Newbie question about learning B&W photography

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Danny, Jul 14, 2003.

  1. Danny

    Danny Guest

    I'm new to photography and was wondering what reccomendations some of you
    might have on learning black and white photography in general.

    I want to start with B&W because, (for me at any rate), it is more dramatic,
    sensual, and mysterious...

    My first goal is to learn to be able to photograph decently in a variety of
    situations... primarily architecture and people to start...

    I have just bought a canon elan 7e and gotten a red filter for it.. I'll
    get others as I learn about them and their impact on the photo.

    The first thing I've done is to get Creative Camera Control by Peter laytin
    and have read that twice. I am going to start taking photos this week and
    trying different things... I do not have a light meter as of yet, but
    should have one, (and a decent flash), by weeks end.

    I have also found a good photographic reatiler that offers classes, but as
    of now there is not a beginners class scheduled...

    I can't seem to find much, (via internet or yellow pages), on groups in the

    Anyone have suggestions?


    Danny Anderson
    Kansas City
    Danny, Jul 14, 2003
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  2. You're going to need a spot meter and do some film testing.
    Randall Ainsworth, Jul 14, 2003
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  3. Danny

    Jon Pike Guest

    Your canon will have all the light meter you'll ever need.
    If you want to really understand B&W photography, read The Negative and The
    Print by A.Adams.
    Those books explain the basics, and if you understand the basics, you can
    do anything.
    Jon Pike, Jul 14, 2003
  4. Danny

    Brian Guest

    Before I get some smart arse pointing out that a 10% spot meter and a 10%
    partila spot are 1 in trhe same thing, I know, i just got keyboard hicups.

    Brian, Jul 14, 2003
  5. Danny

    Frederick Guest

    First thing I would ask is how "new" are you? With any form of
    photography weather it be B&W or color, you need to learn the basics.
    Shooting black and white can teach you the basics as well, but I would
    start with that before you try all the dramatic stuff that you wish to
    do in B&W.

    Also if you already know that stuff, then I would suggest on the web
    go to They have a lot of stuff on black and white.

    Also you might want to go to the book store and get some books on
    Black and white technique, as well as lighting for Black and white.

    In addition to reading, experiment with what you learn. That is how
    you progress. There is a web site called
    They have a message board there where you can post pictures for
    review. Feel free to post some of your work in there. Also don't be
    afraid to take constructional advise. That is how you learn. The
    people in this forum are very nice and they won't bash you. This is
    the only board I know if that you can post pictures to. If anyone else
    knows of any please let us know. I would be interested in seeing some.
    Frederick, Jul 14, 2003
  6. Danny

    Jon Pike Guest

    All digital equipment is the same, meter built in. Many medium format
    cameras now have meters built in too. Are you saying you haven't picked up
    a new 35mm in the last 10 years?
    Jon Pike, Jul 14, 2003
  7. Hi, I'm new here and I use a Sverdlovsk-4 meter which is cheap and very
    precise. I'm really happy with it.
    Marcelo Guerra, Jul 14, 2003
  8. Never heard of it but if it's accurate that's all that counts. I have
    an ancient Gossen Luna Pro (with the spot attacment).
    Randall Ainsworth, Jul 14, 2003
  9. Danny

    Jon Pike Guest

    You have time to check the AE, and then switch to manual, and still get the
    I'll have to agree there. The asahi (pentax) V that I have access to is a
    Jon Pike, Jul 15, 2003
  10. You have time to check the AE, and then switch to manual, and still get the
    I shoot mostly in shutter priority mode. After 30+ of doing
    photography I have an intuitive sense of knowing if the meter is
    telling me the right thing or not. So, I make a judgement call whether
    to take the camera's assessment or change it. It's pretty good at
    being right.
    Randall Ainsworth, Jul 15, 2003
  11. Danny

    Danny Guest

    I'll do that. Thanks.
    Danny, Jul 15, 2003
  12. Danny

    Danny Guest

    It is.. thank you.

    Danny, Jul 15, 2003
  13. I could never understand Ansel's book even after reading it several
    times. What it took was someone who knew the Zone System to guide me
    through it. Once that was done, it was easy and improved my B&W work
    tremendously. It was like rediscovering photography.
    Randall Ainsworth, Jul 15, 2003
  14. Danny

    Jon Pike Guest

    Then you're not doing it all manually :p
    Jon Pike, Jul 15, 2003
  15. Danny

    Jon Pike Guest

    Which book? He's written dozens :p
    Jon Pike, Jul 15, 2003
  16. Danny

    Steve Guest

    Actually it doesn't. Not a true spot meter anyway.
    Steve, Jul 15, 2003
  17. Danny

    Brian Guest

    I think he means the set of three books which should be used together and
    treated as one, basically they are the photographers bible. These books have
    been about since Adams was asked to write an article for a photography mag
    back in the 1930's, but the three listed below are the latest revision, with
    the help of Robert Baker, which cross reference each other and cover most
    aspects of photography
    This three book set by Ansel Adams is :-

    1) The Camera ISBN 0-8212-2184-1
    2) The Negative ISBN 0-8212-2186-8
    3) The Print ISBN 0-8212-2187-8

    Brian, Jul 15, 2003
  18. Danny

    Jon Pike Guest

    What makes it not a 'true' spot meter?
    Jon Pike, Jul 15, 2003
  19. Danny

    Norman Worth Guest

    Take lots of pictures.

    Also study the way light is used in the black and white photos in books and
    magazines. Printing is an important part of black and white, so perfect
    your darkroom technique. But mostly take lots of pictures. Try for two or
    three rolls a week minimum. Evaluate your work and plan your improvements.
    Norman Worth, Jul 15, 2003
  20. I'm old and slow and methodical.

    I thought I was the only one. :)
    Randall Ainsworth, Jul 15, 2003
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