Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Some Instant Digital Gratification in B&W

Muddy Road to the Shooting Range

February in Canada can be tiresome. We start to get a longing for Spring weather, and on very rare occasions, in February  we get an occasional "soft" day, where the air is moist, the temperature sneaks above freezing, and the great outdoors is kind. Yesterday was one of those days. There was just a hint of cold on the wind to remind that it is still winter, but a very warm sun was making it's appearance from behind some beautiful clouds. This is just the kind of day that I like to take a camera for a long walk.

I was in no mood for film... I needed cheering up, so it had to be the instant gratification of digital. I also thought it to be a good time to do what I do best - an old manual focus lens on my DSLR. Furthermore, it would have to be one of my favourites - the diminutive Industar 50-2. This is truly an amazing little lens. Not only does it turn my Digital Rebel into one of my smallest and lightest cameras, it's also one of the sharpest knives in the drawer. Let me re-introduce you to it here, a year ago exactly with this lens on the Rebel Xti I owned at the time. I've cycled through a few digital cameras since then, and this time, the little lens found itself on my Rebel T3i (or EOS 600D). It looks almost exactly the same from the front, so I saw no need to photograph my newest rig.

I also felt that for whatever reason, the 18 MP Rebel T3i gives me better looking JPEGs straight from the camera than my previous "professional" EOS 7D. Both cameras use the same 18 MP sensor, but that's where the similarity ends. I really wanted to test this out, and it seemed like a perfect day to do that in Black and White. I set up for Monochrome with a yellow filter and sharpness set at +5 and contrast at +2.

The results exceeded my expectations. Each shot came out a little dark, because of the way
I had to set my chipped lens adapter at -1.5 Exposure Compensation - for some reason, it appears that this is unnecessary on the T3i - I could have gone ahead with "0" EV. All I had to do was a one-click Auto-Fix in GIMP to get the correct exposure. In some cases, I also lifted the highlights using the "Curves" dialogue, to add a bit of extra sparkle.

Here are a few of the best ones, with emphasis on the dramatic clouds:

Community Garden At Rest

Rail-road Signal Box

Main Street Baptist Church

Field of Ice Crystals (Created by Snow Thrower)

Union Jack

Ice In The Vines

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