Document nature waking up from a long Winter sleep for our Spring contest. But… all images MUST have been shot on a Nikon digital camera.
Deadline: 11 April 2015
Enter the contest – Official Website: photocrowd.com
This competition is organised by the Greek Gallery ‘Blank Wall’ in Athens. The winning photos will be exhibited in the gallery. For more information read here.
I feel that some photos are meant to be black and white for many reasons; because in color they would look very boring and common; because their forms and lines would be lost in a saturated polyphony; because their textures and details would seem insignificant when covered by vibrant hues; because in black and white they evoke the ‘right’ sense and the feelings we want to share with them.
How to figure out which photo to turn in black and white and which to keep in color, it’s rather a matter of intuition and taste, except the case of being an exclusively black and white photographer. The only thing you can actually control is to make the best when you create a black and white photo. And, the basic guidelines is almost the same in every tutorial and article.
I find it more time-consuming. I have my memory cards and my laptop full of raw photos that I have not yet process and published. But shooting in raw is definitely the only way to save the maximum information in every photo; textures, tones, gradients, shadows recovery, more shades of gray and details in highlights are all stored in your RAW file.
How many times I wanted to turn one of my photos in black and white only to discover that the sky or other big surfaces were full of noise, covered with small bright spots everywhere. This is very common in even things that cover a big part of the photo like the sky. A way to avoid grainy appearance is to reduce ISO. ISO 400 and under may give a satisfying result, but keep in mind to adjust shutter speed in order to have sharp images.
In a composition that lacks colors, lightened areas substitute their role; they help us distinguishing objects and areas. Choosing an hour of the day with bright sun would make our monochromatic scene more clear and dramatic because the intensity of light would make the shadows more strong and highlights more bright.
• Top Tips This Month – Theme: Black and White on Nikon In Frame
• 5 Black And White Photography Tips on ditigalphotographyschool.com
• 10 Tips on How to Create Better Black and White Images on bhphotovideo.com
All the photos are my original copyrighted work © All Rights Reserved by Ioanna Papanikolaou
The primary use of oblique angles was to make the viewer feel unease, disoriented and stressful. Firstly appeared in the movies of German expressionism in 1920′ and 30′ (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Man with a Movie Camera) as an attempt to visualise madness and social destruction. That’s why it took the name dutch from deutch which means german. After ’40 the Deutch angle was used extensively in cinema to dramatize off-balance moments in many movies (The Third Man, Batman TV Series, Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood by Tim Burton, 12 Monkeys by Terry Gilliam, etc.), but also in horror video games like Silent Hill and Resident Evil.
|Rotunda Black and White by Papanikolaou Joanna on 500px|
In photography, hats being placed at an inclined angle made popular the term ‘jaunty angle‘ as a creative shot that reveals diverse aesthetic and artistic experimentation. But as the other overused techniques, like selective coloring that I described the previous week, it should be established by a reason – not only used for the use. And, it should be supported by a concept and by the composition.
When I photographed Rotunda, I hadn’t plan to photoshot Deutch angles. But, standing outside the yard from this position, I saw the tower in perfect symmetry with the railings and of course, I couldn’t let this detail go withou capturing it. In the other photos from a beautiful beach in Chalkidiki, I got bored of the same straight lines in the horizon; yellow sand, aqua marine sea, blue sky so after a while I tilted my camera to change the view and frame the same pretty lines in a different way.
Horizon and scapes, architecture, portraits and street photography are ideal to experiment the Dutch angle in photography. But I guess is essential always to examine why you will tilt your camera in this shot. Like the film critic Roger Ebert said for the director of the science-fiction film Battlefield Earth (2000), Roger Christian: “He has learned from better films that directors sometimes tilt their cameras, but he has not learned why“.
Moreover, it’s amazing how many things one can learn from the details; new things that were neglected; useful natural findings that when we see them from far they tell us nothing.
In one of my photographic walks in nature after a rainy morning, I came across a beautiful wild rose shrub, which had these beautiful red hips on it. They were shining, washed by the rain, and small water drops were hanging on them like jewels. They looked awesome.
At the same night, as I was talking with my friends and inhabitants of this gifted region and showing the natural findings I photographed during the day, I learned that from the wild rose (or, otherwise dog-rose, or dog-berry) hips, one can make so many delicious and nutritious things, like marmalade, tea, even a kind of liquer. Wild-rose fruits have a large concentration of vitamin C and there are many studies about their beneficial effects on human body. Who could ever imagine it? These red hips that grow almost everywhere in our land, could hide so many precious secrets? Surely, not me! My urban growth left many gaps in my knowledge about nature.
That’s why I always try to see not only the forest, but also the tree and stand as close as I can. Because sometimes the tree may reveal more treasures than the forest in which it exists; just like human beings and the place we live. Everyone is carrying a small treasure that when is seen in the whole, united with others, makes a land unique.
For photography things are more complicated to be defined due to its “instant” nature. Although preparations, scheduling and post processing may last longer, in most of the times the creation is completed in one second with a click. And, all the interest is not only about what happened in the scene before, during, or after the photograph, but also what was chosen to be shown, or to be neglected inside the frame.
Yesterday, I found this interesting book, The Short Story and Photography, 1880’s-1980’s: A Critical Anthology, Jane Marjorie Rabb that has stories about photography from important writers like Ionesko, Konan Doyle, Cortazar and others. And, I believe that gives many food for thought about photography and its impact as a visual medium of narration.
|FOUNTAIN by Papanikolaou Joanna on 500px|
I don’t know about the others, but in my case these “short stories” are usually captured by my camera instinctively and sometimes I see in my pictures things I didn’t notice before and I wonder “How is this possible?” It’s so obvious that most of the times we see what we want to see and we find what we search for. And, once again photography becomes the window not only to the outside world, but also to our inner self.
All the photos and text are my original copyrighted work © All Rights Reserved by Ioanna Papanikolaou.