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Shooting in Monochrome!

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
I think the topic of "Shooting in Monochrome" is worth its own thread. So this discussion continues from Mike's recent thread here.


Mike,

I now realize we who shoot in color miss out on the presence monochrome might give you as an advantage at the time you compose the picture.

I now realize that this picture is conceived as B&W even before the shutter is released. There's no wondering how it might appear. The LCD screen will show the image in B&W at the time the image is composed.






Mike Shimwell: Untitled

Mother and Child



What was invisible to me before It's so obvious now: the focus on the girl's hands and the soft periphery written so gently, to surround the two in a dreamlike place!

The Leica monochrome with the Zeiss lens appears to be a wonderful combo for this work. Kudos!

Asher
 

Antonio Correia

Well-known member
Mike, I came home from US recently and there I met one of my friends' son who owned a couple of bodies, adapters and a large amount of lenses from many brands.

He has an adaptor Panasonic - Leica and he took a picture of me in Donner Lake in a bright and sunny day as usual in CA. I love that picture because it has a superb detail and gorgeous I don't know what that attracts me. OK it is a portrait in bright daylight but ... well I do like it.
It is not the sharpness that attracts me but rather the tones, the subtlety ... oh I can't explain !
Will I have the courage to buy a Leica lens, at least ?

I am telling you this just because I noticed how all the tones are in your image.
The pillow at the far end is not burned and the detail in the shadow areas of the lady's face is clearly visible.
What a picture ! The composition is also pretty good.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Of course I do not intend to hijack your thread Mike but I came home from US recently and there I met one of my friends' son who owned a couple of bodies, adapters and a large amount of lenses from many brands.

He has an adaptor Panasonic - Leica and he took a picture of me in Donner Lake in a bright and sunny day as usual in CA. I love that picture because it has a superb detail and gorgeous I don't know what that attracts me. OK it is a portrait in bright daylight but ... well I do like it.
It is not the sharpness that attracts me but rather the tones, the subtlety ... oh I can't explain !
Will I have the courage to buy a Leica lens, at least ?

I am telling you this just because I noticed how all the tones are in your image.
The pillow at the far end is not burned and the detail in the shadow areas of the lady's face is clearly visible.
What a picture ! The composition is also pretty good.

I doubt that anyone really needs to go beyond the lens. Mike used a Zeiss f2.0 lens but recorded it on a Leica Monochrom. That image, or one close to it, not better or worse, could also be made by using the lens on a Leica, Canon, Nikon or Sony camera with the appropriate workflow. Today, the lens pretty well defines the look of the image once one has taken a color calibration image to account for the idiosynchratics of each manufacturers camera body.

However, all these tedious decisions are built in to the Leica Monochrom. What one sees is indeed v. close to what one gets.

With all the other cameras, however, one could develop a favorite processing profile from color to B&W and then there's perhaps a little more control over the distribution of identically bright hues to different tonalities so as to be able to see more clearly patterns that could otherwise be somewhat masked.

Still, the photograph here shows that you have a perfect tool for immediacy in B&W photography. That's a creative advantage as the thoughts can carry through from revisualization to the final print.

Asher
 

Mike Shimwell

New member
Still, the photograph here shows that you have a perfect tool for immediacy in B&W photography. That's a creative advantage as the thoughts can carry through from revisualization to the final print.

Asher

Yes, the key advantage, for me, in the Monochrom is the fact of working in mono from start to finish of the process. It gives a different impetus ccompared to shooting in colour and then having infinite choices in processing. I find the constraint is freeing.

I think in part this reflects my history with black and white film (there remains stock around the house), but also a philosophical bent that doesn't perceive infinite choice as inherently positive. Similarly, I use the 50mm lens more than any other and only occasionally change.

In terms of working practice, I only review images on the lcd occasionally (auto review is off), and then only to check exposure. Editing is for later. I recently have used a Panasonic GX7 for a holiday due to a battery issue with the Leica and it was a very strange experience for me. 3 lenses (14, 20 and 45) and set the evf to mono. I was very disoriented when Lightroom displayed the raw files in colour. Interestingly, on the GX7 (like an slr) I gravitate towards 85 to 90mm (35mm full frame equivalent) focal lengths. I do like the ability to switch aspect ratios though. More to show later perhaps.

Mike
 

Mike Shimwell

New member
Here is an image from the GX7, made with the evf in mono mode and subsequently converted from raw to mono in lightroom. The wide aspect ration is actually cropped wider from the widest (16:9) setting on the GX7.

Mike

 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Here is an image from the GX7, made with the evf in mono mode and subsequently converted from raw to mono in lightroom. The wide aspect ration is actually cropped wider from the widest (16:9) setting on the GX7.
Mike

Good, we have someone with a GX7! It seems very capable from reports. I wonder how large one can print?



The picture is quite beautiful and peaceful with the line of trees towards the horizon and the long horizontal wisps of clouds. I really like this composition. Just a smaller fussy point - I'd have liked the dark cloud on the right to have been completed. How do you feel about altering what you captured and took home? Would you ever consider either adding to the right a tad so as to complete the cloud or erase the right edge for the same effect?

In this instance, Mike, did you have to explore B&W conversions in Lightroom or did you go straight for the effect seen on the LCD screen when you took the picture?

Does the extra leeway in expression help you or is it a diversion?

Asher
 

Antonio Correia

Well-known member
I also like last Mike's image using the GX7.

However, I would be more worried about the grey spot above the dark cloud than about itself.

It looks like some kind of dust on the sensor but perhaps is just a coincidence.

And... on the left side there is a black spot which is perhaps a large bird going home.
 

Antonio Correia

Well-known member
I understand your point of view regarding the "tedious decisions" already built into Leica Monochrome but I wonder if that is not also a disadvantage...

Photographing in color looks to me - and I may be wrong - that one can control each and every color with saturation, vibrancy and so on. When the photograph is made in black and white from the beginning one lose this control. Just my two cents as you American say, I suppose.

I couldn't afford a Leica but if I could, I would not buy this specific version. Of course if a more solid bank account was available then yes I would, just to try.

But no. I am saying foolish things. I would instead rent a monochromatic Leica just for the fun of it. Oh well, never mind. :)

But excuse me Asher but I insist: there is a difference between the photographs taken with any lens and Leica's.
A couple of month ago a friend of mines came here and I photographed with his ” not so good" lenses from Canon.
Here, in from of the computer I could see how the difference was enormous.

I can't explain but there is a difference between images made with Leica lens and Canon's or any other.

I have no doubt that great images can be achieved with less expensive equipment.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
………..

But excuse me Asher but I insist: there is a difference between the photographs taken with any lens and Leica's.
A couple of month ago a friend of mines came here and I photographed with his ” not so good" lenses from Canon.
Here, in from of the computer I could see how the difference was enormous.

I can't explain but there is a difference between images made with Leica lens and Canon's or any other.

I have no doubt that great images can be achieved with less expensive equipment.
Antonia,

Although I myself like assigning colors to B&W densities, I am moving in general to trying to get what I want with just the click of the shutter. in my studio, I have now reached the point where I can do that with color and I realize how much time I'm saving myself to be creative.

So from the standpoint of efficiency in use of work and creative leisure time, the capturing the picture in monochrome is a valuable option. Still, this decision is just one of many in the choices for making B&W pictures. A more important choice might be the "character" of the lens.

Each of the lens types impart a "filtration" of what the camera captures when one releases that shutter. It could be argued that this character might be much more important in making the B&W pictures than the choice between monochrome, (worked out be the camera itself) or the greater freedom for post-processing assignment of hues using a full gamut color workflow.

Asher
 
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