Oak City

Photographed on 9/9/2023 - 9/19/2023

Published on 10/2/2023

This is the second full reel of black and white film I completed. The majority of these shots come from several photo walks around Raleigh. I went on these walks on weekends, after work, and with a new friend. Each time I learned a little more about the city and how it was laid out. I also learned a little more about film, how the camera works, and how to frame a scene.

Perhaps one of the biggest things I've learned from shooting in black and white is how I prefer to structure my images. Because all the color information is stripped from a monochrome image, all that is left is the composition and lighting. It is truly the purest form of photography in the sense that to make a great black and white image you have to understand the fundamentals of how your camera works.

For me, I discovered in this set and the previous black and white reel that I enjoy playing with foreground and background. I like shooting from behind a tree, around a corner, or in front of a fence. The more you can establish your foreground from the background the better. I love utilizing this to make the viewer feel a sense of being locked out or of standing in a scene and looking out.

This is not a complicated thing to do by any means, and it doesn't always make for great looking photographs, but it does greatly influence what I include in the frame. If there is a lot of empty space on a wall or in the sky within the frame, finding something like a sign or some bushes can give the photo a layered feeling to it.

Properly exposing the image is also important for black and white as a lot of visual coherence can be lost or gained with an adjustment of the light meter. I have shyed away from experimenting more with under or over exposing the film as I mainly wanted to make sure I could expose normally. I think moving forward with film I would like to experiment more with different exposures. I would also love to photograph some people, but I find I shy away from making others the subject of my work. By photographing landscapes and myself I involve no one else directly in my hobby. This is something I would like to move away from moving forward. I think it will lead to far more engaging images.

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