A Black and White Journey on Dublin's Streets
I'm not a huge black and white shooter. Don't get me wrong, I like black and white, but I rarely set out with the notion of shooting exclusively in the format. I used to in the past, but I haven't done it in ages, so when I was in the city centre here in Dublin the other day, I decided to try shooting some black and white images with my new(ish) Sony A6000.
I set the camera's picture mode to black and white and increased the contrast a bit. Even though I was shooting Raw + Jpeg, I wanted to see if the Jpegs were good enough, but still have the raw file if necessary. In the end I used the RAW files because there's some weird horrible noise reduction going on in the JPEG files and they look a bit ugly. It was easy enough to tweak the Raw files in Lightroom to what I was getting from the jpegs, tonality wise, so that's how I went in the end.
There's lots of construction work going on in the city at the moment, so that coupled with the grey day made it a good setting for some black and white shots. Even though I've argued against doing this for colour photography, switching to black and white in camera does make you look at the scene in a different way, especially with an electronic viewfinder. It's a different way of looking and it's good to get out of your comfort zone now and again.
I didn't go too far. I walked around some of the cities streets and kept looking for interesting photographic opportunities. One of the things I love about street photography is the way it focuses your mind and your eye. I find that when I'm wandering in photographer mode, I tend to see things differently. My mind is mentally cropping and looking for good compositions, or interesting scenes. I find that I often see things that I would otherwise have missed.
After a little while I took a walk through Trinity College. If you're unfamiliar with it, Trinity is a large and historic third level campus in the heart of Dublin City. While still and active university it's also home to some of Dublin's historic buildings and one of our most famous historical artefacts, the Book of Kells. The public side of the campus is one of the city's main tourist attractions, and always full of both tourists and always a great source of photographic inspiration, with its mixed modern and old architecture, and diverse population of visitors looking at the buildings.
I was really happy with the results I got when I got back to my computer. The JPEGs were a bit of a let down from a quality point of view. If I was only going to display them on a web page then they would have been fine, but if I want to print them or even view them large on my big display, the artefacts would annoy me, so I went with the Raw files instead. There was some really nice tonality to the images though, so I'll investigate my camera's menus to see if there's a way to turn off the noise reduction. However, as I said earlier, it was easy enough to match them. With a little grain and some tweaking, I got nice filmic results.
Here is a further selection of some of the images I got on the shoot. They were all taken with the same setup, a Sony A6000 and a Sony 50mm f/1.8 lens. Enjoy!
Gear Used in this Post
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