Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Apparently, keeping up with regular updates on a blog is a bit tougher than I imagined. Not to make excuses, but the last 2 1/2 weeks have been quite busy. Obviously, since my last post I have had some time to familiarize myself with Apple Aperture 3. The transition was a bit bumpier than I expected mostly affected by my need to know exactly how something works (didn't I mention that in a previous post?). But, I managed to import my photos...at least 2 or 3 times before I finally settled on a library structure I am happy with.

As far as picture taking goes, it seems like the last month has been pretty slow. But, there's been plenty to occupy my mind: getting the kitchen ready to paint, researching chickens...and then buying some, researching chicken coops...still need to construct one, kids.

But, as I strolled across the parking lot last Friday to end my work day, I noticed the sky was filled with puffy white clouds. The light wasn't perfect, but it wasn't bad, either. Instantly I knew that I had to take some back roads home. My quest was in finding some landscapes where the final image(s) would be converted to black and white. Sounds easy, but it's not!

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugFirst, harsh mid-day light, in my opinion, can provide some of the best lighting situations for black and white photography. I don't think I'm the first to realize this, either. There's just something about the deep shadows, bright light, and available contrast that make it work. If you want an idea of what I'm talking about, go through any set of so-so, ho-hum landscape photos (color ones) taken during mid-day lighting and convert them to black and white. I guarantee they will take on a whole new look with far greater emotional impact. It won't instantly make them great, but most of them will be better. When I said earlier that it, "sounds easy," what I'm referring to is the idea that it IS very easy to take any color photo that wasn't specifically taken to be a black and white image and convert it to black and white and think, "Hmm, that looks a lot better." But, that rarely works when trying to produce really good black and white photos. Instead, finding landscapes where you already know you want black and white as the final output can be very difficult because you have to visualize the tones and create a pleasing contrast with those tones. Also, in working and visualizing black and white you lose a powerful design element in color. Instead, you have to rely more on other design elements such as patterns, lines, textures, and shapes to make the image interesting.

So, without further delay I present my first two photos edited using Aperture. Both of these photos were specifically taken with a final conversion to black and white already in my mind. I have to say that Aperture offers some great tools for black and white conversion and the ability to play around with those tools rather easily. I'm still getting to know the software, so the entire process took quite a while before I was happy with the final results. None-the-less, I think it's the start of a good relationship!


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