Monday, June 15, 2015


When working with photography and especially in black and white, it is helpful to learn how to pre-visualize the scene to be able to create a successful image.  I learned many years ago how to clearly see the finished image in my mind before making the exposure.  In my days of working with large format equipment using strictly black and white film it was much easier for me to pre-visualize an image than it is with digital equipment.  I had use of the zone system and my calibrated spot meter that I use to analyze the contrast of the scene and to base my exposure.  I would place the low and high values ( darks and whites) according to the contrast that existed within the scene.  At this point I would base my exposure on the development I planned on giving the film to either increase or decrease the overall contrast within the scene I was photographing.  I used colored filter on the lens to change tones and contrast  the film was going to record.  The process was a discipline that produced great results and enable me to visualize the final image I was hoping to make in the darkroom.  Years of working this way led to many successful images but took plenty of mistakes and failures to master the process.  Today working with digital I try to ignore the color as much as possible to see in black and white.  One thing I do is review my exposures in black and white on the camera LCD screen by setting my picture style to black and white.  This lets me review the image much like the old black and white Polaroid's I took each time before exposing the sheet film.  Certainly my many years of working with film and printing all of my images has made the transition to black and white digital easier for me.  I know later in the process I will have to deal with a fuzzy color RAW image that is downloaded, but I have the experience of using visualization to help me get to my desired final image. 

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