photographers would carry a filter in a frame that sucked all the color out to
render the view through it to be essentially black and white. This was to help
you visually edit out the color content of what you are looking at to get a
better idea of how the colors would be rendered as B&W tones. It wasn’t
perfect but it helped. You still had to learn how the film that you were using
actually rendered things but it was close.
When shooting color film you had to learn that and had no help
previsualizing your shot. Photogs would often find a film that they liked and
basically only use that one. Otherwise you might not realize how this scene or
skin tone would be either made lifeless or garish by the way that your film saw
Digital has changed that as you can to a large degree when
shooting RAW render the scene anyway you want it. For quite a while I wanted to
see my flat and boring looking RAW files to look like themselves when I was
doing an image review on my cameras LCD screen. But then I realized that once I
found a look in Photoshop that made me happy 95% of the time I could simulate
that by changing the color curve and saturation of the jpg processing my
cameras do. The deal is that even if you are shooting RAW the camera makes an
imbedded jpg into the RAW file for the preview. Thus the file isn’t processed
but the preview is so I can get the feel of how the image will most likely look
like when it comes out of Photoshop.
But when I started the Avery Brewing project I had in my
head the idea of doing it in B&W for three reasons. 1) it makes things more
timeless looking, 2) most of the brewing process takes place in white-ish rooms
with big stainless steel containers and tubes so there isn’t much color content
to begin with and 3) it puts the emphasis on form and lighting which I really
So I decided to use a warm tone B&W mode for the shoots
so that when I’m checking on my shots the tones “feel” right. I still will do
the toning in P-Shop but after taking a few shots with my normal straight color
preview preset and the warm tone, the B&W made me more inspired by a mile.
And isn’t that what we want – to be inspired to make photos?
Here’s another from the Avery barrel room. They use a
stainless steel nail as a simple plug for taking samples without introducing
air into the barrel. For some reason the silhouetted pliers reminds me of that
famously manipulated image by Gene Smith of Albert Schweitzer where he used
like 5 negatives with the handles of tools in the foreground. Hmmm?
Technicals: Nikon D700 and Nikon AF-D 35mm f/2.0. ISO 400, f/2.0 @ 1/30th.