Solo Walker

Out walking locally in Campbell Park last week, the landscape itself was already degrading – that wide and vibrant palette of Spring greens slowly homogenising to a dull rather tired shade of green. Elements of design, and images of people out walking, were on my shopping list. As so often, it was just the compact for company – keeping it simple.

I spotted a lone walker, walking away from me on a sinuous path. I caught her (I think it’s a ‘her’) just before she went too far into the next bend.

At the point of capture I had a clear idea of how the final image would look. In colour it was a swathe of green with an unremarkable figure – no contrasting colour, nothing to stand out. It was just an average image, nothing more than that in colour.

Back home I barely looked at the image before de-saturating it, and then went straight to work to boost the contrast. I let the blacks go black and the highlights go white. It felt like I was back in the darkroom printing on Grade 5 paper.

IMG_6206_cropYou can do things with B&W that you can never do with colour – putting the bite in, creating an image that punches above its weight. Finally I made a crop to accentuate the composition and place the figure close to an important division of thirds. B&W has the ability to simplify and refine an image. It becomes purely about form, relationships and contrasts.

B&W can never make the impossible good, but it can make the possible better.

Remember you can always click on an image to see a higher quality enlargement.

About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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16 Responses to Solo Walker

  1. oneowner says:

    It used to be quite the dilemma for film shooters, black and white or color. There are a lot of tools available to make the conversion easy now but sometimes we have to remind ourselves thst the option is available all the time now. Very nice shot, Andy.

    • LensScaper says:

      I’m probably repeating myself (it comes with age!), but black and white work photography requires a different way of viewing the world, and that takes time to develop. For people like you and me who grew up with Black and White work in the darkroom, I think we have retained the capacity to see the world that way and that means we are comfortable with the concept of converting colour images to monochrome. For those brought up in the digital era, I think it is harder to see when that conversion will work and when it won’t.

  2. I find myself converting to B&W in similar situations or when I’ve shot in the harsh noon sunlight. Great shot Andy.

  3. athyfoto says:

    Nice work with your shot Andy, I really like the classic S curve in there, one of those elements that rarely fails to please the eye.

  4. Great shot and b&w the only way to go. I started off in b&w film too and then thinking about it, realised newspapers rarely had a lot of colour images when I was growing up and so those were the images you saw everyday – mostly mono.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Lisa. There’s a lot of truth in what you say about growing up with B&W images. They were everywhere, all the family snaps, in the newspapers and magazines. Apart from Kodachromes for holidays, perhaps. And if you were keen to process – then it was always going to be B&W film you started with. All those factors helped to cement the B&W way of looking at the world.

  5. ShimonZ says:

    I like this picture. And agree with you that we can gain a lot by choosing the media that works for us in presenting any scene.

  6. Len says:

    Nicely composed with the leading line and the silhouette of the walker Andy. Another wise decision to go with B&W.

  7. There’s a lot to like here, Andy. The curve really gets me, but the figure adds a lot. All the fencing contributes, too. I think that maybe photographs that feature line benefit the most from the B&W treatment; I’m glad you saw the image this way.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Linda. Line is certainly one of the critical elements that is required for success in a B&W image. ‘Line’ can of course mean many things and sometimes it is merely the dividing line between shadow and highlight. The presence of a figure is however crucial, I think, to the success of this image, which is why I deliberately cropped the image to place ‘it’ on the division of thirds.

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