Black and white was once the only means we had to communicate, photographically. That was long before most of us got involved with it. But for some of us, B&W is how we started off in photography, and how we saw our images in print. But since the beginning of photography, black and white has been a very romantic medium. That romance continues to this day, with black and white easier and simpler to do than ever. And yet, for some, it’s just as complicated and difficult as ever. Perhaps this will give you some ideas to advance your black and white photography.
You can go to school, learn concepts and theories, and do very well as a student. But there are some things that you won't learn in school about being a photographer and a creative. Because of this, you'll most often be learning as you go, and trying to adapt to the ever changing environment.
We talked to nine creative professionals about what they learned.
A long time ago, I wrote an article entitled Bag of Confidence, and ever since, many have turned to me with their equipment questions. I would love to profess that I was smart enough to have just the right camera gear from the get go, but such is not the case. Like so many in the field, having the right camera gear was a trial-by-error methodology for much of the beginning of my photography career. I was asked to write this piece in the hope that you might learn from my mistakes, and build on my successes. So here’s how my camera bag has in it what it does today.
I was in the midst of traveling home from my seventh crossing of the country in as many weeks this year, when my frequent-flier program proudly reminded my tired butt that I’d already flown 38K miles in 2012. I am very fortunate that I get to travel, shoot and teach as much as I do. I am a confirmed road warrior, being on the road about six months out of every year. It goes with the job title: Photographer.
Summer is typically when most photographers tend to hit the road for either their vacation, or that long anticipated trip to some exciting and exotic locale. Traveling by air—in particular, traveling with camera gear—can add a layer of stress that can prevent many from hopping onto a plane and going,altogether. I think I can take care of that for you.
There is a definite art to travel; getting your gear to your destination safely with minimal stress makesyour photography just that much better once you arrive. Much of it centers on common sense, and the rest is simply insider tricks gleaned from traveling way too much. But don’t fear; it’s something everyone can master the first time out, so let’s get traveling!
I'd been saving for months and months, which seemed like a lifetime, and I didn’t even have a driver’s license yet. I’d given my savings to my dad to pick it up early that day. I sat in class, and the clock seemed to be going in reverse. I had a volleyball tournament after school, but I hoped my dad would show up before the whistle. The match started, then the second game, and then the third, yet I didn’t see him. Then, in the fourth game I saw him come in with a brown paper bag, and take a seat next to Sharon. That just killed me—not sitting next to Sharon—but knowing that in that bag was basically my life's savings. Wouldn’t you know it? We tied up the match and went into overtime. That I was spiking with all my might goes without saying. Finally, with the last serve, an ace, the match was over, and before anything else, I ran over to the bleachers. He handed me the paper bag with a big smile. I opened it, and inside I saw that brand new Minolta 200 f4 lens I’d been saving so long for. I was in love!
Editor's Note: This is a guest blog post from Moose Peterson
“What’s the best f-stop?” This is the second most commonly asked question that arrives in my inbox. It’s no surprise—depth of field (DOF) is a mystery, since you really can’t see it in the viewfinder of your DSLR. No matter if you’re just beginning or a seasoned pro, this is a question you should always ask yourself when you put that camera to your eye. (In fact, you should be asking that before then.) It’s not a question you should be asking Moose. Not that I don’t know the answer, but I only know the answer for my own photography. Since it’s your storytelling, you need be the judge of what the best f-stop is.
But how do you get to that point, come to learn, and to own the right lens with the best f-stop for your photography?
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