Monochrome Moments – 3

I’ve touched on Camera Club competitions before.  Well, we had another Camera Club competition last night and the theme for this competition was ‘Monochrome’, so I thought that a post about my efforts in this competition might fit the ‘Monochrome Moments’ series quite well.  I know that some ‘online photographers’ don’t have much time for Camera Clubs and competitions, and I do understand that point of view.  The Club does, however, get me out on a Monday night and it’s good to be able to mix with like minded people.  I also have a bit of a competitive streak in me, so it seems natural to enter the competitions and give support to the Club’s efforts in running them.

The Judge for this competition was very experienced, so I don’t think that there was much dissent from the opinions that he passed on the evening’s images, certainly not from me.  I thought that I would use ‘Monochrome Moments – 3’ to describe what I may have learned from last night’s judging of one of my entries.

Although sometimes I have managed to shoot specifically for a competition, frequently I find myself trawling through recent images that I have taken, trying to decide what might make a suitable entry.  For this competition I needed four images but this post will talk about just one.

None of the observations that the judge made are new.  We are all aware of the potential pitfalls that a photographer can make.  The problem is that we can also momentarily forget some of these pitfalls when we spot an image that we think just needs to be captured.  This was what I was guilty of when pressing the shutter release on this occasion.  The next image is the one that I entered although the original vision was of a colour image.

The sun was low, the scene was peaceful and I really loved the reflections.  I wanted to capture these reflections.  I also wanted to use the path to the Mill as a ‘lead in’, and I spotted the small boat pulled up on the shore on the right hand side, thinking that this might add interest to the scene. Click!

Carew Tidal Mill
Carew Tidal Mill

Go on – pull it apart.  Well, the Mill isn’t ‘on a third’, which I thought was acceptable bearing in mind I had already considered what I wanted to show.  The power lines and poles hadn’t really been considered.  I think I knew that they were there, but didn’t think them an issue at the time.  The judge last night did appreciate the reflections, but thought that the right hand end of the image was not worth keeping.  He would rather have seen the Mill depicted in a portrait configuration, which would have had the benefit of removing ‘the ugly post on the right’ (his words).  Sometimes ‘less’ is ‘more’ was a message that he passed several times during the evening.  I couldn’t get a ‘vertical’ crop without loosing the ‘lead in’ from the bottom left, so I opted to try a square crop. Since the judge didn’t like the power lines and the post on the right, I took the opportunity to remove the rest of them.  Here is a ‘letterbox’ crop like the original effort, but with the offending electricity removed.

Carew Tidal Mill

Having listened to the judge’s words, and taken another critical look at the image, I have to agree with him.  I do now think that the square crop is best, even though I do still like the original ‘letterbox’ crop.  What I have learned is that I do need to be much more critical at the stage where the image is recorded, and also that it is well worth exploring the options when preparing an image for competition, posting or printing.  Available time is of course the thing that will likely make me forget what I have learned.

That’s it for Monochrome Moments – 3.  Perhaps another of my entries for last night’s competition will make it into Monochrome Moments – 4.

Monochrome Moments – 2

The next one in this series is also from our walk around London at the end of October.  Having walked through the City, we were returning to the South Bank over the Millenium Bridge.  Having just fitted my Samyang Fisheye, I thought it would be worth a bit of a ‘panorama’ looking downstream towards The Shard.  I guess that I could have used this image in the Fisheye Fun series, but having done a mono conversion, I thought that this series might be more appropriate.

Although it is not so far, the fisheye lens makes Tower Bridge appear miles away.  The B&W conversion was done by ‘fiddling around’ in Topaz B&W Effects.  I can’t remember the actual adjustments now.

From The Millenium Bridge

I guess that if I could have worked out how to do it, this could have been an entry into the five days black and white challenge suggested by Mike Osborn in his comment to my Monochrome Moments – 1.  I may just go ahead and post a few more on a daily basis anyway.

Monochrome Moments – 1

I’ve been dabbling more and more with B&W conversions of my photos.  I really like the way it can transform shots taken on a gloomy day, but I also find that removal of the distraction of colour can often allow a better appreciation of the picture.  I’m beginning to think that almost any picture can make a good B&W image, although bold shapes, patterns, textures and strong contrast produce the best.

In the future, I will probably post a fair few monochrome images.  This is the first of my Monochrome Moments. It was snapped when walking past 20 Fenchurch street, otherwise known as the Walkie Talkie building, in the City of London.

The Walkie Talkie

In this image, we have mainly shapes, lines and texture.  The texture is provided by the ‘sunshade’, introduced since the ‘solar glare’ off the south face of the original building was responsible for melting parts of the bodywork of a number of cars.

Actually, this B&W version is not so different from the original colour shot, which looked pretty monochrome on that day.

Frigiliana Chimneys

There is another post from our recent holiday in Frigiliana on its way.  This will contain a series of colour photos, continuing the theme of ‘Some Spanish Sunshine’.  Our visits into Frigiliana were generally in the evening, as the light was beginning to warm up a bit, but before the ‘Golden Hour’.  The white houses, for which Frigiliana is famous, generally still look pretty white in my photos.

I also had a shot that I had taken later, of some chimneys, when the sun had actually dropped out of sight from this part of Frigiliana.  As a result, the scene was beginning to look a little too blue to me.  I wondered whether I could find a B&W treatment that would improve it.  I fiddled around using Topaz B&W and after trying various presets and tweaking them around a little, I prefered this variation to the bluish tint of the colour image.  It is a white house but I think it looks better grey, than blue.  To me, it looks right.

As it doesn’t fit the ‘Some Spanish Sunshine’ theme, here it is, alone.

Frigiliana Chimneys B&W