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Making Sharp Images: Proposed Monochrome Imagery Section

re: Reader Comment: Black and White Photography “samples you have are some of the best I have seen”

Kids at Eureka Dunes
f10 @ 1/125 sec, ISO 200; 2007-02-24 13:57:44
Canon EOS 5D + Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS @ 24mm

[low-res image for bot]

There has been quite a lot of reader interest in my recent monochrome work.

Including how to create monochrome images, best camera, post-processing, etc.

I’ve stubbed-out a proposed table of contents as shown below—no content here yet, but I think this will cover most of what people are asking for. The content will be in Making Sharp Images (update: I might take this new content and diglloyd Infrared into a new black and white section) and of course FULL subscribers have access to that, and it is available separately too.

Subscribers should login and make use of the reduced-price FULL subscription (I can rebalance the subscription terms for that plus anything currently subscribed to).

Rather than aiming to publish this section at all once in its polished form, I am thinking to hit first on the most approachable aspects and get those up in reasonable shape, then methodically fill out things, then polish it all along with any additions and organizational changes.

Feedback welcome.

Proposed section on monochrome imagery in Making Sharp Images

William M writes:

Really looking forward to the monochrome work as you have time to publish it.  

I am a longtime fan of monochrome, so much so that I converted my D850 to monochrome when I got a Z7.  What an amazing piece of equipment the D850 monochrome is when combined with the Zeiss Otus 50mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon.

Monochrome can produce a beauty unapproachable by color with the appropriate setting and subject.

Time for some renewed discussion of the Zone system in a digital monochrome world along with an appreciation of tonality.  I still instinctively head to Zone VI to achieve ideal exposure.

Not since color photography overwhelmed Pan X, Plus X and Tri X with the advent of Kodachrome in the 40s and subsequent C22, C41 and E6 emulsions have we had adequate discussion of monochrome technique and technology.

Happy that you are considering addressing this long neglected area of photography and art.

Eureka Dunes
f9 @ 1/160 sec, ISO 200; 2007-02-24 14:10:19
Canon EOS 5D + Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS @ 105mm

[low-res image for bot]

DIGLLOYD: glad to hear it. I will be methodically ticking off all the of pages above, intermingling with my regular content. I have a sort of self-imposed deadline to get most of it done prior to my reviews of the Sony A1 and Fujifilm GFX100S.

Yes, the Nikon D850 monochrome along with Zeiss Milvus and Zeiss Otus lenses is truly outstanding, free of digital artifacts and with incredible resolving power.

Christian T writes:

Very good to see you have raised the bar again increasing your coverage of topics of real interest to your subscribers! Add me to those that love black and white photography and very keen to see that section coming online in stages as proposed.

I also have one further question not directly related, but may be of interest also to others nonetheless. Have you looked at Affinity Photo (or their whole suite)  as an alternative to Adobe (and Quark)? I have used their software during the last 2 years, but mostly Publisher and Designer, with a ittle dabbling in Photo. With Affinity Photo’s latest updates, I wonder if it is worthwhile for you to evaluate this option as an alternative to ACR with Photoshop (or any other options in use out there)? Considering the currently very low cost of Affinity software, it may be a worthwhile to evaluate it alongside your trusted regular production setup?

Thanks again for the most unbiased evaluations! That really makes you stand out from everyone else and provides real value to me, an enthusiast rather than commercial pro.

DIGLLOYD: cost of software is immaterial compared to the investment of time and effort, the ecosystem, years of learning needing to be re-learned (for a new software), the risk of it going away in a few years. Sort of like worrying about the cost of a filter for a high-end camera system with multiple lenses. So I don’t intend to look at Affinity Pro; it won’t monetize for me and it becomes a pure cost with no upside—negative ROI. I have a big development-time and workflow investment in scripts I’ve for Photoshop, and learning new software is very time consuming. There are also lots of good alternatives out there, like CaptureOne Pro. I don’t consider $120/year to use Photoshop a meaningful consideration in the context of all the work I do. Nor do I think it is wise to exit the dominant ecosystem or to advise anyone to do so.

Eeraj Q writes:

Saw the proposed outline and associated reader comments. Looking forward to learn as you add content. I thought I was the only one, but based on the comments it is clear that your stellar monochrome samples have sparked a renewed interest in this topic for a lot of your subscribers. Well done!

Also appreciate your candor re. monetization and why you cover (or don't cover) certain topics / gear. Makes sense to me.

Would love to see/read more of your adventures in your Sprinter van. Obviously, after you wrap up the more pressing stuff. The previous series with practical notes was very interesting.

DIGLLOYD: noted, thx.

Ashiss V writes:

Like your proposed sections. Would be great to have a section on printing B&W including info on your fav papers and printers.

Personally, the ones of most interest immediately would be colour to monochrome, monochrome post processing and examples of your great work. The other sections are also of interest but personal preference would be to start with the above mentioned sections so can start to apply your techniques immediately.

Will be subscribing to that section for sure. Really looking forward to this….have been wanting this for some time now!

DIGLLOYD: yes, I plan on examples and how-to to start, so that the area is of immediate practical use.

Ore Tracks at Cerro Gordo
f1.4 @ 1/1600 sec, ISO 100; 2017-05-30 07:24:34
Canon EOS 5DS R + Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/1.4

[low-res image for bot]

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