About Thomas Fitzgerald

Thomas is a professional fine art photographer and writer specialising in photography related instructional books as well as travel writing and street photography. 

Making the most of a dull day (And how to get cool black and white images in-camera)

Making the most of a dull day (And how to get cool black and white images in-camera)

DSC 9834 The weather here in Ireland has really been ticking me off lately. Our whole summer pretty much consisted of one miserable day after another. The rain clouds were broken only intermittently for non-rain clouds. You could count the number of sunny days on the fingers of both hands. It was particularly frustrating as the light was miserable and not at all suitable for the type of photography I like. It got to the point last week where I decided that enough was enough. It was the first day off I had in ages and I wanted to go out with my camera. Unfortunately it was another incredibly dull day. In fact it was one of the dullest days I can ever remember. In order to make the most of it though I decided I would try out a theory I had been working on.

I like taking black and whites, and I especially like taking black and white images of people and urban decay. Perfect subjects fore a dull day. Normally I would just shoot RAW and do any black and white conversion afterwards. I had been thinking a lot lately though about how the noise on my Nikon D700 at high iso looked very much like film grain. Not intrusive, overpowering grain either. At ISO 3200 it looked like ISO400 film. SO I decided to try shooting jpegs in camera, with the picture mode set to black and white and the iso turned up to 3200. The results blew me away.

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All the photos here are pretty much straight out of the camera. I tweaked the picture mode settings in camera to increase sharpness slightly and also to increase the contrast. But most of these haven't been post processed at all.  I think the results are pretty good. I'm happy with how they came out any way. They might be a little dark, but that captures the mood of the day pretty accurately.

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I mentioned earlier that it was pretty dull that day. Just how dull I hear you ask. It was so dark, that I had trouble getting shake free shots even at ISO 3200. I've seen twilights brighter, and this was at 2pm too. Hardly the dark part of the day.

Incidentally, as a backup I was shooting Raw + Jpeg, so if there was something I wanted in color of if there was a shot that needed exposure tweaking or something similar I could always go back to the RAW file.

Anyway, here's some more from the day. I hope you enjoy….

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Fall is in the air