The Daily Focal Point

November 17, 2008

PHOTO CHALLENGE: B&W PHOTOGRAPHY

Filed under: B&W Architecture, Photo Challenges! — cabenelson @ 4:18 pm

I am completely blown away with the pictures this week. I was sitting in church yesterday and I got like 4 of them in a row on my Blackberry. (I know, on my Blackberry in church… Please don’t strike me down) I am still so excited with the high level of execution each of you had on this challenge!! Seriously ask my wife, I’ve been flipping out about it.

So before I start talking about how crappy my photo was in comparison (which it is) here they are in no particular order.

Stacy B&W Architecture
Stacy sent me this one in color and in black in white. She explains, “So I’m really liking this picture that I took yesterday, but it looks a ton better in color.” Stacy, I couldn’t agree with you more which is a big deal for me, I love black and white and it usually takes something big for me to change. There is something about it in color that makes it pop even more and that’s the funny thing, there isn’t a whole lot of color but it’s enough to give the different parts of the building tone. I love the texture and shapes with the dome. It’s a great main subject highlighted by the circular windows below. This picture is perfectly framed by the brick building to the left and the white lettering on the red brick is the icing on the cake. Stacy, this photo is awesome and it was beautifully captured. Part of the reason it looks better in color is that it brings out some of the dynamic to it. Stacy asked in her email, “Do you have any suggestions to what I can do to the black and white photo?” My suggestion would be if you DO put it in B&W you’ll need to lighten parts of the picture and darken other parts. The photo can look flat in B&W because it loses some of the tone. You won’t be able to accomplish this by simply messing with the Brightness/Contrast as you’ll lose a lot of great detail in the left side of the photo. You’ll need to use the dodge and burn tools in Photoshop and dodge (or lighten) the pigeons on top, the lettering, the contrast in the brick building. And you’ll need to burn more of the dome shingles to add more texture and allow the picture to “POP” more. BUT, in color it’s beautiful and why mess with a beautiful thing? Excellent Photo! And check out her most recent post here, great photos!

Sheila Movie Theatre Black and White Adj
Everyone this is Dr. Cason. I’ve had a blast getting to know her over the past few weeks and her photos are beautiful, you need to check them out. This photo is absolutely mesmerizing as it goes beyond what few pictures are able to accomplish, it creates a mood. I didn’t know what it was about this photo but after looking at it for a while I’ve realized that Sheila has perfectly captured a mood altering picture. Sheila, I hope you take this as a good thing but this photo is fantastically depressing! I love it. The high contrast gives it a harder look which goes hand in hand with the run down building. The movie titles really set the mood to the photo. First thing I thought when I saw it was, “DANG! They don’t get movies in Guam until 5 years after they come out here!”
Great photo Sheila, really it’s awesome.

Mary Elizabeth B&W Architecture
If anybody hasn’t visited Mary Elizabeth’s Photography site you need to do so, her portraits are amazing. Seriously, have you ever noticed why I haven’t posted portraits on this site? It’s because she’s out there… taking these.
This is an excellent photo and has everything that (in my opinion) a good architectural photo should look like. It has high contrast, textures, shadows, and a ton of shapes and lines for your eyes to be pulled into different directions. Just the sheer amount of detail in this photo is awesome, from the rigid lines in the brick to the soft curves of arches and columns. Sometimes taking a photo of a building can be daunting as it’s usually hard to frame. I love this as Mary Elizabeth has taken a very specific part of the building to photograph. I also love that the angle is not head on, it’s off to the side and that creates a much more dynamic photo.

KJ santiago BW
I was so stoked when I saw this one. This is by my new friend KJ and this photo is stunning. I was so excited about it mainly because of how exotic it is. She said she cheated as this was an old photo (that’s okay mine was an old photo too!), it was taken in Santiago, Chile. I mean COME ON! (What brought you down to Chile anyways?) This is a complete polar opposite from Mary Elizabeth’s up close photo and it works beautifully! It’s tricky to take a photo of an entire building and make that the main subject, it’s like BAM, there’s the building! But when you angle it like KJ did and place it into proportion with the pedestrians it creates a great reference to the size and showcases the building’s true architecture. I love how KJ placed the other building behind it as a main subject in the photo. The angle provides an excellent depth of field. This is a perfect picture for showcasing architecture, you can also interpret the old world vs. new world with the two buildings. Great photo!

Ginger Archesbw
And last but certainly not least is my friend Ginger. I heart archway shots in B&W. This is wonderfully done and is a perfect example of linear perspective. The image drags your eyes to the left side and you follow it all the way down. This photo is all about lines. Check out the carved lines in the arches, the vertical lines of the pillars partnered with the horizontal lines of the white light across the hallway. Ginger also claims she cheated as this photo was taken last week but I don’t care because it’s beautiful.

Man! This really has been an amazing Photo Challenge. All the pictures that were submitted were just stunning! I did this so that we could all learn from each other but I think I learned the most and had a change of perspective. I’ll be making this a weekly thing so if anyone has any suggestions please let me know. Again, I’m just blown away with these pictures. Great job everyone and I can’t wait for next week’s challenge. I love seeing everybody’s perspective!

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