Monochromatic Images

There is something wonderfully evocative about a black and white image. Perhaps it reminds one of a bygone era, or perhaps it signals a certain level of sophistication, or maybe even, having stripped of all colour, it forces the viewer to focus on the merits of the image alone. Whatever the reason, in these days of digital photography the black and white photograph is still a very popular medium to display a photograph. Almost every kind of subject has been captured in black and white - from stunning portraits to sweeping landscapes to the form and structure of abstracts.

Yet, having said I don't think that all kinds of pictures are suitable for conversion into black and white. If you asked me what criteria I had for that, I wouldn't be able to tell you definitely - I'd say it depends on what mood or feel you're trying to achieve with a certain picture. Sometimes, it's just a gut feeling or a matter of experimentation whether a certain shot would work in monochrome.

Well, no one ever said that photography is an exact science.

The Moon on Black
Pentax K10D, 1/90 sec., f/11

A day at the nursery

My wife wanted to go to the nursery to buy some plants and flowers for her school, so . While she went about doing her busines, I got busy shooting all the beautiful flowers around. The light was wonderfully soft then (it had been raining and was actually threatening to rain again!), but there was still more than enough light to shoot with a decent shutter speed.

Here is a selection of what I've shot. All were shot handheld with a 50mm f/1.7 with extension tubes attached at ISO200. With the depth of field wafer thin when shooting macro, and a soft wind blowing, I used burst mode to increase my chances of getting a sharp shot. It was tough, but in the end I got what I wanted.

New Year with a fresh photographic eye

I actually hadn't shot anything decent ever since I started the almost one-and-a-half-month break (that's the life of a teacher...) and that started soon after my last post. But, hey it's the new year. And I've just been reading a lot more about photography in general just to brush up and to learn new things, and I must say, I'm all psyched up again now.

My initial plan was to start a 365-photo-a-day project beginning New Year's day but as you've noticed, that fizzled out (but I may very well start it yet since I'm all motivated again!). My point of interest now is to play with light - to get into the nitty-gritty stuff about lighting. So far, I've pretty much stayed within my comfort zone as far as lighting is concerned, but I'm now prepared to experiment and maybe even astound myself with the results! We'll see.

I've ordered some gels to work with the two flashes I have to play around with, so this space will be sort of a gallery to share with you my successes (or dramatic failures!).

Me and my camera, we're going to do incredible stuff this year.

Here's my first real effort for the year to get a decent pic. This was taken hand-held, extension tubes attached to my 50mm, and shooting at burst mode. I saw the dew hanging on to a blade of grass and I thought it'd make a great picture with the reflection of the grass in the dewdrop and the background out of focus.

p.s. If you didn't already know, that whiz photographer and lighting guru, Joe McNally, is coming to Malaysia to hold a workshop with Malaysia''s very own celebrated wedding photographer, Louis Pang. It's going to happen in Kuala Lumpur next month! Find out the details from the website here.