Fleur’s Place

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You have reached the archive of articles posted on my personal blog. This blog is no longer updated, but you can read my latest articles at my new website The Creative Photographer and find my photography ebooks at my new store.

Thanks for reading! Andrew.



Black and white square photo

My girlfriend and I have just returned from a two week road trip around New Zealand’s South Island. You’ll be seeing more photos from the trip over the next few weeks, but today I’d like to share some with you taken in a restaurant called Fleur’s Place in the seaside town of Moeraki.

All these photos were taken on my Fujifilm X-Pro 1, which is proving to be a great camera to have to hand to take photos of places like this you might find as you walk around. This wasn’t a planned shoot – I knew the restaurant existed but I had no idea that it was so photogenic until we passed by.

The X-Pro 1 came in handy for another reason. Before I took these photos I set the camera’s Film Simulation mode to black and white, and the aspect ratio to 1:1. The camera showed me a square, monochrome view in the electronic viewfinder, which helped me see and compose in black and white. Yet as I using Raw format the camera captured a full colour Raw file (plus a square, monochrome JPEG – for some reason you can only set the 1:1 aspect ratio when shooting Raw + JPEG).

This was a new experience for me. These images are unique because I framed and composed them in black and white (via the camera’s electronic viewfinder), reviewed them on the camera’s LCD screen in black and white, then imported them into Lightroom using a black and white Develop Preset I created for that purpose (the square crop was also preserved upon import). That means that I don’t have to view any of these images in colour at any stage during the creation process. It’s an interesting way of working, and one that I enjoyed.

Black and white square photo

The main benefit comes from seeing in black and white through the electronic viewfinder. Part of learning to see in monochrome is visualising how a colour subject will come out in black and white. While the camera’s black and white version might be completely different from what you may end up creating in Lightroom, it enabled me to visualise how the scenes would look in black and white. Instead of seeing an image composed of colours, I was able to look at the tonal contrast, textures, lines and lighting that underlie the composition. It made seeing and composing in black and white much easier.

This is a relatively new way of working – even with black and white film you still see the scene in colour when looking through the viewfinder.

What I’ve learned is that if you work in black and white a lot then it’s definitely worth considering buying a camera with an electronic viewfinder. If you shoot most of your black and white work using a tripod (ie. for landscape or architectural work) and your camera doesn’t have an electronic viewfinder, then Live View is a very capable substitute.

Black and white square photo

Black and white square photo

Black and white square photo

Black and white square photo

Black and white square photo

Black and white square photo

Black and white square photo

Black and white square photo

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6 Responses to “Fleur’s Place”

  1. Lois Bryan says:

    Have to admit, b&w has always escaped me … but I like your idea of viewing in b&w within the camera. Truly sounds like an excellent solution!! Enjoyed and thanks!!

  2. Kent Burkhardsmeier says:

    I am interested to learn more about your b&w develop preset as I am working on improving my b&w ‘eye’ and capabilities.

    • Hi Kent, the preset itself is nothing special. All I did was apply lens corrections and set the mode to black and white. The idea is simply to see the photos in black and white once they are imported into Lightroom, rather than colour. Then I process each one individually according to its merits.

      You can learn more about black and white photography by reading some of the articles in my black and white category:

      http://www.andrewsgibson.com/blog/category/black-white-photography/

      Cheers,
      Andrew

  3. Good morning Andrew, New Zealand eh! I’m jealous.
    I have been concentrating on B and W for a few months now and I find the transformation amazing. I use CS6 and Nik Efex Pro. I thought I had lost my “mojo” before Mono. As this move is recent, there are not too many on my website as yet. However, I would like to email one or two and appreciate your comments, if possible.
    Anyway, best regards and I always enjoy your articles.

    George

    • Yes, New Zealand! Good to hear that black and white has brought back your mojo. Sure, by all means send me a couple of photos, I will take a quick look and see if I can help.

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