Defaulting to the Tradition of Black and White, Part 2

Library at Night - Austin, Texas

Library at Night – Austin, Texas

With my 6th Street destination covered, I was heading back to my car, retracing my path. I passed through 2nd Street again, but a very different one from an hour earlier. It was nighttime now and making photographs with my old and limited Olympus XZ-1 was going to be difficult. Or, at least, that’s what I thought.

Black and White helps because the higher ISO noise can be “masked” as part of the gritty aesthetic of monochrome. There are limits to this, of course, and the XZ-1 will hit them quicker than modern cameras with larger sensors. In part two of “Defaulting to the Tradition of Black and White”, here are several more images for your consideration.

Torchy's Glowing Interior - Austin, Texas
Torchy's Glowing Exterior - Austin, Texas

What I expected would be difficult photos to make at night, were easier than I thought. Bright lights from signs and interiors cast more light than I expected. Coupled with an image stabilized 1/15 of a second and an f1.8 to f2 aperture, I was able to shoot at ISO 100 to 160. Well within the high-quality range of this camera.

The two images above are glowing scenes from the inside and outside Torchy’s. The Library photos are beyond 2nd street and close to where I parked my car.

Pixelated Buildings - Austin, Texas

I call this photo, pixelated buildings, because of the low light, super grainy image. At ISO 500 and post-processing to brighten shadows, the noise has unwittingly been emphasized. With the monochrome treatment, the low-quality becomes an artistic effect, perhaps like an Instagram filter. Expect, this was not done on purpose. It was a limitation of the eight-year-old Olympus XZ-1 with a small sensor. The camera does surprisingly well under many conditions but it can not defy its age, technology, and physics.

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