black and white challenge 3


This photo is the third that I’m posting in response to a challenge that I was invited to take part in by the splendid rutakintome pictures.

The challenge is:

1.Post a different black and white photo of yours each day for five consecutive days.
2. Nominate a fellow blogger on each day to continue the challenge.

My third nomination is Rabirius, who is producing interesting and beguiling work. Very much a post-photographer, we might say, who creates heavily manipulated images which unashamedly revel in the digital.

I couldn’t take part in a black and white challenge without posting at least one photo from the Sigma Merrill DP1; due to its unique sensor it makes a great monochrome camera. The above was shot on the island of Fuerteventura.


Morros de Bayuyo


I only ended up with a handful of decent landscape shots from Fuerteventura. This one is quite nice as it captures the rather bleak terrain of the island and I like the tones created by the low sun.

I was harshly reminded of a number of things on this trip, which are worth repeating here:

(1) Despite the common perception, a lone wide-angle lens is not enough for landscape work. You will need a much longer lens in many cases. One evening the moon rose spectacularly over Montaña de Arena, it really was an astonishing sight… but not through the 28mm equivalent lens on the Sigma DP1m. Through that it looked like a cigarette above a molehill and the resulting shots were dull and pointless. Of course the DP1m is a fixed lens so if I want to continue using a Sigma Merrill for landscapes (which I do) then I guess I will need to get the 75mm equivalent DP3m as well! Still, with all that sand and dust around the fixed-lens philosophy comes into it’s own.

(2) If you’re setting the hyperfocal distance to maximise the depth of field then make sure you use the settings for the right camera! I managed to use the settings for my GX7 instead of the Sigma, with the end result that most of the backgrounds are soft. This leads us to the next point.

(3) On their own the LCDs on the back of most cameras are totally inadequate for checking focus and are next to invisible in sunlight, even when it’s claimed otherwise. Because I didn’t review my shots on a computer I didn’t notice the issues with focus until it was too late. A loupe is on its way to partly deal with this issue but it’s a real shame that the Sigma Merrills don’t have EVFs.

(4) Landscape photography is hard. Even in the most spectacular places many of the resulting shots seem dull and underwhelming.

(5) If you’re actually on holiday with your kids, rather than on a dedicated shooting trip, you’re going to get precious little time to take photographs with the necessary care.