This post feels kind of obligatory in a way. The weather is a bit cold and dreary so I’ve spent most of the day at my computer going through unprocessed images. Since it is the start of a new year and I was rather negligent with my blog in 2018, I thought I’d kick things off with a post on this first day of 2019. So much has been going through my mind lately, but since this is a photography blog I’ll keep my thoughts focused there.
Due to my busy job and my school work, photography just hasn’t been a huge priority the past year. It’s not where I’d like it to be in my life anyway. I have worked on simplifying things, which has helped. My gear is minimal these days and my photography niches are mainly live music, cars/bikes, and some urban landscapes. I’ve been doing mostly black and white work and I even considered ditching color photography altogether. In fact, I toyed with the idea of a New Year’s resolution to that effect - a year of black and white? As intriguing and tempting as that idea sounds, I’m not committing to that this time around.
I picked up a book of Saul Leiter’s photographs recently and I have to say it has really changed my attitude toward color photography. The muted tones and deep contrast in his photos are quite appealing. Looking through his work was the kick in the pants I needed to look harder at my color photography and try a few things. While I’ve been looking for ways to minimize my gear and workflow, I’m not sure I want to be so specialized as to not work in color at all - at least for now.
My openness to color work and different ways of processing my images resulted in my creating my first photographs of the new year in color. Yesterday I took a drive through some back roads and visited a few small towns. In all honesty, my intention was to photograph in black and white. Actually, I went as far as setting my Fujifilm X100F set to the Acros film simulation, along with raw files being saved. The sky was mostly cloudy and the light was downright uninteresting to me. I’d rather have contrasty light with deep shadows for the kind of imagery I like to create. Despite tweaking the contrast of the black and white JPEG files in camera, the results were downright “meh”.
I could have pushed the files toward what I wanted in Lightroom but it was feeling too forced. Instead, I created a new set of images from the raw files in camera, using Classic Chrome instead of Acros. A bit of punch and tone was added to these in Lightroom, resulting in some contrasty color images with a bit of warm tone that defied the climate of the day. While my heart was initially set on black and white, I liked what I came up with in the end.