Get in­spired with ten projects ded­i­cated to the art of moody mono

Practical Photography (UK) - - Contents -

#7 Grab an op­por­tu­nity

IF SHOOT­ING CON­DI­TIONS ARE SOME­TIMES far from ideal, don’t give up, just look for al­ter­na­tives, like Tony Shaw (in­sta­gram.com/ tonyshaw6387) did to get this fan­tas­tic shot.

“I have a pas­sion for long ex­po­sure pho­tog­ra­phy and I love tak­ing pho­tos of water­falls and seascapes. In Feb­ru­ary I planned my first trip to Snow­do­nia to pho­to­graph water­falls on the River Afon Lloer. On the day we were greeted by tor­ren­tial rain and high winds and we knew we would be shoot­ing di­rectly into the weather, mak­ing it im­pos­si­ble to cap­ture the shots we were af­ter. So we turned back to look for some­thing more suit­able and came across this small wa­ter­fall on the side of the A5. It was partly shel­tered by large rocks, so I was able to get this photo. I con­verted it to black & white and used mul­ti­ple Ad­just­ment Lay­ers and Dodge and Burn Tools to com­plete the post-pro­cess­ing.”

#8 Get graph­i­cal

Black & white can turn the most mun­dane ob­jects into fine art, so long as you’ve got an eye for the graphic. De­nis Ra­der­mecker (500px.com/denis­ra­der­mecker) took a good start­ing point and made it even bet­ter with some clever edit­ing. “I took this pic­ture hand­held while walk­ing through the city of Düs­sel­dorf look­ing for cityscapes to be shot at the blue hour. The sil­ver colour and re­flect­ing lin­ings of the façade di­rectly caught my eye. But at this time of the day, the light and the sky wasn’t great. So I took this shot any­way, try­ing to re­mem­ber the ad­vice that I read in PP on how to make dy­namic ur­ban land­scapes.

“I de­vel­oped the RAW file in Light­room and de­cided on a square crop to omit ev­ery­thing that was dis­tract­ing. I didn’t get the con­trast I wanted in the sky so I re­placed that area with a black to white gra­di­ent in Pho­to­shop. Fi­nally, I flipped the can­vas 90º to en­hance the graphic el­e­ment.”

#9 Keep your cam­era primed

WORK­ING ON AS­SIGN­MENT WITHIN A LIM­ITED time-frame means you have to be ready to get your shot when­ever you can. Glas­gow-based multi-genre pho­tog­ra­pher Tony Clerk­son (tony­clerk­son.pho­to­shel­ter.com) was primed to take this evoca­tive mono image of a beau­ti­ful beast.

“The photo was taken in Es­tan­cia Los Potreros in the Cor­doba re­gion of Ar­gentina. I was there on a com­mis­sion for the es­tan­cia. It’s a work­ing farm in the Sier­ras Chi­cas hills, which of­fers tourists an au­then­tic in­sight into ru­ral cul­ture in the land of the gau­cho. This was my first day on the ranch and I’d gone out to meet the polo stal­lion, Car­iño. I didn’t have much ex­pe­ri­ence with horses, but I soon learned they’re beau­ti­ful crea­tures and a won­der­ful chal­lenge to pho­to­graph. As the pic­ture shows, they seem to be game for a laugh too. I had the cam­era on a fast shut­ter speed, so when Car­iño made his move I was able to get the shot, as in all the other ones he’s be­ing per­fectly well-be­haved!”

#10 Try a mono long ex­po­sure

When you’re faced with a scene that ev­ery­one has pho­tographed, the creative use of mono can give you an edge. James Breeze (james­breezepho­tog­ra­phy. com) uses it to mag­i­cal ef­fect here. “The Lone Tree on the shore of Lake But­ter­mere is one of the most pho­tographed trees in Eng­land, so it can be dif­fi­cult to cap­ture a unique image there. I’m al­ways think­ing about how to sim­plify my work and com­po­si­tions, and work­ing in black & white re­ally strips a com­po­si­tion and sim­pli­fies the sub­ject, giv­ing me room to adapt to ev­er­chang­ing weather pat­terns and drift­ing light, where colour im­ages can be­come too busy.

“A long ex­po­sure meant I was able to cap­ture the moody tones in what was quite a stormy day. The mo­tion of the blurred grass and move­ment in the tree gives it a unique feel that re­ally stands in out black & white.”

Above The Dodge and Burn Tools are key to work­ing up a good black & white image in the edit.

Right Use shut­ter-pri­or­ity and a fast shut­ter speed to max­imise your chances of grab­bing an ac­tion shot.

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