Monochrome — updated July 13th, 2017 with a better viewing method


Monochrome — updated July 13th, 2017 with a better viewing method

Many many years ago when I was just a kid working in my dad’s darkroom, black and white photography was what we did.  People shot in black and white, processed black and white and created images that were story telling, dramatic, honing in on what was the primary subject and not the colors.  Black and White totally eliminated color and isolated what is important in an image, the subject.

I am not against good color images and to be honest, if done right can provide us with the beauty of the world overall.  Color is most certainly a part of photographic lives and story telling so I am not discounting what great color represents to the photographer and the images a photographer gives to us.

There is a long-awaited and most certainly deserved rebirth  of the monochrome image, which is not solely black and white.  People are beginning to appreciate how a monochrome image draw them into the image, right to the heart of the story, the subject.

Overtime and even more so today I have processed digital images that were created in raw color by the cameras software, into monochrome images with a variety of software products.  With wonderful software in the market today I have come to process images both in color and black and white in Picktorial 3.0 raw processor which provides me with universal and local adjustments for all my tools.  Then in the final process should I want a more artistic approach I either export a copy of my image to Nik Silverefex Pro 2.0 (soon to be discontinued completely) or Alien Skin X2 Layer software  and/or On1 Photo Raw

However, as I am a Mac user, I do use Picktorial for over all adjustments and then Alien Skin x2 to finish if necessary.  I should note that Alien Skin is also a raw processor for both Windows and Mac as is On1.

I have also set up my Fuji X cameras, all three of them to shoot black and white Jpegs and color raw files at the same time.  So what I see in the viewfinder and LCD screen is a black and white (monochrome) image.


Adjective:  1) having only one color, 2) representing colors with shades of gray (photography).

Origin: From Ancient Greek μονόχρωμος ‎(monókhrōmos), from μόνος ‎(mónos, one) + χρῶμα ‎(khrôma, color); mono- +‎ -chrome.

First known use: Early decades of the 19th century.


Digital photography, monochrome is the capture of only shades of black by the sensor, or by post-processing a color image to present only the perceived brightness by combining the values of multiple channels (usually red, blue, and green). The weighting of individual channels may be selected to achieve a desired artistic effect; if only the red channel is selected by the weighting then the effect will be similar to that of using a red filter on panchromatic film. If the red channel is eliminated and the green and blue combined then the effect will be similar to that of orthochromatic film or the use of a cyan filter on panchromatic film. The selection of weighting thus allows a wide range of artistic expression in the final monochromatic image.


The Exposure Triangle: Making Sense of Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO-via PetaPixel














If you are about to learn something new, or are revisiting what you may of have sort of put aside for the love of automation it is always a smart thing to do learn or relearn the basics.

This article posted on PetaPixel is going to do just that for you.

How important is exposure in photography? What are the components of exposure? What is the “Exposure Triangle”? These are the questions I will attempt to a

Source: The Exposure Triangle: Making Sense of Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO

Major firmware updates coming for Fujifilm X-T2 and X-Pro2: DpReview & Fujirumors

Thank goodness there is at least one camera company that cares about and supports their customers.




If you are a Fuji X photographer you have to be in love with the folks at Fuji who have continuously updated firmware in their camera models at no charge and without any hassle since the inception of the product line.

Unlike other camera companies whose firmware updates are for fixing existing problems that should have been done long before the camera or lenses came to market Fuji not only admits when there has been a problem but also continues at least for a couple of years to update firmware so that it incorporates brand new features that the cameras did not have before.

In this case Fuji has announced one upgrade for the Xpro2 and the XT2 that will be here at the end of March and another that will probably come the end of may and it will add 33 brand new or enhanced features between the two models.

Not only do they produce beautiful and innovative products, you are virtually guaranteed that you will not be left behind as new models enter the market place.

I would call them the industry good guys.


Fujifilm will launch a couple of major firmware updates for its X-T2 and X-Pro2 cameras. Features on the way include focal length-dependent minimum shutter speed in ISO auto and added tools for video shooters. Read more

Source: Major firmware updates coming for Fujifilm X-T2 and X-Pro2: Digital Photography Review

AND THE CYCLE CONTINUES AS Nikon cancels DL compact series citing high development costs: Digital Photography Review



AND THE CYCLE CONTINUES AS Nikon cancels DL compact series citing high development costs

It was back in November 2016 that Nikon did what was unheard of in the walls of Nikon Inc., and downsized by 1000 personnel to help stop a leaking boat.

Now the exceptional, never delivered DL series of cameras is gone before it ever really got here.  They have had all kinds of excuses for why delivery could not happen and now they say it is too expensive.

Nikon says that the development costs had become too great to continue. A statement released today also mentions the company’s concern that it wouldn’t sell enough units to make up for the increased costs, due to a slow down in the market.

On top of all that they have had an extreme financial loss as stated in this article from DPreview.

I personally think the DL series had great consumer potential, if they had delivered  when they were supposed to.  I know a great many people looking to carry less and some were even willing to own both cameras in lieu of a DSLR outfit.  Sad.

What is even worse is the fact that Nikon was and is the only camera company not to embrace mirrorless cameras.  Unlike Leica, Hasselblad, Canon, Fuji, Olympus, Panasonic, Sony, and the list goes on.

And then there is the Key Mission 360 degree cameras.  Is this late to the party POV camera enough to pull up the Nikon losses?  Only time will tell.  In the meantime competition like GoPro and others have been showing declining sales of this type of product for several years now.  Who is steering the Nikon ship?

The camera manufacturers have been on the losing end for a while because of steep competition from the phone industry.  But no matter what any one says, the phone concept as being a main camera for the serious photographer is BS.

In my opinion he quality of images from terrific stand alone cameras is still greater, better, and necessary if consumers are going to do the smart thing and print their images instead of goo gooing  over them in front of a tablet, phone, or computer monitor which don’t offer what a good print will always offer.


Nikon has officially put an end to the DL series. Announced just under a year ago, the three DL compacts would have had 1″ sensors, and were originally set to ship in June 2016. Read more

Source: Nikon cancels DL compact series citing high development costs: Digital Photography Review




Pete Bridgwood

Pete penned this article in 2014 but I only just came across it thanks to Fuji forum member on` DPreview.

Adobe Lightroom 5.0 which is an excellent piece of software has had issues with Fuji’s Xtrans sensor output because of the sensor detour from the standard Bayer Pattern.  Because of that many Fuji X photographers have sought out other software like Capture1, Irident developer, PhotoNinja, and several others.

Pete seems to have come up with a rather simple set of presets that really work quite well.  They are superb starting points and in some cases a total solution.

If you are a Fuji X shooter and have been frustrated by having to use more than one program to achieve the results you want then his could be very helpful for you.

Good luck.  Let me know how it works out for you in the comments section.  I would be curious how you felt the images worked.  Read his whole article.


Lock and Load And Get Ready To Light ‘Em Up

Lock and Load And Get Ready To Light ‘Em Up

May 25th, 2014 – Edited on March 16th, 2015

By Elliot Stern and Brian Zwit

Shadows, darkness, crevices, creases, textures, hats, and maybe even a chocolate Labrador Retriever are all things that could do with a little extra light. Why? Because your camera can sometimes use a little help when photographing dark subjects or subjects in deep shadows.

There are those who believe that an image can always be fixed in software. However, that isn’t true for all images. I have seen too many images taken from photograph to the look of a drawing with the massive sweep of a few sliders.  Of course learning how to process an image is not a bad idea for any of us. (Check out Brian’s Lightroom classes)

I believe and many others believe the adage, “get it right in the camera” is just as true today as it was when we shot film and before Photoshop. What will happen in the future no one really knows.

However, the proper use of software especially on raw files can make stunning differences on the side of excellent.

But for now, properly reading your histogram and using the controls of your camera properly will go a long way to getting the exposure correct.  But there will be times even though you have followed the rules there will be areas when the camera and you will need a little help to get your exposure evened out or with more impact.

Having been a photographer for a good part of my life, I have seen a lot of changes take place.  One thing however has always remained constant: You need to be able to control your exposure and sometimes add light to a scene.

There are a variety of ways to control your light.  A recent article I wrote spoke about light modifiers.  There is another way and that way allows you to more precisely place light exactly where you need it as opposed to the broad base light distribution of light modifiers.

Fill flash has been around for a very long time.  When I first used it everything was manual and cameras used film.  Unlike digital there was no way of knowing how well the effect was applied to the image until you got the processed film back from the lab.  Today because of digital we have instant feed back, which helps us to quickly see our results and adjust the light as needed.

How much gear you need depends upon the task at hand.  For most of us, one flash, maybe two flashes will do the job.  I usually carry one small flash for boosting the impact of light in relatively  small areas.  I shoot with Fuji X cameras, and Fuji makes a very small flash model and that works fine for me.

There are of course very elaborate flash systems made by some camera manufacturers  that you can couple up with Pocket Wizard products for lighting up a whole city block if needed.  For our purposes simply lighting up a small segment of a subject to bring out more detail or add greater depth or perhaps create shadow where there is none or lighten a shadow where  there is a dark one.  In some cases, when photographing people outdoors, shadows under the eyes can be created by being under a tree or wearing a baseball cap or  hat.  This can change the entire look of a person, but with a little bit of fill the situation is remedied by lightening up those shadows.

Most systems that we all shoot with today have what is called Auto Fill Flash.  Here the camera decides exactly (supposedly) how much extra light is needed.  However these flashes and cameras also allow controlling the amount of light manually, usually anywhere from 1/3 stops to five stops.  By working manually there is more control.  Working in Auto could cause too many variances.

I, however, use this minuscule amount of flash for field work.  It could be in creating a landscape and lighting the foreground or it could be adding light in macro photography either from the front, sides, or the back of the subject and from a variety of angles.   If I wanted to work with several lights at an architectural site I would set the flashes manually, placing them where they would provide the right amount of light needed.

So now you are wondering about triggering these flashes.  If I was working within 50 feet, I could use almost any flash trigger in the market place.  But if I wanted to get reliable radio signals to my flashes from my camera the only great options are made by PW-PLUS3_thumbPocket Wizard.  The range on Pocket Wizards far exceed anything else in the market and are trusted by a great many professional photographers and are very serious triggering devices at some very serious prices.  You get what you pay for.

But for photographers who are only going to use this type of flash control for simple fill situations over small distances then triggers like the FlashQFlashQTriggerSystem_4-620x290 will work just fine within about a 25 foot range

Remember always use Radio Signal triggers. Never Infrared, because radio can travel around corners and through walls, and infrared cannot.  Radio signals are simply more reliable with greater distance range.

Digital Zone System

This article is very informative.  Push forward while reading it. The beginning of the article is more historical where the author talks about the zone system and film, but he also quickly gets down to the digital zone system as he calls it and has great info on the use of the histogram and color space.


Digital Zone System.


Digital cameras have certainly come of age.  Today digital camera’s are computers and enable us to capture beautiful images as long as you make use of a lot of the technology plugged into the camera bodies and lenses.

I am not writing this blog article to convince you to use all the features your camera offers but to write about one feature that is crucial to keeping your cameras current.

Because your cameras act like a computer, manufacturers from time to time make changes to the software/firmware of your camera and provide easy ways to access these changes and KEEP YOUR CAMERA AND LENSES & FLASHES UP TO DATE.

It would be worth your while to get on the manufacturers web site and ask to be notified when there are firmware upgrades

You can log on to product review workshops such as WWW.DPREVIEW.COM as well as  Image Resource who post changes when they occur and give you links to the manufacturer’s web upgrade pages.

Most upgrades involve a correction to the cameras firmware.

Some companies such as FUJIFILM not only make corrections, or upgrade features in older cameras that are in new cameras coming out.  They are pretty much unique in the photo industry when it comes to that kind of upgrade.

It is not only camera bodies that get upgraded but lenses too and in some cases, electronic flashes, but rarely.

Keep your gear up to date.  Go to your manufacturers web sites and find out what you might be missing.

It is very important however to read what the upgrades being offered do for your camera and you.  There may be times when a manufacturer changes something that you don’t want changed.  An example of that is some of the latest firmware upgrades from Nikon make third party batteries useless in your cameras, and another change from Nikon has disabled some Sigma Lenses.

I do not know for sure but I would not be surprised if other manufacturers change things from time to time as well.