Techniques from the Techs


A Day without Color




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Ken Hubbard    Armando Flores  Damion Fearron  Erica Robinson  Janet Vuong  Jeff Allen  Pat Nagle  André Costantini




Every time I go out for a day of shooting, like most of us I expect for the light and weather to be perfect, but lets get real, Mother Nature has a mind of her own. A big part of photography has to do with being at the right place, at the right time, and a little bit of luck. We can certainly control the place and time but if you haven’t guessed it, the luck part is the weather. These past several months I found myself in various places without any luck: smoke filled skies in Montana, thunderstorms in southern Utah, and cloudy overcast skies in other places. This however did not deter me and it shouldn’t deter you either, so if you find yourself in a similar situation look on the bright side, this is a perfect time to shoot Black & White. Grey dreary overcast skies might take away most of the color, but it will not take away the tonal range. Black & white photography is nothing more than capturing shades of grey anyway.

© Armando Flores
SP 24-70mm, 48mm, f/7.1, 1/400 sec., ISO 200
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© Armando Flores
SP 15-30mm, 15mm, f/8, 1/160 sec., ISO 50
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I prepare myself for a day of shooting the same way every time when it comes to my gear, I think about the lens or lenses that I’ll take with me. I will always pack at least one of my favorite Tamron SP G2 lenses the15-30mm f/2.8, 24-70mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/2.8, or the 90mm Macro. I will also consider the camera that I will use. I make sure that they are all clean and batteries fully charged. The only difference is that I might add an extra layer of protection for both my gear and I. I always shoot in color because you can easily de-saturate an image, but good luck in trying to put the color back. I look for a scene or a subject with a lot of tonal range, a subject with dark areas, light areas, and a lot more in between. In Photoshop I work with the highlights and the shadows, the whites and the blacks, the clarity, the contrast, and maybe the exposure. Then I will take the saturation tool and slide it all the way to the left to take whatever color there is away. I will often select HSL/Grayscale and work on each color present in the image separately this allows me to lighten or darken them individually. I am a fan of filters and I do think that in some circumstances they do a great job, especially if you want to create an image with a very dramatic or surreal look to it. For Black & White photography, I like NIK Silver Efex Pro 2. This is a set of plugin filters that you can open-up in Photoshop or Lightroom and you can simply select one of the preview images of your choice for the effect that you prefer. So the next time you find yourself in a less than ideal situation where nature has thrown you a curve with a bunch of lemons go out and make yourself some lemonade.

© Armando Flores
SP 45mm, f/13, 1/250 sec., ISO 100
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© Armando Flores
SP 24-70mm, 70mm, f/4.0, 1/30 sec., ISO 2000
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