Proud to be a Professional Photographer…

 

vietnam-nick-ut-40th-anniversary

Vietnam-war-napalm-girl-photo by Nick Ut

19th August – the World Photography Day…!

“Remembering the awesome contributions of many individuals, groups and companies towards development of the art, science and technology of photography…..

Bowing down my head to all great masters of photography who taught us thorough their great masterpieces and changed the faith and beliefs of the world……

Respecting all the great mentors whom I know directly and indirectly for imparting the knowledge and the power of photography in me….

Accepting my ignorance for unknown and feeling proud about the little known facts of photography….

Taking an oath to spread the message of photography to the society of enthusiastic young photographers…..

Believing in observation, imagination, creativity, confidence, hard work, patience, sharing, caring and learning which are more important than supporting gadgets and technology.

Accepting that I am insignificant and surrender to the great art, photography which is larger than the universe…..

Living and dreaming only photography…..

This is what it means for me on this ‘World Photography Day’ ”

– KL.Raja Ponsing

image courtesy: http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2015/04/vietnam-war-napalm-girl-photo-today

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What and how to shoot in Black and White?

Ancient stone sculpture

Stone chain at Varadaraja Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram

  1. Learn to see the scene /subject in black & white – convert the colors in to its closer tones of grey and visualize
  2. Justify if the black and white conversion is not taking away any important colour information of image.
  3. Prefer to shoot subjects with less color or single color in B & W – Ancient Indian temples are ideal subjects for B & W

    Street Vendor

    Street Vendor

  4. Emotions, character and expressions, depressions, sadness, loss, poverty, ecstasy, details of form, nudes, art, abstract, concepts, news (communicating horror, blasts, murder), old & antique things are some subjects and situations suitable for B & W photography
  5. Shoot in RAW and Jpeg quality. Set the picture control or picture style of the camera in ‘Monochrome’. This will give you a Jpeg image in B & W and the RAW will contain color data. The Jpeg image can be used for viewing in the camera for understanding the tones and exposure. RAW file can be processed in detail and converted in B & W.

    potter at work

    Potter at work

  6. The contrast adjustment needs to be handled carefully in the post-production to retain the details in the shadows and highlights. Photo filters in the Photoshop can be used to manage the brightness and details in the particular colour for an effective tone and details in B & W image.
  7. Use Polarizing filters and/or ‘white balance shift’ control of the DSLR to increase amber to darken the sky. This will give a good separation of clouds in landscape and nature shots.

    temple

    Gangaikonda Cholapuram

  8. Add ‘film grains or noise effects’ for the feel of time in a B & W image. Vintage and antique subjects will look great with this effect.
  9. Though a B & W gives an aesthetic feel by default, never shoot all the pictures in B & W just like that. Color is very important for some subjects (imagine shooting rainbows, Holi and rangloli in black and white..!).
  10. A very badly underexposed/noisy/off shooting color images salvaged through Photoshop can be converted in to B & W to cover-up the technical problems

    clay pots

    Terracotta Pots

The Black & White

couple

Way back in the early 80’s, colour photography was introduced to India. I still cannot forget the excitement and demand it created among the photographers and the public. Studios in India added ‘Colour’ in front of their existing name like – ‘Raja Colour Photo Studio’. Photographers waited for months to get their rolls developed and printed. I still remember that I used to send my rolls to Kodak, Bombay (now it is Mumbai) and wait for at least a fortnight. The development in the colour imaging technology has now reached a different level.

Despite the ‘information and details’ given by colour photography, there is always something missing in it. It is undoubtedly the ‘feel or the emotion’, which is the power of ‘Black & White photography always. Don’t you think that whenever you wanted to communicate emotions in a subject, colour really takes it away by its power of attraction?

Though not in most other subjects, people and portrait shots deserve to be shot in B & W as they are truly powerful in expressing the emotional content of the subject.

But for me, B & W photos are very special because they are not true to life. The reason being their ‘default creativity.’ When you are trying to express something that is not true to life then, you have a lot of scope for imagination and creativity. May be that is what made the ace photographer Ansel Adams create several black & white landscape shots. How can a B & W landscape shot be true to life? But, they were truly beautiful and undoubtedly artistic. That is one of the reasons why B & W pictures take the lion’s share in the photo exhibitions, competitions and art galleries.

Enjoy artistic photography….! Learn to see the world in a different way…. the B & W way!

A photographer does not operate a camera to merely take pictures. Photographic work is always personal. A photograph reveals the photographer.

‘Photography knows how to authenticate its misrepresentations’- Manson Cooley