Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Black & White Film and Finding the Sweet Spot

Here I go again, doing the black & white film thing and trying to get better at it. When I was in my mid twenties I bought a professional level Wilson tennis racket that was made of wood. It didn't have an over sized head like today's rackets and it was strung pretty tight. I didn't know what I was doing when I bought it and my skill level was nowhere near what it needed to be to use such a racket. Anyway, what I found was that the racket had a small sweet spot; when one hit the ball on the sweet spot it was deadly accurate; and when one didn't hit the sweet spot there was no telling where the ball would go. So, I'm comparing my black & white pictures to the same sweet spot; when I'm on and everything comes together it works. And, when I'm off the mark the picture just does not work at all. It all has to come together much better than shooting color film; the focus, composition, lighting, depth of field all has to be perfect for the real beauty of black & white film or it falls flat on its face. Having said all that, I shot a 36 exposure roll of Fuji Acros film with a Bessa R3A range finder camera and these are the results (the good, the bad, and the ugly).

The first picture on the roll of film and I didn't get the focus nailed - not a good start.

OK, this is more what I had in mind. Hanging out at the Stand bar.

Hinodecho train station.

The open court yard in front of the Yokohama Museum of Art on a rainy day.

North Exit at Yokohama Station.

The crossing to the Nissan Global Headquarters building.

A race car on display inside the Nissan Global Headquarters.

Walking along the Minato Mirai waterfront

Hydrangea along a back street.

Street scene near Motomachi

Fountain in Motomachi Park

Motomachi Park

Scenes from the Bluff  "Harbor View Park".

View of the Nakamura River near Motomachi.

Fountain in Yamashita Park

Walking along Yamashita-koen Dori

A row of bars in Noge

Back at Hinodecho train station.

Yokosukachuo train station.

So, my conclusion and personal opinion is that black & white film is less forgiving than color. I will need to be more thoughtful on my subject mater and really slow down in my picture taking process if I want to take the kind of pictures that bring out the best in the black & white film format.

Thanks for stopping by!

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