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.  

Discovery Playground

Discovery Playground

Looking through the rings

Playgrounds in the winter seem so lonely to me.  It’s as if they are missing the children playing on them.  They are waiting.  Waiting for warm breezes to move the swings.  Bright, warm sunshine to light up the drawings and the colors of the wood.  Waiting for the laughter echoing through the tunnels and passageways built into the structure

This is from the Discovery Playground near the grade school my children attended.  This playground was built by parents in the neighborhood.  All of the labor and materials were donated.  I got to help build it.  We did it on a very rainy saturday.  The team leading the construction had set up temporary electrical outlets with ground fault circuit interruptors on them and as you were working with your power tools, you had to stop every few minutes to walk back over to the outlet to reset the circuit.  No one was injured or electrocuted that day.  When it was finished it was fantastic. They had swings, rings, and musical chimes that the children could play.  There were secret tunnels that only children could crawl through.  We would play tag and hide and seek there for hours.

I really liked the name Discovery Playground.  I discovered that I could still be a kid as an adult and enjoy just chasing one another around a magical place.