Tag Archives: Black & White

FUD or Fears Uncertainties and Doubts

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In one of my lectures, I speak about FUD which stands for fears, uncertainties and doubts. I first learned about the concept of FUD in a sales seminar 30 years ago. In that context, FUD applied to what a potential customer might be feeling about making buying decision. About four years ago, when I was developing a new lecture, it dawned on me that FUD applied to me as a photographer. I don’t know about you, but, I have FUD a lot! I remember a specific time when a friend invited me to photograph the Klotz Silk Mill in Lonaconing MD. That first trip years ago was in January. It was cold, dark inside and it smelled moldy and musty. I was paralyzed. Where do I start? What on earth do I take a picture of? I have no idea what makes a good picture in this type of environment. What lens do I choose? Do I shoot wide or details? Am I smart enough to find good pictures here? Rather than pull out a camera, I wandered around aimlessly and uninspired. I had no idea what to do. I finally put on a wide angle lens as it is what I am most comfortable with, and began to try and find something worthy to photograph. For the first hour or so, I made a lot of terrible pictures. It was not until I reached the 3rd floor where there was a bit more light, it was warmer, and it did not stink quite as much, that I began to find my rhythm. A key moment to finding that rhythm, was finding a calendar that was left behind from 1957 hanging above a desk. This created a connection, as I was born in 1957. I made a photograph of that scene and it made my heart sing. With a bit more confidence, I was able to find more worthy images and even developed a desire to return. I have now returned six times, including a recent visit with some friends.

I would be interested in hearing about your experience with FUD and how you overcome it.

The blog image was inspired by a friend who was shooting this scene. B&W oft times seems to be the right answer at the Silk Mill. Shallow DOF was also a purposeful choice for this image. Remember you may click on the image to make it bigger.

John Barclay Photography, Images that make your heart sing.

Posted in B&W, Silk Mill Also tagged , , , , , , |

Smoke in the Smokies

One of my favorite places in The Great Smoky Mountains is the Foothills Parkway for sunrise. When our group arrived early at “the” spot we were greeted by 65 others who love this spot too! Unfortunately the fog was too thick this day. After a long wait, folks were itchy for breakfast, so most left without getting much. After breakfast, a few of us wandered back to see what might be there and were given a gift. I love the subtle crepuscular rays, the strong white fog near the hill tops and light on the land.

 

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Barclay Photography – Encouraging you to make images that make your heart sing.

Posted in B&W, Smoky Mountains, Tour, Workshop Also tagged , , , |

What is it? Does it matter? Do you care?

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Once again, I’m having fun playing with older images that I’ve not spent enough time with. I don’t know about you, but, I find that I come back from a shoot, pick the “winners” or “keepers” and then move on to the next shoot leaving the last behind. And doesn’t that fit with the want it now, need it now, show me the next best picture now state of things? Here I am trying to be more mindful about my photography, yet oft times I am not mindful about the images I’ve captured. Rather, I feel compelled to run out and capture the next “keeper” when I likely already have one. I just haven’t taken the time, mindfully, to evaluate what I captured. 

Both images are from the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. The lead image was duplicated then flipped and mirrored into a new image and then converted to b&w.  I used the TKActionsv4 luminosity masking panel in Photoshop to fine tune the black & white conversation.  Pretty powerful tool, but, there is a learning curve. I suggest Sean Bashaw’s excellent videos if you are interested in learning about them. The image below was fine tuned with my go to plugin, Topaz Clarity. Yes, there is a clarity slider in Lightroom but this is a much more powerful tool with so much more control.

Having just presented another webinar for Topaz, I am allowed to share my 25% discount code for any Topaz product good through March 27th.  Just click this link and then use the code BARCLAYWEB18 at checkout to save 25%. This includes any upgrade path as well. So, if you own one or more Topaz products, just log into your Topaz account and look for the already discounted upgrade price and then ADD the 25% off.  Makes for a very nice price!

 

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Posted in Abstract, Kimmel Center, Topaz Software Also tagged , , , , , , , , |

Cape Cod #2

untitled-0507-EditmattedLast year while on the Cape (Cod), I was introduced to the wonderful work of Michael Kahn and purchased one of his books. This year, the Focus Gallery in Chatham, had more of his work on display and a new book. Inspired by Michaels work, I readjusted my vision to think more in B&W this year. Below are two favorites with more to come. Remember to click the images to view them much bigger.

A note on the bottom image. Carla, one of our participants has been influenced by the great Chuck Kimmerle. She attended our Death Valley/Valley of Fire tour where Chuck was a special guest. As we were walking out to photograph Stage Harbor Light, Carla spotted this scene. A small group stopped and we worked the scene for forty five minutes. We never made it to the lighthouse! A couple of lessons.

1. Be open to what turns your head. Yes, we had a mission to get to the lighthouse, but, this was great right now!

2. Without Chuck’s great images and inspiration, Carla would probably never have seen the potential in this type of scene. 

By the way, the poles in the water are part of the nets used for Weir Fishing.

 


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Posted in B&W, Cape Cod, Chuck Kimmerle Also tagged , , , , |

New Zealand – MT Cook

I mentioned in my last postthat I was distracted on my way to the “Lifetime Image,” This was what distracted me. I loved the sky, fresh snow on the mountains and the mossy foreground with the big rock. I chose to make the mossy foreground look like snow in the conversion as I felt it added the contrast necessary to make it pop. Remember to click on the image to make it bigger.

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Posted in B&W, New Zealand Also tagged , , |

Braided River – New Zealand

Not too far from where my last blog image was made, I found this one. The sky was wonderful and the braided river offered a nice leading line.  
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Posted in B&W, New Zealand Also tagged , |

Repeated Opportunity

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Repeated opportunity is a good thing. Going back to a place that you are drawn to is a good idea. Awhile back, I posted a shot from Owl Creek Pass that is similar to today’s image. That image was taken during our scouting time before the group arrived. After that wonderful moment I said to Dan (tour partner),”too bad the group was not here for this! The odds of that happening in a few days when they arrive are slim.” Then on the day we took the group, THIS HAPPENED! It was as good or better! So glad we went back. I know I’ll go back again on my next visit, I want to see what else might happen!

If you’ve not read Chuck Kimmerle’s recent thought provoking blog post, you can and should read it here.  After you read it, come back and share your thoughts about this image. Is it cliche? Does it matter? I’m interested in your thoughts.

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Posted in B&W, Colorado Also tagged , , , |

When and why B&W?

At the end of my recent Topaz webinar, someone asked a good question. How do you know when to convert an image to B&W? I gave an answer, however, since then I’ve been thinking more about it. I have an answer, but, I’d like your input. I’m curious to know your thoughts on this subject. Here is my current answer, which I’m sure will morph and change over time. B&W needs to be a purposeful choice. One does not just tap the “V” key in Lightroom to convert it and then walk away. It should be done with a bit more purpose. Typically I ask myself, what role does color play in my image?  If it is important, I will most likely keep it color. The image below is a good example. For me, the color is a very important part of the story in the Palouse. The yellow canola, the red barn, blue sky, green wheat.  All big players in the overall composition. Yes, this is the same red barn seen in the distance in my last blog post.

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 Here is another, where color plays an important role. I just don’t see this Gehry building in B&W, however, the building in LA is a different story. The panels are all silver making for great conversions. See below.

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If color is getting in the way of what I am trying to portray, express or show, I will remove the color so the design, graphic, or emotion is more discernible. These images come to mind as examples. The door at ESP does not have much color to begin with so it makes sense to remove it. And the B&W choice does a good job of drawing the eye to what is important, the shadow. The “god-rays” scene is all about the rays and the conversion makes that clear. The dunes are all about line, rhythm, shape, shadow and light. As such, the color just gets in the way. With people, when we remove the color we see into the soul of the person.   

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Sometimes an image works in both color and B&W and simply creates a very different emotion/reaction. I posted such an example this spring from the Smokies. I share it here again to make my point.

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My suggestion is to make your B&W conversions with purpose. Don’t make B&W images for the sake of creating another B&W image. Not all color images convert succesfully to B&W.

Enough from me, I’m interested to hear what you have to say.

“With color we look at the photography, with B&W we look into the photograph.” Anonymous 

 

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Posted in B&W Also tagged |

Mesquite Wave

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Fuji X-E2 – 18-55 lens at 18mm

The mesquite wave sounds like something fans would do at a football game.  In this case, I was doing the Mesquite wave in Death Valley!  I just fell (literally on my knees to get low) in love with this shape and am thrilled with the result.  I cropped a bit off the top as there was just too much negative space.

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Posted in B&W, Death Valley Also tagged , , , |

Longwood does b&w

Being in a b&w state of mind lately, I couldn’t help but convert this one from Longwood Gardens.  Have a great week!
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Fuji X-E2 – 55-200mm

Posted in B&W Also tagged , , |