Seeing things in black and white…it’s the little things.

golden palm flowers

golden palm flowers

My blog is still relatively fresh out of the box, so perhaps this won’t be sustainable in the long run, but so far I have tried to use only my own images for everything.  It feels simpler and tidier that way.  But it does make me look at my photographs with an increasingly critical eye.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time looking at other people’s blogs recently and I have been blown away by the quality of photography out there.  It is a bit overwhelming really and it makes me see what a little fish I am in what is a very, very large pond! But it is also so inspiring and really motivates me to get out there and see how I can improve my own skills to get better shots.

Great photography seems to be a heady mix of art and science.  Having an eye for composition and the key elements of a striking image.  But also having the know-how to get the very best from your camera at the time and then later, during post-processing.  I’m learning as I go, by trial and error mostly.  I am improving on the composition element I think – it certainly helps that I think about it more, before I take the shot now. But if I’m honest, I think it is my lack of post-processing technical skills which really me down.

I’ve cobbled together a basic ability to wield a camera over the past few years and do the bare basics with photo editing software, but that’s it really.  I sometimes crop my images, but rarely do much more with them.  And at least part of the reason for that is because I’m just not familiar enough with what else I can do with the software.  I don’t think it helps that I don’t usually like images to look overly processed, as this has been a big factor in stopping me playing with the processing tools more.  But I do wonder if I am missing the opportunity to make my images really sing by entirely ignoring the tools available.  So I have decided that it is time to get out of my comfort zone and get experimenting.

I was mooching about recently and came across a great blog by a lady called Cee. Her whole blog is about photography and is very engaging, but I was particularly drawn to her fortnightly black and white challenge.  I really don’t do enough black and white work.  I don’t know why, because I think it is stunning when it is done well. I just think in colour most of the time, I guess.

So I am going to try to make a combined effort to tackle both gaps in my photography skills.  A regular contribution to Cee’s black and white challenge, really making an effort with processing techniques each time, so that perhaps I might actually use some of them enough to get comfortable with them! Can it be done? Well, maybe. Will I learn some new skills along the way?  Hopefully. Will it be fun? Absolutely!

For my first attempt – the flowers on a golden palm tree.   I took this with a macro lens, as these are teeny tiny, in keeping with the theme for the current ‘small subjects’ challenge. To give an idea of scale I’ve also added a photo of a yellow-vented bulbul – whose head is about the size of a beer bottle top – enjoying the sweet nectar from the flowers.

The next challenge is on food – a favourite subject but not one I normally think about in black and white!  Thinking cap firmly on; I am looking forward to it already!

yellow-vented bulbul amongst the flower stems

yellow-vented bulbul amongst the flower stems


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