With winter well and truly on its way in the southern hemisphere, the weather and conditions in general are not ideal for photography. Shorter sunlight hours and miserable weather are both factors that greatly affect the number of photographic opportunities. However, rather than hiding away in the house with a cup of coffee and the same TV show reruns, get out and get creative with the situation at hand. How? Black and white!!! When colours fail go the traditional black and white.
Having your mind set to monochrome allows you to look at mundane scenarios in an entirely different light. Shades of black, grey and white now present themselves in a monochrome rainbow of potential. Immerse yourself into a bygone world where the masters of early photography lived and breathed and the world was captured in black and white.
A good place to start is the city center. Graffiti, lane ways, locals people, unexplored passageways and museums are all goldmines for black and white photography. Its also a great way to get to know your local city and a good way to discover new venues like cafes, galleries, possible locations for future shoots etc. Also as the lighting changes throughout the day and the standard busy bustle of the city continues, your subject matter will be forever be changing. If you want a real challenge pack only one lens and make it a day to test your way of thinking and shooting. Explore the concrete jungle and pound the pavement!
|Parliament House Canberra|
|War memorial Sydney|
Once outside its time to get friendly with the locals.
With so many people in the city, the potential for a good street portrait or a general portrait is high. The overcast skies eliminate the harsh shadows that plague portrait photography. The overcast light helps bring out the features of your subject and it allows street portraits to be well exposed. Street portraiture not only get the creativity flowing, it could also be a way of meeting new people and friends. Or if the weather is too bad, bring your shoot indoors. Mirrors, tables, patio chairs and pretty much any household item can be used as a prop.
If the city isn't your thing then you can head out into the wilderness and embrace the less than favorable weather. As you journey to you destination, keep your eyes peeled as there are potential shots everywhere. Old ruins and buildings are particular suited to black and white and exploring them can yield great photos and give you a sense of history. I encourage people to seek permission before entering private property and to be cautious at all times.
|bricks and mortar|
Everything that can be done with good weather can be done with bad weather, it may just be a little colder that's all. Landscapes take on an air of mysticism especially if fog is present, and a sense of age and majesty. Combine this with the individual elements within the landscape like trees and flowers, and you will soon not notice the cold and feel the fire that comes with taking exciting photos.
Keep an eye out for the little stuff and also don't limit your shooting to daylight hours
A real black and white challenge is to capture wildlife in a way that is natural and well balanced whilst looking good. Once again the flat lighting of overcast days helps this. If you can make wildlife look good in black and white then everything else is a walk in the park.
|Eastern Grey Kangaroo|
So next time the weather forecast is not terribly promising, think of it as being an opportunity to be more creative and more challenged than usual. Happy shooting.