.In my case I load up a film and as Bob says the mind set goes with whatever is in the camera.This is the same for example with a high speed film or with a low speed film,a particular kind of image is already being visualized.With digital everything is available at the same time,when presented with a situation where choices are posssibble it must be difficult to dial in what you want after having decided what you want and then not miss what you wanted in the first place!
    This is why I mentioned before the draw of a j peg only camera which would have its own set ,fixed,character that would give me my kodachrome or my tri x or my technical pan and stillgive me all the undoubted benefits of digital such as speed,ease of processsing and its undoubted economics and greeness...................Neil.
    I again suggest the fuji s5 sensor with its wide digital range could be used in such a camera.
    Last edited by nei1; 10th February 2009 at 23:51.

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    Re: color vs. black and white

    hi neil,
    i think the hardest thing is to develop a point of view. following my moods, i use this or that technique, since all are available. mostly we need to know what our vein of gold is and to use whatever technical means available to smelt the ore. if you are interested in the impact on the viewer, you choose whatever means to get your point across. i tend to get sidetracked from the goal, which is communication.
    best,
    wayne
    www.pbase.com/wwp
    ps. here's an example, one of the best photo books i know

    http://www.amazon.com/Solitude-Raven...4346044&sr=8-1

  12. #62
    Senior Member ecliffordsmith's Avatar
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    Re: color vs. black and white

    Hi Wayne,

    I really identify with with what you have said above about developing a point of view and getting sidetracked.

  13. #63
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    Re: color vs. black and white

    Hi Neil
    I very much agree with what Wayne has said here about one's personal vein of gold (and the difficulty of keeping in it).

    Quote Originally Posted by nei1 View Post
    The digital photographer has a much harder time with this decision,it has to be made each and every time a photo is to be produced.In my case I load up a film and as Bob says the mind set goes with whatever is in the camera.This is the same for example with a high speed film or with a low speed film,a particular kind of image is already being visualized.With digital everything is available at the same time,when presented with a situation where choices are posssibble it must be difficult to dial in what you want after having decided what you want and then not miss what you wanted in the first place!
    When I'm shooting digital, I always set parameters relevant to the shoot before I start shooting (just like loading the film).
    I think one of the most invidious 'innovations' with digital is the dreaded AutoWhiteBalance - it seems that every camera defaults to it, and most people use it. When I'm shooting, I want to capture the ACTUAL light when I was taking the picture - NOT the light referred back to an even grey - and ESPECIALLY not in mixed lighting, where the camera will make a series of different decisions in similar lighting, depending on the amount of shadow. The answer to this is simple - don't shoot auto white balance!

    If you do switch AWB off, then suddenly you have the character of the camera and it's colour response fixed into an identifiable (and learnable) scenario.

    Most of the rest of it is about exposure and focus (which is, let's face it, the same with a film camera).

    I think your argument is a bit like saying it's better to drive a 60's car, because it doesn't give you all these confusing technologies like ABS and traction control and sat nav. If you find the sat nav confusing - switch it off, you are still left with the less interactive advantages

    Quote Originally Posted by nei1 View Post
    This is why I mentioned before the draw of a j peg only camera which would have its own set ,fixed,character that would give me my kodachrome or my tri x or my technical pan and stillgive me all the undoubted benefits of digital such as speed,ease of processsing and its undoubted economics and greeness...................Neil.
    I again suggest the fuji s5 sensor with its wide digital range could be used in such a camera.
    I revert to my argument above - the minute you switch off AutoWhiteBalance and set the camera to one of it's presets, you have taken a fixed character (in my case, if it isn't artificial light, it's always set to daylight). However, if (and in my case this really is rare) you don't like the WB when you come to process the RAW files, you can, at least, put it right later on.

    Just this guy you know

  14. #64
    Subscriber Member mwalker's Avatar
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    Re: color vs. black and white

    Jono when you use manual WB do you set up on a white card before you shoot? I usually leave it to AWB and change it in post if it looks wrong. I usually don't have time to mess with it.
    Mike

    website under construction

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    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: color vs. black and white

    I think this is an excellent example of how different photographers approach the process. I can completely understand how a film choice (or camera choice) might act as a filter through which you see your photographic "targets." Especially true if you step out the door with a pre-vision of what subjects you wish to shoot and in which style you wish to portray them. Maybe that sort of well tuned vision is an integral part of what lies behind a personal identity or style or body of work for you.

    My own experience is not as well defined. My best work (or at least the captures I like best) tends to come when I step out of the way and simply react to the discovery. No matter what the subject matter might be. I'm not always sure why I react to certain things and decide to photograph them, but when I allow myself the luxury of not thinking about it and just doing it, I am sometimes rewarded with something appealing (at least to me). When you add all those fortunate accidents together, they seem to coalesce into something that might resemble a personal style. I think that style (at least for the time being) is more "me" than I'm sometimes comfortable with, but that's a part of the discovery process too.

    Under the circumstances I've just described, the flexibility of digital is a tremendous boon. Unlike others who say they "see" in black and white or color, I don't pay any attention to it. In my primitive way of looking, I simply react and then sort it out later. Compared to the frustration of the olden days of film when you were forced to make everything fit into the slot of your single-film loaded camera, digital is liberating. Just the opposite of difficult.

    Again, gotta enjoy the infinite diversity with which we all approach the vocation.

    Quote Originally Posted by nei1 View Post
    The digital photographer has a much harder time with this decision,it has to be made each and every time a photo is to be produced.In my case I load up a film and as Bob says the mind set goes with whatever is in the camera.This is the same for example with a high speed film or with a low speed film,a particular kind of image is already being visualized.With digital everything is available at the same time,when presented with a situation where choices are posssibble it must be difficult to dial in what you want after having decided what you want and then not miss what you wanted in the first place!
    This is why I mentioned before the draw of a j peg only camera which would have its own set ,fixed,character that would give me my kodachrome or my tri x or my technical pan and stillgive me all the undoubted benefits of digital such as speed,ease of processsing and its undoubted economics and greeness...................Neil.
    I again suggest the fuji s5 sensor with its wide digital range could be used in such a camera.

  16. #66
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    Re: color vs. black and white

    Quote Originally Posted by mwalker View Post
    Jono when you use manual WB do you set up on a white card before you shoot? I usually leave it to AWB and change it in post if it looks wrong. I usually don't have time to mess with it.
    Hi Mike
    I don't use manual WB, and I don't use a card . . unless I'm trying to get 'accurate' colour for macro or interiors.

    I just shoot 'daylight'. . . . This has been discussed quite a lot around here before.

    Point is, if you're going to shoot outside, maybe at dawn, or with nice evening light, the chances are that there will be some shadow areas, and some lit areas . . .the 'correct' colour temperature for these differences could be literally 1000s different. If you use AWB, then the camera is going to take a view on how much of each is present . . it may even take an average so that everything is wrong.

    If you're going to use a card, do you put it in the shade, or the lit area?

    And anyway, if you have delicious evening light, and you put down a white card, what colour does it seem to you to be? white? of course not, it's a lovely yellowy/orange, and at dawn it's a pinky/orange (or whatever).

    I want to capture the light as it is, which is with reference back to ordinary daylight.

    The added advantage of this is what Neil was talking about - you really get to know and understand the colour response of your camera - it's like using film; predictable and repeatable and understandable - added to which you get completely consistent colour during a shoot. If you get home and realise that actually 4000 would have been better, or 6000, or whatever, then you can make a batch change to all your shots - nothing simpler. But I bet you'd find that if you started shooting exclusively with 'daylight' WB for outside work, the times you'd need to change it would be very very few (I know this to be the case with me).

    With the A900 the standard 'daylight' produces splendid subtle colours with a lot of depth.

    I know that books have been written about getting the white balance right, but I think that fiddling with it is like playing russian roulette with your colour.

    Just this guy you know

  17. #67
    nei1
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    Re: color vs. black and white

    I dont think you all see the tree that im barking up against,the best thing is for the rich and influential here to persuade leicato lend me for say 6 monthsa nice brand new M8 2Then Ill either eat my words and become a digital poodle or..................not.
    I do believe that real creativity comes from a reasonable amount of limitation,with film the limitations are included with the package;with digital they are self set ,not everyone is as honest as all of you reading this,that is its problem.
    Wayne its possible that you have too many paths,try going back to film for a while.That book at 280 dollars is a bit out of my league,have just googled it and yes ,beautiful images,the poor man is apparently in a coma.
    and just to forestall anyone thinking that Im calling them a digital poodle ,Im not,im referring to how i might feel if I had to eat my words.(big smile)
    Last edited by nei1; 11th February 2009 at 15:44.

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    Re: color vs. black and white

    Quote Originally Posted by nei1 View Post
    and just to forestall anyone thinking that Im calling them a digital poodle ,Im not,im referring to how i might feel if I had to eat my words.(big smile)
    can we have a photo of that?

    my goodness, what odd dreams i will have tonight!

    bonne nuit

  19. #69
    nei1
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    Re: color vs. black and white

    Sweet Dreams

  20. #70
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    Re: color vs. black and white

    Quote Originally Posted by nei1 View Post
    And Lili if I may paraphrase yours, photoshop is the new camera ,any decisions can now be delayed until after the creative process(is that possible?)No its not possible,that leaves photoshop as the creative act.
    Neil, hmmmmmm. I can agree wih that summation only to a point. I shoot jpeg only but still post process some. However with some cameras I have enough control, sharpness, contrast, tone, etc...basically such a full range of image parameters in-camera that I find pp seldom needed. In this case;



    the image is exactly as I previsuallized it. The 'darkroom work' was done in-camera. For me the GRD is the ONLY digital camera I can do this with; the main reason I adore it so.

    In this one;



    The scene, color, contrast range, etc so suite the sensor/jpeg engine of my Fuji F31fd so well that I found post processing un-needed

    For me the whole film/digital question is a matter of two differing palettes. One cannot really be the other. One should play to their respective strengths.
    Last edited by Lili; 11th February 2009 at 18:31.

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    Re: color vs. black and white

    hi lili,
    i agree about choosing the best, but sometimes it baffles me. here's an example.

    wayne
    www.pbase.com/wwp
    Last edited by smokysun; 30th March 2009 at 09:32.

  22. #72
    Senior Member DavidE's Avatar
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    Re: color vs. black and white

    Wayne, that's a good example. The mood of the painted face seems to change with the shift from b&w to color. It's ominous in b&w. It's more neutral (maybe even upbeat) when surrounded by color.

    I'm usually in the camp where I don't know until later whether an image will work best in color or b&w (poor visualization skills, most likely). This one was an exception. Echoing a William Carlos Williams poem, so much depends on the red fire hydrant.



    DP1, ISO 200, f/4, 1/50 second

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  23. #73
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    Re: color vs. black and white

    Wayne, I agree that is a good example! Color or its lack complately changes the character of the image. I guess it all depends on what emotion you want in the image; both are great.

  24. #74
    Senior Member ecliffordsmith's Avatar
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    Re: color vs. black and white

    Hi All,

    I see a lot of parallels here between the last set posted by Wayne and the first that actually started this thread off. Look at the homless person on the bench in B&W and then in colour, and then the face on the wall.

    Wayne,

    One thing that is clear to me is that you transmit your style in both colour and B&W.

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