Dec 7, 2016

Setting Up for Black and White

I've pretty much made up my mind that this coming year I will spend a lot more time with b&w and try and work different topics then landscapes.   Doesn't mean I'm going to stop doing them just that I'm going to spend more time outside my comfort zone to try and increase my skills.

In the old film days I really couldn't afford to play with different films to get the different results although I did mess around a bit in the dark room.  But I was limited to a 400 ISO film that school supplied and out I went shooting.

Now I get to setup a digital camera and become familiar with all the different modes of black and white and then combine it with silver efex pro.   Holy crap, who knew there was so many different ways of doing 2 colours haha.

I'm not a fan of washed out grays but I do like good medium images with a great range of grays and I like solid blacks and solid whites.   Way outside of my world of colour.   The past couple of nights I've been reading up on Fuji settings for black and white and reading what some of my favourite modern photographers have to say.   I have set both my fuji x100s and x-t1 to the same settings as they have a very similar/identical sensor.   +2 highlights, +2 shadows, +1 sharpness with wide open aperture where I can and keep the speeds around 1/60 or 1/125, black and white with green filter and ISO under 6400.   Here are some early results playing around the house.   Conditions were very dark, I really need to start using some lamps;

So this was the first night - my buddy Jackson.   My first thoughts were not enough white put in, next time I'll add some highlights in LR.  Yes his eyes look funny, he has none - lol.   He's completely blind.   

This is my other dog Wookie.  She's pretty tiny and very shy of the camera.   Getting near her can be difficult and she has permanent staining around her eyes that does not work well with black and white.

The staining on this one is really unappealing in my eyes.

This was my favourite of the bunch.   I used a lamp off to the side and the ISO was lower giving a very sharp and crisp image.

This one wasn't bad either although I masked her and made it dark around her.   The biggest problem I have found with pets is getting the detail of the fine fur in contrast to the noise from low light conditions.   If you put any noise reduction on it kills the fur details completely, so either you live with the noise or you get soft images.

The guys who I am following are saying up to 6400 ISO, I has mine at max of 3200 and I was not pleased with those results.   I think on static items or outdoors the 6400 will be fine but when it comes to detail such as hair and fur that number will probably need to come down to about 1600 to be acceptable for me.

I gotta say, I like the result, although a bit more light will be wanted in the future.   Still need to start finding the best settings for a range of grays but these work nicely for pure black and pure white.


  1. Hi Scott! Glad to see your blog posts show up in my rss feed! Enjoyed visiting England through your photos and words, and to see what you're working on/through at the moment. Appreciate the photo struggles you're dealing with, cam size and lenses and subjects etc.

  2. Hey Candis, nice to hear from you! Once in awhile I check out twitter to see what your up to :-) Yes, lots of changes in my photography style and constantly playing with new ideas now that I have more time in my life. Slowly moving back to my basics of black and white but more towards the "street" and non-landscape stuff to challenge myself. Not that I will give up colour and landscape but just a new arena to play in. But the downside I realized is "starting street work in Ottawa in the winter is not the greatest idea" - lol! Take care my friend! :-)