Contrarian

Contrarian

You know the guy who goes to the famous steakhouse and orders chicken? And swears up and down that he does it because he likes chicken? Well, I kind of feel like that guy.

Spring is painting herself on every tree, shrub and flower garden—the Earth is shedding her drab, gray pajamas and slipping on her party dress—and there is color everywhere. Finally.

So what am I doing? Shooting pictures of colorful flowers and converting them to monochrome.

Now, I suppose some psychologist somewhere could make something of this. But I’ll bet that any behavioral expert who finds this strange is a person who never shot Panatomic-X, developed it in Microdol and printed it on Agfa Brovira. There is something exciting about the texture of a black-and-white image that color shouldn’t be allowed to disguise.

Fortunately, I don’t need a darkroom to get the sort of enjoyment I remember from the Film Ages. Nowadays I shoot black-and-white images in color and make the conversions in Photoshop using Nik Software Silver Efex Pro. The Silver Efex package allows me to emulate the results I might have gotten from 18 different black and white film types, plus there’s a variable toning selector that delivers results very close to traditional wet-chemistry toning techniques. The application features more than 20 preset styles and a pretty nifty grain reproduction engine—although grain is the one thing I usually try to avoid.

There are other ways to produce monochrome images, but many of the alternatives I have tried resulted in insipid, lifeless, colorless pictures—not the dramatic black-and-white statements that are worthy enough to shove the colors right off of the palate.

Image above shot with a Pentax K20D and Pentax 100mm f2.8 Macro.

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