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Black and White photos

FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk
Thread started 08 Jul 2007 (Sunday) 07:00   
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ChrisBlaze
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Whats makes a good black and white photo?

Post #1, Jul 08, 2007 07:00:48


Canon 1D Mark II N/5D Mark III/ 6D/ 7D /85mm f1.2L Mk1/ 24-70 f2.8L/ 70-200mm f2.8L IS USM/ 100mm Macro f/2.8

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SkipD
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A good B&W photo has essentially the same qualities as any good photo, but substituting well-defined shades of gray (contrast control) instead of colors to define the subject material.

Post #2, Jul 08, 2007 07:10:05


Skip Douglas
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..... but still learning all the time.

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braduardo
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SkipD wrote in post #3506498external link
A good B&W photo has essentially the same qualities as any good photo, but substituting well-defined shades of gray (contrast control) instead of colors to define the subject material.

Or by minimizing the amount of gray and being very high-contrast...

In a good b&w photo, often times you can just kinda 'feel' the colors even though you can't see them. You just 'know' that a dress is red, or a truck is blue. I don't really know how to describe it. B&W has it's own feel, but the fundamentals stay the same as far as content/composition/et​c.

Post #3, Jul 08, 2007 15:47:54


:rolleyes: ----Brad---- :rolleyes:
www.nybergstudio.comexternal link
40D: EF 17-40 f4 L ---- EF 70-200mm f4 L ---- EF 50mm f1.4 ---- EF 85mm f1.8

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ChrisBlaze
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could someone post an example?

Post #4, Jul 09, 2007 01:19:37


Canon 1D Mark II N/5D Mark III/ 6D/ 7D /85mm f1.2L Mk1/ 24-70 f2.8L/ 70-200mm f2.8L IS USM/ 100mm Macro f/2.8

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rammy
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ChrisBlaze wrote in post #3511043external link
could someone post an example?

How about the one in this thread? Some steps further below the thread on the conversion process.

I agree with SkipD that the range of tones matters a lot. Flat colours with no range don't seem to come out that well in B&W.

Post #5, Jul 09, 2007 06:50:48


Gear | Surrey Wedding Photographerexternal link | Surrey Wedding Photographer Blogexternal link | London Architecture Photographerexternal link

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airfrogusmc
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The best way is to look at the great B&W photographers work. Some images need high contrast some need as much tonal range as possible.
Weston
http://etsilabeaute.ha​utetfort.com/images/me​dium_weston01.jpgexternal link

http://www.afterimageg​allery.com/Pepperl.jpgexternal link

http://www.daytonartin​stitute.org ...ollection/WestonShe​ll.jpgexternal link

Stieglitz
http://www.photoman.co​.kr ...stieglitz-TheSteerage.JPGexternal link

http://www.thismoment.​pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/b​log/hands_es.jpgexternal link
Adams
http://content.answers​.com ...s_and_the_Snake_Riv​er.jpgexternal link

http://www.andrewsmith​gallery.com/images/mis​c/ansel_adams.jpgexternal link

http://www.bigredandsh​iny.com ..._ANSEL_ADAMS_71698_​03.jpgexternal link

Post #6, Jul 09, 2007 09:13:23 as a reply to rammy's post 2 hours earlier.




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Mcary
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ChrisBlaze wrote in post #3506474external link
Whats makes a good black and white photo?

People make for excellent black and white photo's Anything from a beautiful model to a rugged iron work or the weather feature of old man can make for a wonderful B&W photo.

Mike

Post #7, Jul 09, 2007 11:08:34


OMG I saw a nipple, my eye's are bleeding!
Visit http://www.mcaryphoto.​netexternal link (Nudity) warning most images found on this website were shot with cheap plastic lens (50mm 1.4 85 1.8 and 35 2.0)

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airfrogusmc
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Anyone really serious about B&W should be looking into film. 4X5 or even 2 1/4 negs and silver gelatin or platinum prints are far superior to digital and ink jet.

Post #8, Jul 09, 2007 12:50:06 as a reply to Mcary's post 1 hour earlier.




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suecassidy
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If I remember correctly from my photo school days, one theory of B&W is the zone theory that says that it encompasses 11 zones or shades, made up of everything from the whitest, crispest whites, to the grays, to middle gray and so on until the 11th shade which is the inkiest, darkest black and everything in between. A lot of B&W if you really look at it, doesn't really have good blacks or crisp whites. The whites are muddy and the blacks not really very black. The highest standards of B&W were in my opinion produced by Ansel Adams and if you study a good quality litho of his work, you will understand the difference between good b&w and not. He had a special way of processing his stuff to achieve that luminous effect. It is also my understanding that airFrog is absolutely correct in saying that digital photography and most printing methods used can't easily achieve quality like that. Not yet anyway.

Post #9, Jul 09, 2007 22:58:04


Sue Cassidy
GEAR: Canon 1ds, Canon 1d Mark iii, Sony RX 100, Canon 50mmL 1.2, Canon 70-200L 2.8 IS, Canon 100-400L IS, Canon 14mm L, 2.8, . Lighting: Elinchrom Rangers, D-lite 400s, Canon 580/550 flashes. 74 ' Octabank, 27' Rotalux. Editing: Aperture 3

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DrPablo
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Ansel Adams is but one of many crowning examples of B&W photography -- what he should be best remembered for is his meticulous composition, and his masterful exploitation of panchromatic films. The zone system was more of an organizational tool than anything else. But there are many other photographers through history that I think match (or exceed) Adams as exemplars of B&W. Edward Weston comes immediately to mind, but you can go as far back as Timothy O'Sullivan in the 1860s with his orthochromatic glass plates to find magnificent B&W photography.

I don't think a great B&W photo has to have a high contrast range overall -- there can certainly be subtlety. But the name of the game is control of tone placement. If you want to take a picture of a tree in the fog, then you'll want a certain shade of gray for the fog and a darker one for the tree -- but not necessarily pure black.

And film is still the king of B&W, especially in LF, but these days I think the problem with digital B&W isn't so much the printing anymore. I think it's mainly that people pay too little attention to soft tonal gradients, too little attention to highlight and shadow detail, too little attention to tone curves, and too much attention to imitating Ansel Adams. Throw in all the errors people make post-processing (like oversharpening) and you end up having images that just don't cut it. Of course there are a million ways to screw up film as well -- trust me, I've done them all.

Post #10, Jul 10, 2007 10:50:38 as a reply to suecassidy's post 11 hours earlier.


Cameras: Canon 7D, Agfa 8x10, Cambo 4x5, Noblex 150, Hasselblad 500 C/M,
Canon lineup: 17-55 f/2.8 IS, Sigma 30 f/1.4, Sigma 50 f/1.4, Sigma 85 f/1.4, Canon 85 f/1.8, Canon 100 f/2.8L macro, Canon 135 f/2L, Canon 70-200 f/4L, Canon 100-400 L, Canon MP-E 65/2.8 1-5x macro, 580EX, MT-24 EX

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Tony-S
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DrPablo wrote in post #3518708external link
but these days I think the problem with digital B&W isn't so much the printing anymore.

I disagree with this. The only printers that can do excellent B&W cost more than US$400. Even my i9900 has issues; green or magenta hue on some papers (such as linen). The only way around it is to print in grayscale (to shut off the color inks), but then you lose tonal range because it only has a single black ink tank. What I'd like to see is a sub-$300 printer that comes with 3 black cartridges and 10- or 12-bit grayscale. Until then, B&W for consumers is going to suffer.

Post #11, Jul 10, 2007 10:59:40


Gear list
"Raw" is not an acronym, abbreviation, nor a proper noun; thus, it should not be in capital letters.
Zeiss 35/2 for sale.

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DrPablo
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I wasn't arguing for their availability. They DO exist, but for most of us it entails sending away for a professional print. I completely agree that consumer printers aren't remotely up to the task.

But traditional the black and white silver print (not to mention platinum / palladium prints, kallitypes, etc) present a very difficult standard to achieve. I'm not sure they'll ever make their way to $200 desktop photo printers, but I think the high end equipment has made great strides.

Post #12, Jul 10, 2007 11:22:08


Cameras: Canon 7D, Agfa 8x10, Cambo 4x5, Noblex 150, Hasselblad 500 C/M,
Canon lineup: 17-55 f/2.8 IS, Sigma 30 f/1.4, Sigma 50 f/1.4, Sigma 85 f/1.4, Canon 85 f/1.8, Canon 100 f/2.8L macro, Canon 135 f/2L, Canon 70-200 f/4L, Canon 100-400 L, Canon MP-E 65/2.8 1-5x macro, 580EX, MT-24 EX

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Tony-S
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DrPablo wrote in post #3518882external link
I wasn't arguing for their availability. They DO exist, but for most of us it entails sending away for a professional print. I completely agree that consumer printers aren't remotely up to the task.

But traditional the black and white silver print (not to mention platinum / palladium prints, kallitypes, etc) present a very difficult standard to achieve.

OK, I see what you mean now. Thanks for the clarification.

I'm not sure they'll ever make their way to $200 desktop photo printers, but I think the high end equipment has made great strides.

I don't know why they can't. I mean, they already make $50 printers with 4 ink tanks (black and three colors). Why can't they make a dedicated 3- or 4-ink B&W printer that does not do color? It seems that it would only require software revision of the printers they're already using. Instead of putting in the 4 standard color ink tanks, put in a photo-black, flat-black and two gray shades, then all they'd need is an updated ROM or flash memory in the printer and that'd be it.

And why can't they do 10-bit imaging? Is there something about nozzle technology that prevents it? It can't be the microprocessors - 16-bit chips have been around since the 1980s. If I could find a $200 B&W-only printer that could do 10-bit grayscale, I'd be the first in line to buy it.

Post #13, Jul 10, 2007 11:58:19


Gear list
"Raw" is not an acronym, abbreviation, nor a proper noun; thus, it should not be in capital letters.
Zeiss 35/2 for sale.

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Doug ­ Pardee
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Tony-S wrote in post #3519073external link
Why can't they make a dedicated 3- or 4-ink B&W printer that does not do color?

I've heard good things about the Epson Stylus C88external link (currently being closed out at $80 US) when used with MIS grayscale inksexternal link ($55 US for a full set of cartridges for both matte and glossy, or $110 for both neutral and warm sets). MIS also has continuous-inking and bulk ink.

Haven't tried it myself, just reporting what I've heard.

Post #14, Jul 10, 2007 12:29:04




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DrPablo
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You need demand for them to bring a dedicated printer like that to market. I doubt many people would demand a dedicated B&W printer for home.

If there were a modular one in which you could swap out the four color inks for four grayscale inks then that might be a possibility.

Post #15, Jul 10, 2007 12:52:44 as a reply to Doug Pardee's post 23 minutes earlier.


Cameras: Canon 7D, Agfa 8x10, Cambo 4x5, Noblex 150, Hasselblad 500 C/M,
Canon lineup: 17-55 f/2.8 IS, Sigma 30 f/1.4, Sigma 50 f/1.4, Sigma 85 f/1.4, Canon 85 f/1.8, Canon 100 f/2.8L macro, Canon 135 f/2L, Canon 70-200 f/4L, Canon 100-400 L, Canon MP-E 65/2.8 1-5x macro, 580EX, MT-24 EX

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