Seeing in Black and White

I have had some growing pains over the years, as I learned to use my new digital camera. It was a world of difference over film, and I humbly admit that I did, on occasion, get caught up in the allure of certain “features” the camera offered. Remember that colour bleed, where you pull just one colour out of the photo? Guilty. Putting the date and time right on the photo so “I will know when and where I took it”? So shamefully guilty. Let’s not even get into those different modes and other bells and whistles. I still hang my head low when I think of sepia.

One feature that stood out over all the others was black and white. Now, hindsight proves to me that I should have just done this in post-processing, but even though I will never see these shots in full colour, I still think they produced some great results. Sometimes life is just better in shades of grey. You can focus on composition, or sometimes you just get damn lucky (this was my case at the time) and discover something on your memory card that really captures your memories and your heart.

So here’s a pointer. Learn how to use your camera, but stay away from all of those features. Many of these you can do later on. If you do have some know-how with post processing, shoot in RAW format if your camera allows, but even with normal .jpegs you can do a lot in processing programs like Photoshop, Lightroom, iPhoto, Picasa, etc.

For old time’s sake, here are a few of the photos I loved, from a Europe trip back in 2005. I’ll never make the same mistake again, but I will treasure these particular shots forever.

Mike Poppe is currently researching Iceland, and taking all his photographs for Trufflepig in full colour.

Sometimes life is just better in shades of grey.

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