Sunday, March 15, 2009

B&W digital photography

I've been enjoying the BBC's 'Genius of Photography' series currently airing in the UK. Yesterday's covered some fantastic B&W photographs from the mid 20th century, which inspired me to try to get some similar effects from my modern-day Lumix FZ-28.

Previous attempts to achieve pleasing digital B&W shots have been disappointing. Quite often because the technique has been to shoot a conventional colour shot, desaturate it in Photoshop, and then try to add some contrast and grain to achieve the vintage B&W look, without destroying too much detail. Last night I stumbled upon the following article by Tony Karp which gave me some clues as to how to configure my camera to take a good B&W shot directly, with little post-processing required:

I configured my Lumix with settings I believe are close to what Tony was using, and here are my initial results:

OK - not the most exciting subject matter, but I'm very pleased with the contrast and texture of these shots. Certainly the best B&W results I've ever achieved on a digital camera. I'll be taking more in the near future for sure!

Thanks for reading,

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Time passes quickly...

...not just since my last Blog, but also since buying my first ever album, back in 1985 (or was it '86?) - Paul Hardcastle's, self-named LP.

I remember this having a huge influence on my at the time - from the revolutionary Synclavier sampling & time stretching (put to amazing effect on the classic track '19'), to the high-tech circuit board front cover. I pretty much wore out the cassette (chrome tape, with Dolby B if I remember rightly!) listening to this over and over again (it was my only album at the time after all)!

25 years, and almost a 1000 CD purchases later this album is still not available to buy on CD - something I've never understood. So, today when I found it for MP3 download at Amazon I couldn't flex my Amex fast enough. OK - ideally I'd like a lossless FLAC format, but listening to the album now as I type this, the quality is good enough, and so much better than the original cassette!

Finally, Paul Hardcastle inspired me to want to become an electronic music producer. Not something I ever did professionally, but I dabbled with various software on my Spectrum (yes, really) Amiga, and later Windows PCs. This week I've decided to build a new mini studio, based around my Vista laptop, an M-Audio Oxygen 8 V2 keyboard, and Cakewalk Sonar Studio 8. The Sonar software is still on its way from Amazon, but the rest is here ready to go. If I can bash out anything good, I might put it online - you have been warned!

Thanks for reading,