Black and White

Black and White

I love black and white photography. It’s where I started when I purchased my first camera. My next door neighbor where I grew up went to Ohio State University and got a degree in Medical Communication.  As part of his education, he took photography classes.  He used to come home and show me some of the things he had been doing.  I was blown away by what you could do with photography.  I decided that at some point in my life, I would get my own camera and learn how to use it.  Later, when I attended Ohio State, I got that camera and took classes on photography and photojournalism.  I  learned how to use that camera (a Minolta SRT 201) and process the black and white film myself.

 I loved being in the dark room with the safety light burning over my head. I loved the smell of the developer and fixer. I loved watching the print emerge from the developer as you lifted and lowered the developing tray. I loved bringing the images out into the regular light and really looking closely at them to see where I needed to do extra work, dodging areas that were too dark and burning in areas that were too light.  I loved getting the spot tone out and painting little dots of black on the spots that showed up on the print (today we use the clone stamp and healing brush to fix those).  I loved mounting the image onto the mat board and seeing the finished product, or seeing your images in print in the newspaper.

I miss that. I miss being in a room full of enlargers and other photographers around you working on their images. But with digital photography taking over from film photography, much easier to do all that in the computer. Now, I long for the time I spend behind the camera composing an image, really looking at the light and making sure that the image looks great and capturing the image. I look forward to getting home and getting the images into the computer so that I can start to really look at them, really start to see what needs to happen to make that a truly special image.

For these images above, I use a software tool to convert them to Black and White.  I love the way that it gets the tones just right and it also allows me to emulate different film styles, like Kodak Panatomic X 32 ASA film.  I really liked shooting that film.  It had a slow speed with a really nice fine grain to it, but the best part was the velvety blacks and luminous whites that you got from that film.  

Learning from the Masters

Learning from the Masters

Learning from the Masters

I’ve been waiting to work on this one for a long time. I snapped this one a long time ago, and planned to work on it someday. I loved the image of the young boy emulating the older men learning how to fish in the surf.  The best part is the two men with their hands on their hips. When I saw the image on the beach, I knew I wanted it in black and white so that it had a nostalgic feel to it.  I remember following my dad and doing the things he wanted to do, just so I could be with him.  He worked a day job during the week and at night and on the weekends he farmed my Great-Grandfather’s farm with his uncle, cousin, and his cousin’s roommate.  I tagged along so that I could be with him.  He didn’t have a lot of free time to spend with me, and it was the only way that we got a chance to do things together.

I thought that it was pretty cool to be working on the farm, driving the tractors and the farm trucks.  I got to learn from the masters how to run that farm and how life was tied up in a cycle of life.  I could understand that the meat that ended up on our table came from the animals we raised.  It’s kind of like how this boy will learn that the life he takes from the ocean will feed his family.

Piano In The Home

Piano

Piano

I didn’t get a chance to post this one last night, but here’s the photo for Jan. 20.  We got this piano a while ago.  My wife wanted a piano in the home for the sound of the music. I find the sound of the piano to be very relaxing.  She and I both took lessons when we were kids, but haven’t played much since.  Our children both played instruments in the High School Marching band and did a lot of practicing sitting at this piano.  My sister also plays (and plays really well) so sometimes she plays when she comes over (though not often).

I’ve read that you can keep the onset of Alzheimer’s and Dementia by learning a new language or learning to play a musical instrument.  Maybe it’s time to start practicing again.  It does need a good tune up and some of the keys are sticking, but that can be fixed.