Libby in Monochrome

Libby, SXSW 2017 Olympus Drink and Click - Austin, Texas

Libby, SXSW 2017 Olympus Drink and Click – Austin, Texas

For the final photo of this six post mini-series, I present Libby in Monochrome. As you may recall, I shot all three models at the SXSW Olympus Drink and Click, which took place about a month ago. This is the black and white version of “Libby in Color” which I posted three days ago. However, in addition, I have several more photos, I took during the same session.

Through a confluence of events, I ended up taking and making more keepers of Libby. Libby’s location had a lot more room, which allowed me to use the 75mm f1.8. It’s a harder lens to shoot than the 45mm but I enjoy the challenge and the dreaminess of shallow depth of field. I liked the lighting better too, being placed more to her left. Finally, I’ve shot Libby more often and I think we are comfortable with each other. She also seems to appreciate the black and whites.

Libby, SXSW 2017 Olympus Drink and Click - Austin, Texas
Libby, SXSW 2017 Olympus Drink and Click - Austin, Texas

I shot more in the portrait orientation than usual. Probably because her slender, upright form and tightness of the booth worked better, framed as a vertical. While I started out far, trying to frame half the body, I began to move in. The 150mm equivalent, which I find a bit long for portraits, compelled me to get closer. Luckily, the long focal length does not adversely distort facial features. When I started out in photography, I would get close with a wider angle, which, while potentially creates interesting distortions, generally isn’t considered flattering for portraits.

Libby, SXSW 2017 Olympus Drink and Click - Austin, Texas

Sometimes motion blur, an outtake really, has an interesting, unintended effect. I think the imprecise framing and the casual throw away nature of this shot has a certain appeal. I shot at 1/80 of a second, which generally worked well, but was too slow when shooting in between posing changes.

Libby, SXSW 2017 Olympus Drink and Click - Austin, Texas

On the other hand, here’s an extreme closeup with precise and sharp focusing. Focused on Libby’s left eye, there’s only a vertical band of sharpness. The long reach of the 150mm equivalent allowed me to shoot this way, without being uncomfortably close.

Libby, SXSW 2017 Olympus Drink and Click - Austin, Texas

I’m not sure if I have a favorite, but I decided to finish with this one, with a rather conventional framing instead of an extreme closeup.

I shot all six photos using the in-camera, built-in Olympus PEN-F “Mono Profile 2”. I also shot in RAW, but it’s easier and enjoyable to use the in-camera stuff. Sure, RAW gives you the ultimate in flexibility, but as I talked about yesterday, it takes a lot of effort, at least for me, to do black and white conversions.

If I get the lighting right, the PEN-F monochromes can be very satisfying.

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5 thoughts on “Libby in Monochrome

  1. These portraits are really fun, Andy, along with your comments. I have the same camera and lenses and run through the same inner dialogue of choices while setting up shots. So glad that you decided to expand your repertoire and share the results.

    1. Thank you, Rev. Heng Sure. Glad you enjoyed it. Yes, there’s constant inner dialog, confusion and uncertainty making images. Especially the kind of images that I’m not proficient at, like portraits.

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