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Chronically Monochromatic: Part II

In my last article, I introduced you to the idea of documenting my life in black-and-white photography. This time around, I've recently obtained a 28mm 2.8 lens, so I've gone wide-angle, and I love it.

Black-and-white film is such a beautiful thing. When I wrote the last article, I had still not yet shot on actual black-and-white film (except for during my college days); I’d just de-saturated them on my computer. The results of doing that were great, but the results of shooting natively on black-and-white film have been wonderful, in my opinion. There’s an aesthetic to it that you just don’t get by simply desaturating color print film. It has qualities of its own that are different from other films. I can’t really describe it, but I’ll let you look at the pictures yourselves and see what you think.

Recently, I watched the 1964 war film “The Train,” with Burt Lancaster. It was shot in black and white, and during the 60’s, that kind of film had really reached its peak, in my opinion. Watching that film only strengthened my love for this stuff. The cinematography was very good, and the whole film just had this great look to it. All of it was shot on location, most likely using some available light in some scenes, and all of the outdoor shots were overcast, giving everything a soft, but high-contrast look. It was just great.

So why did I just spend a whole paragraph talking about a movie? I don’t know, it was inspiring to me in my black-and-white journey, I guess. If you love black-and-white film, you should check it out!

So back to me and my own photography. Recently, I found a very cheap but very beautiful 28mm 2.8 wide angle lens for my Minolta SR-T 101. I had been using mainly a 50mm 1.8, so I had a pretty limited variety of shots at my disposal. But this new wide angle lens has just opened up a multitude of new possibilities – landscapes, wide shots of rooms, closeups with big, deep backgrounds, self-portraits, you name it. It’s amazing! I still use my 50mm quite frequently, but having this other lens has been so much fun.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you’re enjoying this at least a fraction of the amount that I am! If I’ve strengthened your love for black-and-white film by even just a hair, I’ll be thrilled.

written by joefrank

4 comments

  1. highdesertdan

    highdesertdan

    I prefer black and white as well but the hook that got me was when I got a hand-me-down dark room and started printing my own pictures. The look of black and white prints, when done well, in the traditional way is enough to almost make you weep with joy.

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  2. joefrank

    joefrank

    That's awesome, man. That would be a dream-come-true for me!
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  3. highdesertdan

    highdesertdan

    People are almost giving away dark room setups on places like craig's list. I have seen a lot of them for $100-$200 bucks for everything you need except chemicals. All you have to do is figure out if you are going to be printing 35mm or 120, because you need different lenses for each, and then figure out where to find a room that is completely dark and away you go. Once you get going you will see pretty quickly how addictive printing is. :)

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  4. joefrank

    joefrank

    Oh, I bet! I remember it from my college days, and it was so much fun. I'll have to look around and see what I can find. Thanks for the info :)
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