October is turning into a month of monochrome pictures so I thought I would show you how one plant’s flowers are transformed by a spring in black and white.
I am thankful I can take photographs of these unique and amazing flowers in New Zealand’s sunny spring.
You can see that the flowers are brightly coloured and are a tempting treat for Tui birds who feed on the nectar every spring.
Kowhai are small woody legume trees within the genus Sophora that are native to New Zealand. There are eight species, with Sophora microphylla and S. tetraptera being the most recognised as large trees.wikipedia
I wrote about taking black and white pictures and one of the things I learned that made a big impact was that shape, forms and texture really matter.
Take a look at the same picture without vibrant colour and you get a different view of the blossom. No longer dazzled by the vivid colour you can see the flared shapes of the blossoms and, on the lower left, there are flowers yet to open.
The other interesting thing for you as a viewer is that the flowers in the background are fuzzy, due to the camera settings, and your attention is drawn to the flowers you can see clearly.
Definition. The acceptable amount of in-focus area around what you are focusing on is called Depth of Field.PetaPixel
At F 5.6 lots of light enter the lens and creates what is called a shallow depth of field (see definition above). This means I get lots of softly focused background and the flowers at the front stand out more.
What if I’d used a larger F-stop say, F22?
I am thankful I read up about this before you asked.
F22 is considered by expert photographers to be ideal for views like landscapes because you get a very clear and large depth of field and everything will be captured in focus.
Now what I would use for my Kowhai flowers? So my Kowhai flowers had a good close setting at F5.6 that works in both black and white, and colour, give different but clear views thanks to F6 and the shallow depth of field.
Spring Cats in Colour or Black and White
Finally, a less than perfect photograph that surprised me. This is Chenzou from the cat cafe and he is leaping and twisting after a wand toy.
The picture is not in focus but you get an impression of height and speed. It is one of those photos I know can be improved upon, but also one I am very pleased with because it shows how athletic cats are.
As well as Chenzou, you can also see through the glass wall to the retail area beyond and the line of cute and colourful socks.
Even if the picture had been sharp with the fuzzy depth of field like the Kowhai trees I still have the splashes of colour so I did a quick switch to monochrome.
The difference is an eye-opener. Chenzou’s fur appears to glow more in the light and he stands out more from the background more clearly than the colour photograph.
The row of socks are still in the image but they don’t shout ‘look at me’ as they do in the colour picture.
So I like the difference.
I believe that with a much faster shutter speed I might have got sharper pictures so I will explore and learn. My camera is a basic T6 with a kit lens and I aspire to a new lens or two when I have saved up enough money. I am still enjoying exploring settings, shutter speeds learning as I go.
What difference do you think black and white made? Taking the colour doesn’t work every time but it makes you look with new eyes – right?