A Fountain in Black & White (Photocentric)

When I first started reading up on photography there was a lot of talk about "learning how to see", or "training your eyes" to see like a camera. Our eyes, with the help of our brains, are more superior than the lens and sensors of our cameras, for the most part. And as I learned how to shoot HDR it again required me to train my eyes to take better shots in HDR. Although it is true that any shot (and when I say shot I mean bracket of shots) can be HDR'd, the shots that are planned with HDR in mind usually turn out better.

The same goes for black & white. In the digital age black & white photography, for the most part, starts off as a color photo that is massaged in post processing to become black & white. The b&w option on your camera, or the quick b&w conversion in your photo software usually doesn't make for a dramatic photo. Again, any shot can be black & white, but the shots that were seen as black & white while being planned usually turn out best.

I really like black & white photography. It's beauty is in it's simplicity. But despite how much I may like to look at it, I'm finding it very difficult to shoot for it. I have a hard time visualizing the shot beforehand, and once I get started processing it I'm lost. So when learning something new I thought I'd try to simplify what I was doing. So I went looking through my library looking for simple high contrast shots that would make good candidates for a b&w conversion, and trying to see if what I envisioned at the beginning would be what I'd get in the end.

This shot was simple. The subject is front and center. I originally shot this trying to get a feeling of movement from the water, as opposed to freezing the action. Once I took it into Silver Efex I was comfortable and knew what I wanted to do. The cars in the background, because of their lighter color, needed to be dimmed down. The fountain lights were a little too bright (and might still be too bright) so I dimmed that down as well. I wish I had framed the shot differently so the whole halo around the fountain was visible, but I went about brightening up the parts that were viewable. Then, to finish it up I added a vignette and a border. Overall I'm pleased with how it came out.


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