Old 05-11-2011, 01:22 PM   #1
Hatchetman
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Default Great B&W on RP this week

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Old 05-11-2011, 01:55 PM   #2
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Nice selection indeed! Thanks for noticing. And thanks to Admin for recognizing one of them as the PoTW.

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When processing a shot for this site, the decision to go color vs. B&W is agonizing....for me at least. You know going in that B&W will kill off a lot of potential views....I have seen enough evidence to be convinced of that. Perhaps it is a sign that the demographic in the railfan community is shifting to a generation that never shot any Tri-X or watched an episode of Petticoat Junction in B&W.

But in the case of my shot of the WPY Rotary Fleet at Fraser,BC, there was never much question. To heck with the views, to me at least, that shot was just way too cool in B&W.

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Old 05-11-2011, 02:17 PM   #3
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Kevin - any advice as far as processing goes? How to get that contrasty "old school" effect?
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Old 05-11-2011, 02:31 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hatchetman View Post
Kevin - any advice as far as processing goes? How to get that contrasty "old school" effect?
Simple answer: CURVES! I'm clearly no expert, but messing with that feature has really opened my eyes, particularly when shooting back-lit, which I did a TON of in Alaska. Most processing software offers some type of toning curve....and there is definitely a learning CURVE. You will probably produce a lot of junk until you figure it out, but once you do, you won't post a shot without tweaking it at least some with that feature.
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Old 05-11-2011, 02:33 PM   #5
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Thanks! I will spend more time messing with that.
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Old 05-11-2011, 02:57 PM   #6
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Lightbulb My thoughts on B&W.

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...[portion omitted]... Perhaps it is a sign that the demographic in the railfan community is shifting to a generation that never shot any Tri-X or watched an episode of Petticoat Junction in B&W. ...[portion omitted]...
You have hit the nail on the head and the older members of that demographic are now closing in on 50.

I can remember B&W TV and I would never watch that medium again - I would read a book.

Further, I prefer color images because that is the way the world appears and I/we (my demographic) are accustom to viewing it that way.

To me B&W means "old" and that is probably why the view numbers on B&W images are lower.

Nowadays, B&W means art and I too like to work in that medium on occasion, however it is not the norm.

Even when I was shooting film, the only reason why I used B&W was because I was a poor student and could not afford color.

Additionally, once I started developing and printing in color I never went back to B&W.

Now B&W has a certain allure and I have a B&W roll of film in my Canon AE-1 as we speak, however that is just for kicks.
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Old 05-11-2011, 03:02 PM   #7
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To me B&W tends to be more artistic vs. the utilitarian/reality of color. My eyes see color all the time, so B&W is novel/interesting. the removal of the color lets you focus on the shapes/shadows/contrast etc.
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Old 05-11-2011, 03:35 PM   #8
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The beauty of B&W, to me. was that you could do your own processing and print stuff in a dark room. Printing pictures was like watching magic happen.

The value of B&W was that for the same film speed, it was finer grained than color.
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Old 05-11-2011, 03:49 PM   #9
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Nice to see:
I agree! When done right, B&W can be quite provocative.

I have a B&W in the queue - been there for a while as new image leap frog over. Odd... if it's borderline with a screener, why not just let it in? Good decision, it gets lots of views. Bad decision, it's gone in a day. Anyway, got fingers crossed. I wouldn't upload if I didn't like it.

/Mitch
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Old 05-11-2011, 03:52 PM   #10
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The beauty of B&W, to me. was that you could do your own processing and print stuff in a dark room. Printing pictures was like watching magic happen.
You could do that with color, only there was no watching the magic since it was all done in the dark.

It was also a lot of work and the chemicals were temperature dependent and did not last long.

It was also more expensive then B&W.

I like digital.
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Old 05-11-2011, 04:38 PM   #11
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I agree! When done right, B&W can be quite provocative.

I have a B&W in the queue - been there for a while as new image leap frog over. Odd... if it's borderline with a screener, why not just let it in? Good decision, it gets lots of views. Bad decision, it's gone in a day. Anyway, got fingers crossed. I wouldn't upload if I didn't like it.

/Mitch
Mitch - you are right! There is a part of human nature that makes us spend MORE time the LESS the difference between the choices - because it is harder to discern the difference. The less the difference between choices the less incremental value one has over the other. So, we tend to spend a lot of time on things that matter very little.

I imagine that if you blindly passed all the shots by all the screeners, you'd wind up with them falling into three categories. One, where most of them would approve, one where most of them would disapprove and one where they would be split.

If you have submitted a shot that would fall in the "split decision" bucket, it's really a crap shoot whether you get it approved or not on the first or second submission and probably not very much dependent on how you tweak it per the reject reason.

But, this is a business driven by economic and technical issues, as well. Is the database on a scalable platform? Most aren't - even when they claim to be - the best ones are big bucks! Is the work flow process flexible or does it require a lot of work to change it. (e.g. could they go to a screener poling system rather than "one and done"?). How does the amount of new uploaded material cause the website "click rate" to vary? Is there a point of diminishing returns that creates an optimum, target number of shots per day to be accepted?
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Old 05-11-2011, 07:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinM View Post
When processing a shot for this site, the decision to go color vs. B&W is agonizing....for me at least. You know going in that B&W will kill off a lot of potential views....I have seen enough evidence to be convinced of that. Perhaps it is a sign that the demographic in the railfan community is shifting to a generation that never shot any Tri-X or watched an episode of Petticoat Junction in B&W.

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My favourite use for B&W is when I take a backlit shot with really strong lighting. Under those circumstances, the colour is generally weak, and using B&W tends to focus the interest on the lighting and texture.

Your shot is fortunate enough to work both ways. In B&W the contrast and texture of the exhaust plumes against the snow is spectacular, but sunshine, snow and blue sky is always a winner as well on a nicely composed picture

I've really enjoyed your recent shots, well done.

I shall have to dig out some of my B&W negs (Kodak Plus-X Pan and Ilford FP4) and see if I can get a decent scan out of them.
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