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If you like to take a look at my vast archive of posts on black and white photography go to https://andybeelfrps.wordpress.com/
I would never call myself a dedicated black and white landscape photographer. However, I have been lucky on a few occasions to be in right place at the right time. As a professional photographer who tries to do what I will call gentlemanly hours, dawn light has never been a great draw to my artistic senses. Sunset has always been much preferred time to take landscapes. This option gives me much preferred glancing evening light where I can prejudge the potential lighting during the day. The photographers who go on dawn shoots may arrive at their chosen destination in the dark only to be sorely disappointed when the spectacular sunrise doesn’t appear due to cloud over the sun.
Some black and white landscape photographers may see the landscape genre in a prescriptive way, that is the use of formula or a pre-set to take a landscape picture. The pre-set may involve a tripod, an aperture of f16, a 10 stop neutral density filter, a wide-angle lens set to the hyperfocal distance. This setup ensures that there is a maximum depth of field and everything has reasonable sharpness. The composition will more than likely feature a strong motif in the foreground. This arrangement is no more than using a predetermined set of ideas to make a picture, the photographer has turned off their own individual creativity and the freedom of thought to make pictures that are individual themselves. Without mentioning the dreaded rule of thirds, may also have been adopted to express the photographers vision of the subject matter. Freeman Patterson the great Canadian photographer says in his book “Photography and the art of seeing” only adopt the rule of thirds when all other compositions do not render a satisfactory representation of the subject matter.
If photography as a dynamic art form is to progress, we must move beyond pre-set ideas of how we envision and capture a black and white landscape photograph. To quote photographer Ralph Gibson he suggested we use the photographers of the past as a springboard to the future. Those photographers of the past provide us with inspiration and encouragement to follow our own vision and create to a personal style that is a celebration of our own spirit and personality.
To overcome this issue of using pre-set ways of capturing and composing a black and white landscape photograph, for those with the courage and the originality to make pictures for themselves there are ways to make a personal expression. Progressing your photography is an ongoing development over decades, each of us needs to passionately persist to learn, grow and express ourselves through black and white photography landscapes. The ABC of camerawork is such a method of seeing and unravelling the process of instantly made viewfinder decisions. The process of taking a picture in any genre is broken down into an easily remembered mnemonic. The photographer has the opportunity to review the Attraction, Background, Composition, Depth of field, Exposure, and Focus before gently pressing the shutter release. The detail and the benefits of this way of seeing are set out in the acclaimed book “The ABC of CameraWork Manual” by Andy Beel.
Find out more about this innovative and systematic way of thinking and practising black and white landscape photography with an inexpensively priced taster day. If this way of working appeals to you there are also workshops and masterclasses based on the ABC of CameraWork method of seeing.
Andy Beel FRPS © 2017