Category Archives: Monochrome

Working In Monochrome / Black & White

Working with beautiful colors has become second nature to most photographers. It’s digital and it’s great. No film means zero development costs.

When photographers started in the past we used B&W because we never could pay for all the development costs, and a color dark room was either not available or big bucks.

Shooting B&W is all about light and shades of gray (OK other stuff but that’s the basics). I grew up on it but digital is different and takes practice and ‘tools’ to get other than a flat monochrome.

Working In Monochrome / Black & White
Working In Monochrome / Black & White

Like most, I use Adobe Lightroom as my primary editor.  Photoshop rarely because it hurts my head to dig through all the stuff. The DxO Silver Efex is my secondary software for B&W.

I have started to ‘dink’ with new systems ON1 and Topaz (for dark image noise issues). Both of these photographs were worked into a monochrome with ON1.

Working In Monochrome / Black & White
Working In Monochrome / Black & White

I had just finished these when I read an article by Leigh Kemp, a UK photographer discussing another DxO product. So I thought I would point out B&W software here.

BTW, the DxO Silver Efex is widely used by a large number of dedicated B&W fine art photographers. If you are old school the film emulator filters are ‘near’ identical to what you might get shooting 35 mm (boy will that statement get the purists up in arms).

 

1808 – Black And White

A grand old house in black and white.

Charleston, South Carolina.

1808 - Black And White
1808 – Black And White

The original purpose of the visit was to photograph the grand free standing  three story staircase. However I cannot walk into a piece of history without being in awe, and capturing everything in sight.

Click any image for full screen.

A Church Grave Yard, Charleston

Charleston is called ‘The Holy City’ because of the large number of churches in town, every denomination you can think of, and then some.

Because they are old each church typically has their own grave yard for members of the congregation. Today few have any open plots and a walk through them is a history lesson of the original colonies, US founders, and Civil War secessionists.

A Church Grave Yard, Charleston
A Church Grave Yard, Charleston

The headstone above caught my eye in one of the oldest grave yards in town. To shoot the photograph I had to lean through an old wrought iron fence pushing my lens through. Ten steps to the left was an open gate, but at the time…

A Church Grave Yard, Charleston
A Church Grave Yard, Charleston

I wanted to shoot these stones because they are great examples of New England stone carvings. The imagery, shapes, and style all are a type not available in the south.

Until the 1800’s grave stones were imported from the north. The rock quarries were there and the craftsmen too.

A Church Grave Yard, Charleston
A Church Grave Yard, Charleston

At some point the craftsmen recognized the wealth of the Charleston planters and either moved here or open trade offices. Even famous designers like Tiffany Co. serviced the homes and business in town.

Old Grand House, Charleston

A different look at an old southern grand house. The Russel House built in 1809.

Old Grand House, Charleston
Old Grand House, Charleston
Old Grand House, Charleston
Old Grand House, Charleston

When we visit, and shoot these old homes there are many restrictions. No external lighting, tripods, or even where we can walk/stand. That said bring a few memory cards, different lens, and you can build a complete library of photographs.

 

 

 

Confederate Lt. Col, Died In Cuba, A Mystery

Andrew F. Browning, a memorial not grave site since he died in Cuba just days after General Lee surrendered at Appomattox.

Confederate Lt. Col, Died In Cuba, A Mystery
Confederate Lt. Col, Died In Cuba, A Mystery

He was assigned to Charleston security, but not there when it fell to Sherman. A year later he was a passenger on a ‘blockade’ runner headed for Cuba. Where he passed away soon after arriving.

The question is why was he there at all? He did have a political run in with a superior officer (who had killed another officer in a duel). But that was finished before his trip. Before the war he was a successful merchant.

Confederate Lt. Col, Died In Cuba, A Mystery
Confederate Lt. Col, Died In Cuba, A Mystery

No records have been found for his leaving the army and war. It could have been any number of reasons, still a mystery.

He was well thought of, enough so that this expensive monument and family grave sites was built in Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston.

 

The Boudoir – Monochrome

I believe this was for the lady of the house, 1809.

The Boudoir - Monochrome
The Boudoir – Monochrome
The Boudoir - Monochrome
The Boudoir – Monochrome

I used various settings shooting here having no clue what would actually work.

The room was tall, and narrow making a wide shot difficult.

The Boudoir - Monochrome
The Boudoir – Monochrome

This room was shot using 18mm and 24mm lens.