Tag Archives: Black and White

26 – Where Do the Children Play?

This is a playground on Spittelberg in Vienna’s 7th district. The sculpture in the foreground may be something by Friedensreich Hundertwasser, as it looks startlingly like his architecture.

It’s been quite a while that I needed so much time to prepare a photo in Photoshop. I had two (and maybe half) candidates for the IOTD. I decided to use this one, mostly because it was technically challenging. At first I tried to go for color, finally I settled with high-contrast B&W. The challenge was to come up with high contrast and rich tonality, keeping noise low and being true to the original atmosphere as I remember it.

24 – Concentration

Photographically (and only that) this was a lousy day. I had considered choosing an image from the archives, but, in reality, that’s not what this blog is all about, and I really do it only if there is no other choice. Quite uninspired I made some experiments and suddenly there was this: a globe of light dancing on a pattern of concentric rings, altogether vaguely reminding me of Saturn.

Or is it a spiral? Hey, it is, otherwise the parts of my kitchen lamp would immediately crush to the ground, wouldn’t they?

19 – One Above the Other

Sometimes even ultra-wide is barely wie enough. In the meantime you may know my fancy for weird angles, but this image was taken the way it was taken out of necessity.

This is a medieval cult room of the Order of the Templars. It lies below the courtyard of a castle and receives light through an opening in the ceiling. Directly below is a small pool collecting rain. The room is dark and has an apsis with an altar at its rear.

The atmosphere of the room cannot be properly acknowledged without seeing lighthole, pool and altar all at once. It took 10mm, a weird angle and Photoshop trickery and deceit to get the ingredients into the picture and properly distribute the tones.

18 – From the Garbage Can

Today at noon I went back to the park with the playground, mainly to get a perfect variant of an image I had already tried yesterday, and later at the way back to work I made some images of a red Ducati motorcycle, one of them quite good. After these about 30 minutes I was confident to have at least two or three good candidates, all of them in vivid colors.

I was wrong. In the evening, on my way home, I came by Gutenberggasse in Vienna’s 7th district. On the corner there was an open garbage can, one of the sort that are mounted on lamp posts. Normally they have a cover on top with only a small opening, but this one had the lid raised. I don’t know why, but somehow this attracted me, maybe because it looked different in a way. I put the camera on the garbage can, set the Sigma 10-20/4-5.6 to 10mm/f.8, held my breath and clicked. It took two exposures to get a sharp one.

According to the terminology of yesterday, this is again a (3), a weird perspective. What makes the image for me are the curves of the garbage can and its lid.

17 – Not in Color

I had three short sessions today, one on my way to work, one at noon in a park with attached playground and one on my way home. I think I’m getting the hang of this ultra-wide business now.

Basically you can use these lenses for three purposes:

  1. getting more into the frame
  2. gaining an extra foreground
  3. creating weird perspectives

(1) is the straight-forward and somewhat naïve approach, (2) is the orthodox way and (3) can be interesting, creative or plain rubbish, whatever applies.

“14 – Yesterday is Here” was (1), “15 – Morning on the Mountain” in a way was (2) and this is definitely (3)!

This is the first B&W image here. I shot the image on my way home, the sky was not yet fully dark, the street lights had this strong orange tinge, and although orange vs blue makes for nice color depth, the color version did not work. The orange was too muddy brown, the blue too dark, thus I decided for high contrast B&W.

Technically this is the image with Photoshop’s automatic white balance, a color mixer of mostly green and blue applied, a levels adjustment layer for darkening the midtones and two curves for modelling contrast. No masks involved. Sharpening at the end.

Of course one curves layer would have sufficed, but this is my way of working. I prefer small changes, one step after the other, sometimes going back and adapting one of the curves, sometimes toning the effect of a layer down with the opacity slider, sometimes using masks or blending options to restrict the effect to certain areas.

I had no tripod, thus I rested the camera on the railing directly behind the bicycle and hoped that I could hold it steady for 2.5 seconds. A side effect of the way I held the camera was, that I could not see through the viewfinder. It took me five or six exposures to get what I was up to, mostly because I wanted some lines to finish themselves exactly in the corners.