I’ve been working in monochromatic quite a bit lately; I seem to go at this in waves. I think it’s good practice every now and then to take color out of the equation and see how effective your composition is when stripped down to its basic elements. I see black and white photography used too often to “save” a photograph that was poorly white balanced or so horribly noisy/grainy that it is unacceptable in color. Rather than use it as a gimmick or to cover up a bad photograph I like to see it given some proper treatment as an art form all it’s own.
In this case, I find the lines and values to be striking in a way that loses impact in full color. It’s a simple shot, nothing terribly unique or creative about the composition but I did slow down and take the time to make sure that my lines were in the right places. I experimented with different focal lengths and the relationship they created between the tracks, metal structure and surrounding environment (how much weight each carried in the composition). I paid close attention to avoiding unwanted parallax and keeping the horizon line level. I studied the converging lines of the tracks and the implied converging lines of the metal structure to see how they interacted with each other at different heights (points of view). In the end I decided it was the low angle (I was actually belly-down on the tracks) that gave me the perspective I liked best. At this point of view the rails became a stronger presence in the image and the metal structure appears to be more towering. A wide-to-normal focal length (40-ish mm) helped the background distractions to shrink away without causing any noticeable barrel distortion on the lines in the tracks and tunnel. In five months I may very well look back at the set and see something else I like better but for now I’m happy with this shot.
5D Mk III with 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens. ISO 100, f/8, 1/500 sec.
© 2013 Johnny Kerr Photography