Thursday, April 27, 2006

A color-to-B&W anomaly

I really should know how to do this.

I was experimenting in Photoshop Elements today, and tried converting this photo from color to B&W...

But look at how the bright yellow sign and flowers became a dark grey. Yuck!

It was quite a surprise.

How did this happen, and what do I need to do to get the flowers to render the flowers a lighter shade? Any PSE experts out there care to chime in?

Like I said...I really should know how to do this.

Rambling with Resnick: The Earthquake of '06

How should traditionalists handle the new landscape of photography?

NOTE: Welcome to the first RWR in blog form! I'll be adding our back catalog of blogs in the coming days and weeks!

We've seen it coming for years: digital was getting better and it was only a matter of time before it caused major shifts in how cameras were made and sold. Since the beginning of this year, the pace has picked up--so much so, that there can only be one word to describe what's happened to the world of camera-makers and film companies:

An earthquake.

Consider what's happened since the dawn of 2006:

• Konica Minolta stopped making photographic equipment.
• Nikon discontinued manufacture of all but two film cameras.
• Mamiya announced its intention to stop making photography equipment.
• Fujifilm announced 5,000 job cuts in its film division, and started to diversify into non-photographic fields.
• Kodak announced it will raise its film prices by as much as 17 percent.
• Leica entered a partnership with Panasonic.
• Samsung announced its first SLR, in partnership with Pentax.
• Olympus announced it's sharing technology with Panasonic.
• Sony announced it will soon make digital SLRs, called Alpha, using the Minolta mount.

And it's only April. Eight months to go.

Surveys are showing that, as the cost of scanners and printers drop and quality has reached photographic resolution, photographers are abandoning their darkrooms for light rooms with computers and inkjet printers. Ilford, recently saved from oblivion by a new owner, keeps the flame going. Berrger, Oriental are also still making black-and-white paper and chemistry, but Kodak has stopped making paper. Agfa, once the world's biggest film companies, is out of photography altogether.

So, what are you doing about it?

How are you dealing with all of the changes? Are you joinig the crowd and embracing some or all aspects of digital? Are you still printing away in your darkroom, changes be damned? Do you feel threatened by the changes in technology or do you welcome the new possibilities they offer? Leave your comments here!

Remember that after an earthquake, there must be rebuilding. How will we rebuild?

Monday, April 24, 2006

My preferred camera...

I get to try a lot of digital cameras as part of my day job. I've field-tested the Canon 20D and 5D, Nikon D50, Kodak V570, Pentax *ist, the Ricoh GR Digita, and the Sony R1, among others. So, what's my favorite camera when I'm not being paid to shoot?

A 50-year-old Leica M3 with a 28mm f/3.5 Kobolux lens! Its mechanics still work, and I've only had the camera in the shop three times since I acquired the camera in 1978. For years, my film of choice was Ilford HP5, then HP5 Plus, developed in Ethol UFG, but in recent years it has been Fuji Press 800 color print film, which I have processed at a minilab and then scan and convert into black-and-white in Photoshop. Why the change? Simple: Color print film has a 5-stop latitude, giving me a better range of highlight to shadow detail than any B&W film, and the starting ISO is 800. I've done side-by-side comparisons, and the grain in the Fuji Press is noticably lower than HP5 pushed to 800. And I like having the extra stop.

What system do you use?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Stepping off the curb

Here's a B&W street photo of mine, just to get things started. I guess you could say we're stepping off the curb into the oncoming traffic of the blogosphere. Or, perhaps not! :-)

First post!


My name is Mason and I've spent most of my life doing black-and-white darkroom printing. Some of you may already know me as the founder of Black and White World, the premier resource for black-and-white photography online since 1995. Today I'm starting Blog and White World, which continues the Black and White World mission of spreading information about and enthusiasm for this wonderful craft.

I plan on moving much of the content of B&W World over here so visitors can add comments. It won't happen overnight, as I also have a day job and have only so much time available. So be patient--great things are coming.

Mason Resnick
Black and White World
Blog and White World!