Experiments in Black & White

I’ve always liked black and white photography. In my early days of using digital cameras I produced more black and white images than colour. Many of these were in the square format and I found this form of image very satisfying.

To a small extent I’ve neglected this format but I recently discovered the work of Ian Barber, a fine art photographer here in the UK. His work has inspired me to at least make more images in the black and white/square format. Ian has produced a comprehensive se to presets for Lightroom primarily for black and white but also useable in colour post-processing.

I’ve been experimenting with these presets and here are three images that I’m very pleased with.

Nature's Sculpture
Nature’s Sculpture
Still Life #1
Still Life #1

Lenticular Clouds

Have you ever seen those clouds that look like flying saucers just hovering in the sky? They are called lenticular clouds and come in other shapes from time to time. This lenticular cloud is unlike any I’ve seen previously, being horizontally formed. It was taken over the Menai Straits, which separates the Isle of Anglesey from the mainland of North Wales.

Lenticular Clouds

Image © Tony Harratt/The Fuji Freak – 2016

NOTES: This is a JPEG image from my X-Pro2 taken as a test shot. Very little needed to be done once downloaded and most of that was taken care of by Silver Efex Pro2.

Review – “Advanced Photography Skills – Black & White Special”

Although there’s an awful lot of colour images on The Fuji Freak blog, this doesn’t mean that I’m giving up on black & white! I’m always on the lookout for books and magazines with tutorials and hints & tips in their pages. This is a review of a magazine that’s currently available in UK newsagents. It’s been produced by Amateur Photography (AP) magazine in their Advanced Photography Skills series, available each quarter. The Spring edition is wholly concerned with black & white imaging.

The magazine covers just about every aspect of monochrome imaging including analogue film, so it’s not just for digital photographers. There are 21 articles, some previously printed in weekly editions of AP, covering why you should consider mono, exposure & metering, converting both images and your camera to be solely a monochrome tools, just like the Leica M Monochrom Typ 246 camera. There are also tutorials about toning mono images and converting images in Camera RAW.

There’s a whole batch of shooting tutorials: infrared, HDR & exposure blending, creative lighting, glamour, architecture and street. Post-processing analogue film is covered, too: building a home darkroom, return to film from digital (reverse conversion!), availability of mono negative films currently available and, finally, processing film. The magazine finishes off with tips about creating a bound portfolio and making perfect prints at home.

Authors and photograph contributors include Russ Barnes, Michael Freeman – he of extensive photography book fame – Martin Evening, a guru on all things Adobe, Lee Frost and Fuji-X photographer, Damien Lovegrove.

If you dabble in monochrome imaging – either analogue or digital – then this is a perfect purchase for improving your monochrome skills. There are a very few advertisements within the 100 pages, which makes the magazine very good value – just 11% of the pages have adverts, some of which are AP-related (subscriptions etc).

PROS: price (£3.99); excellent tutorials; quality of writing & images; few adverts; very useful content

CONS: a lack of Lightroom & Alien Skin’s Exposure X tutorials

The Fuji Freak rating is: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Available from good newsagents throughout the UK such as WHSmith.

NOTE: This is also my “Something for the Weekend” post.

Winter in Spring

At last! Snow on the Welsh mountains…

Sunday afternoon found me in Snowdonia on a very bleak day with a fairly strong wind and some very dark clouds. It was late afternoon and most of the walkers and climbers were heading for home. I got to the Glyders first getting a few images. Next was Llyn Ogwen and a quasi-panorama across the lake followed by some shots of my favourite Welsh mountain, Tryfan. Pen-yr-ole-Wen was also snapped.

A short drive took me to the eastern side of Tryfan for another shot with the Glyders in the background and another shot of Pen-yr-ole-Wen before hitting Llyn Mymbyr for some shots of the Snowdon Horseshoe under some very gloomy skies.

Given the poor light I had to process the images as black & white and here is a sample image from my short but exciting adventure featuring the western fringes of The Glyders.

Image © Tony Harratt/The Fuji Freak – 2016

On The Waterfront

I took my Fujifilm X-20 for a spin last week during a couple of very sunny days that were just perfect for photography, The light was good enough to produce some very contrasty images and I’ve used a tonal contrast preset in Lightroom to pull out details in each exposure.

Most of the images I took were centred on the area around Pier Head in Liverpool where there are excellent photo opportunities particularly with a wide variety of architecture styles, The buildings featured in this post include the Three Graces (The Liver Building, The Cunard Building and Mersey Docks and Harbour Board), Mann Island and Pier Head itself including the Museum of Liverpool.

Three Women – Krakow Street Photography 2012

This is the last image in the Krakow street series, which I hope you’ve enjoyed.

I’ve saved this image until last because it’s my favourite street shot from the my visit to Krakow. The three ladies all had their hands up to their faces, which was a surprise when I came to process the image. I like to think that the lady on the right wasn’t being rude!

Looking forward to searching my archive over the weekend and seeing what other little series I can create. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Krakow Street 2012 #5

Image © Tony Harratt/The Fuji Freak – 2012-2016