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