B&W is alive and well

When you look in art galleries, what do you see? Black and white prints. Although this is sometimes silly – in the 1970s, colour started to be seen as art too, so let’s get with the times – sometimes it’s a good thing.

Here’s the rebuilt gate to the Jewish cemetery in Gouda, the Netherlands. The city I went to high school in.

This gate was rebuilt in 1980, long after the Jewish cemetery itself was moved – since no Jews lived in Gouda anymore after the war. One terrible example:  Friday, April 9, 1943, the Jewish retirement home in Gouda was raided by the SS, assisted by Dutch police from The Hague and Gouda. All residents were deported; none ever returned. The Dutch have always “respected authority” – order is order.  Awful, and there’s a lot to make up for. Fortunately, many Dutch families sheltered and hid Jews at severe risk to their own lives.

Incidentally, I believe I am wanted in The Netherlands, for not paying a speeding ticket from last year (they time you on the freeways and then do the math and send you the fine, no trial, no argument. Over my dead body would I ever live there again!). Problem is, they send the ticket to you even in Canada without a payment method, unless you are Dutch and in Holland. No credit cards, no cheques. So of course I did not pay. So I shall be arrested next time I enter that country. All because I drove like 5km/h (3 mph) over the limit on a freeway. Blind and inflexible adherence to “law”. Have they learned nothing since the 1940s? The Nuremberg laws were “law”, too.

Just outside Gouda, this is what things looked like then, and it is what things still look like today:

You see those trees? That’s what I remember, riding my bicycle westward to school every day, fighting that damn wind.

Black and white pictures are a great way to convey such moods.

Here’s how you do this:

  1. Shoot RAW – this is essential
  2. Set your Picture Style to B/W. (“Monochrome”)
  3. Your previews are now B/W – but the pictures are still in colour.
  4. Now use the B&W tab in the HSL section of the DEVELOP module to convert. That way you can tweak the relative strengths of all the colours. Like adding colour filters in the old film days.

    An added benefit: you can change your mind and so colour if you choose. This only works, of course, if you shoot RAW.

    Try to shoot some B/W. It’s cool.


    Admin news:

    • Courses still open: Flash (Oct 3, all evening) and the 5-evening fundamentals course (weekly, starting Oct 2). These are in Oakville, and small – max. 6 students, and I will run them with as few as two. So, book soon.
    • I have the 24mm T/S f/3.5 tilt-shift lens for a few days, from GTA Lens rentals. But better still: I have arranged a 10% discount for my readers, from the already low prices. Click on the logo on the right. Renting a lens is a great way to try out a lens you’ve always wanted.


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