Defaulting to the Tradition of Black and White, Part 1

Moody Theater Crowd - Austin, Texas

Moody Theater Crowd – Austin, Texas

For a person that doesn’t have a long history with photography, I suppose I have some preconceived notions — like street photography looks better in black and white. I know, of course, there is no reason for this. Just tradition, I suppose. Color works great too and some fine street work has been done with it. But, beyond tradition, I like the abstractness of black and white and the grittiness, especially for urban scenes.

I enjoy the Olympus XZ-1 for its wonderful CCD color and that’s what I mostly explored. However, it can also do some excellent black and white. Especially since its comparably noisy sensor can add texture that can look a bit more film-like.

Out of my colorful album of XZ-1 photos, I picked a few that I prefer in black and white. The first photo is a traditional scene from the street, in front of the Moody Theater where the long-running “Austin City Limits” PBS TV Show is taped. That statue is of Willie Nelson, a music icon in Central Texas and beyond.

Torchy's Inside Out - Austin, Texas

Enhancing this abstract double exposure-like photo, I thought black and white was a natural. I shot this through the window at Torchy’s on 2nd Street. The window reflections give an inside out appearance.

Canoe, Ladybird Lake - Austin, Texas
Canoe, Ladybird Lake - Austin, Texas

For this final image, I liked both the black and white and color in equal measure. I feature both and you can decide which you prefer.

I took all photos in RAW and converted to monochrome in post using Capture One. After years of doing this, I’ve gotten pretty good at dialing-in a very contrasty look that I originally fell in love with on the Olympus PEN-F. I can now mostly recreate that look from any camera.

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