The Hummers of Summer – A Study in Black and White

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This week I was reading a blog about my camera model and the author issued a challenge. Shoot it like a Film Camera While this blog is specifically about shooting an Olympus E-M5, this entry was one that I thought made a lot of sense to almost any digital shooter. Take your state-of-the-art digital camera, strip it of its bells and whistles, limit your options, and process it all using the same settings. Don’t look at the images for 12 hours – imagine you have dropped it off for developing, just like the good old days.

I decided to shoot some hummingbirds on mine and my neighbor’s porches. No ISO adjustments, no DIS mode, no noise control. Set the aperture, focus, click. I decided that I would “process” these shots in black and white. I saw a photo of a hummingbird on Facebook yesterday (the image at the beginning of this post – from the OSU archives) shot sometime in the non-digital past in that luscious yellowish black and white. I loved that the details were so silver and pristine with no color to take away from the purity of the image. I output my images in a black and white pinhole with a light sepia. All processed exactly the same.

What follows are 30 shots from my 36 exposure “roll” of imaginary film shot over the last few days and “processed” late last night.

Some are more successful than others. I love the way that they have a more natural feel in the absence of vivid red plastic. I was happy to see more detail than I had imagined.

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It’s actually a little liberating to shoot and hope for the best. It may not be my best work, but there are some that I really like the feel of. Who knows – doing something like this – stepping away from technology, will make me a better shooter. I don’t miss the color, and that’s interesting considering my subject matter.

Give it a try – shoot it like film!

16 thoughts on “The Hummers of Summer – A Study in Black and White

  1. what an interesting challenge! As you say, some turned out really well. I think most the shots where the light caught the hummingbird at just the right angle are the best.

    • I feel like I have 5 or 6 that I really like, even those I would like to play with the exposure a bit (I guess I can pretend I’m in the darkroom:) I agree about the ones in the light – some were probably better in B&W because they had too stark highlights. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Thanks Honie – I don’t know if I’m patient or just easily entertained. I spent Friday and Saturday setting up more feeders so that I could sit on my porch all day yesterday snapping birds:)

  2. These are stunning! I don’t miss the color either, which like you say is strange. And I’m a painter! But I love these. there is so much detail when you look for it. I love them!

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