Visual Textures


Kodak Portra 400VC scanned as B&W, Mamiya 6MF, 50mm, f/32, 1/60 sec

Some B&W film is pretty contrasty as it is intended to give inky blacks and brilliant whites.  I prefer a less stark look to my monochrome images so I play around with scanning color negatives as B&W, finding the conversion of colors into tones gives more of the look I find pleasing.  Yeah, I could find different B&W films or make adjustments in my scanner to give this look but this is more fun.  Besides, it makes me compose with an eye for tones rather than colors and I think getting better at that will pay dividends later for my color photography.

I continue going back to this local lake they are draining to kill off an invasive mussel species because there’s so many interesting elements being revealed as the water, and now the snow, recedes.  This play on textural contrasts interested me.  The granular nature of the stones in the foreground against the smoother look of the ice behind kept drawing my eye.  Wish there had been some big puffy clouds in the sky as a reward for your eye moving from front to distant back but none in attendance on this day.  The faster speed film giving some grain in the sky along with a little vignetting in the corners do keep the upper part of the image from being too boring, though.  I enhanced the local contrast of the distant hillsides on each side of the ice to show off their texture as well, although on the screen they seem too far away to really contribute to the image.  The main feature I keep coming back to, however, is the line of rocks across the center of the image acting as a transition between the coarse foreground and the smoother background.  And of course it’s hard to ignore the stumps in the lake, dark trunks against the bright ice surface.  Almost like skiers gliding away from the camera as they curve down a slope.

A little more about B&W photography can be found here,  If you’re interested in converting some of your digital images to B&W here is a place with some starting information.


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