Humbled Pie, who has a very good photography blog, recommended that I try converting one of my recent pictures into black-and-white. That sounded like a good idea to me, too! The picture comes from my photo essay of people at work in San Francisco. When I reexamined it, some little flaws in the original became obvious.
I like to crop pictures to eliminate distractions, and it occurred to me that while I had straightened, cropped and adjusted the lighting and shadows, too much remained. In particular, the upper left corner was too red, distracting from the reddish tones in the lower half of the shot. So back to the virtual chopping block!
A little better. One little issue; the red of the bus has become a distraction. Now for some experimenting.
The first black-and-white is just the first shot in a simple conversion. Both shots diminish the reddish background, and the messenger and his bike seem to pop out of the background better. I have a slight preference for the cropped version because the upper left corner still proved problematic, but now I have an issue with both cropped pictures: are the man’s left foot and the bike’s front wheel too close to the edge of the composition? I honestly don’t know, but my instinct wants a little more space. But that would reintroduce the problem of the upper left corner.
Tough call. Good street photography poses so many challenges.
Finally, a happy accident. I was desaturating the photo in iPhoto to get rid of the color when my finger slipped off the mouse. I almost cursed my clumsiness until I saw something
It’s interesting! Removing most of the color in the background really draws attention to the foreground.
I’ll have to remember to try partial desaturation more often. Have a great weekend full of great pictures.
Vonn Scott Bair