Facebook’s Five-day black-and-white challenge

By | January 5, 2015

I have to confess I really not a fan of Facebook, I am far too mistrusting of its privacy features and it’s just too easy for anything that is uploaded to Facebook to be shared, copied, or stripped out. In other words, whatever is posted there goes straight into the public domain.

Anyway, I use it tentatively and at the end of 2014 I was nominated for the Five-Day-Black-and-white challenge, whereby you are expected to post five decent b/w images of your choice for critical appraisal. So I thought that instead of relying totally on FB to show these, I would use my blog and do the same here. So here goes:

Stone wall & sky

Image 1: Cotswold stone wall and an amazing sky

Image one is quite local to me. When I moved to the West Midlands a few years ago we spent some time looking around the area. We’re right on the edge of the Cotswolds, a really beautiful part of England and, in some areas, a designated “AONB”, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Cotswold stone is unmistakable, a pale yellow-gold stone used in many of the buildings in the area and also as a basis for walls. A walk around Broadway Tower one afternoon gave me my first photograph, with a Cotswold stone wall and a sky that just asked for some monochrome filtering, with good blues and a superb cloud formation.

Margaret Broughton

Image 2: Margaret Broughton, 1922–2012

Image 2 is my mother, who died in 2012. I have a number of pictures of her over years – not too surprising – but this is my favourite, taken in 2006. A very gentle woman, which comes across in her expression here. Taken during one of her visits to us and looks good in black-and-white, I hope you agree. Thank you for the kind comments on FB about this picture.

Water in motion

Image 3: Water in motion

Image 3: A shot I took in New Zealand in 2008. We were en route to some glow worm caves on the north island and crossed a stream on a fairly rickety bridge. I saw this stream of water pouring down beneath us and used a slowish shutter (1/8 second) to get the water flow, the image stabilisation on the lens did rather help… This picture, in colour, is on our living room wall but the conversion to b/w has allowed me to being out more detail in the flow.

Teenage sisters, a portrait

Image 4: Liz and Elle Grant

Day 4: a studio portrait, the daughters in a family, really good friends back in St Albans. Wonderfully style-conscious and looking cool and thank you to Liz and Elle for giving me the OK to use this picture. They will probably look back on it with a mixture of horror, hilarity and embarrassment but I still think it’s a great image. Looks far better in b/w than in colour, it’s all in the look and the eye contact.

Broadway Tower

Image 5: Broadway Tower, nr Broadway, Gloucestershire

Day 5: for the final image I am coming back to the Cotswolds to Broadway Tower. This little folly was built for Lady Coventry just before 1800 and it can be seen as a small blip on the skyline from Evesham. It’s just 20m tall but gives a good view of the surrounding countryside and the Vale of Evesham from the top. Again, what attracted me with this picture were the amazing wind-swept clouds in the sky, so a little coaxing with some orange filtration gave this result.

So that completes my five-day black-and-white challenge. It was an enjoyable exercise, going through a range of subjects and seeing what worked well in b/w and doing the conversions. Now I need to get back to work…

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