Black & White Photography – It Has Always Been The Most Telling Of All The Photographic Media – Create Sensative and Bold Artistic Stories

Black and White Photography: It’s All About Tones (Philadelphia, PA)

When: Friday, March 22, 2012, at noon to Sunday, March 24, at approximately 3:00 pm

Where: Philadelphia, PAHotel: The Hampton Inn, Philadelphia, Pa

Instructor: Brian J Zwit and Elliot Stern,  and Keith Ervin

Registration Fee: $450.00

Click here to register for Black and White Photography: It’s All About Tones.

With the victory of digital imaging over film, many photographers thought that the era of black and white photography had come to an end. It was simply impossible to create true, neutral black and white images with the equipment available at that time. However, black and white photography is currently undergoing a renaissance as a result of improvements in software and printers. We can now create black and white images that rival silver halide images.

In Black and White Photography: It’s All About Tones, you will learn how to take and create stunning black and white digital images. You will learn and practice how to choose an appropriate subject, compose your image, calculate exposure, and convert your color digital images to black and white. The workshop includes classroom instruction, field work in downtown Philadelphia and the surrounding area, and practice in the digital darkroom.

Philadelphia offers some incredible subjects for you to hone your black and white skills. Your instructors, Brian Zwit and Elliot Stern, & Keith Ervin (in our instructor pages) will take you, among other places, to the Eastern State Penitentiary to photograph the old prison, the waterfront to capture the excitement and beauty of the harbor as well as downtown Philadelphia, and two local parks for outdoor work.  Philadelphia is very historic city and offers some wonderful opportunities to photograph great sculptures and architecture.  You will love the tones that all of this great subject matter will produce.

In addition, you will learn how to convert your images from color to black and white using Photoshop, Aperture, Lightroom, & Capture one and Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro plugin and learn about the different options available to you for printing and presenting your black and white images.
Admission costs and donations to our shooting locations are included in the registration fee.

****Blue Ridge Workshops has negotiated a special room rate with the Hampton Inn for the workshop of $139.95 per night plus taxes. To get this special rate, please tell the hotel that you are with Blue Ridge Photography Workshops when you call to make a reservation. You can make reservations directly with the hotel by calling (215) 665-9100

Click here to register for Black and White Photography: It’s All About Tones.

Many years gone by – Finally a camera system I love

Because I worked for Nikon for a great number of years a lot of people think I still shoot with Nikon.  Nikon like Canon and several others make great Dslr cameras, and there are a lot of them but they do not fit my shooting style or my personal needs.  They are heavy, big, as are the lenses and at this stage of my life represent what I do not want to carry around all day.

I have two favorite mirrorless camera systems and they are the Fuji X system & the Olympus OMD system.  Fuji uses a very advanced APS sensor design which produces crisp and great color images.  Olympus uses Micro Four Thirds sensor.  The Fuji cameras have become my own personal choices of cameras because:

  • They are small, but not to small.  I can reach all of the controls without looking.

  • Very comfortable to hold and wear

  • They are light weight, but made of magnesium so they are very strong.

  • Old world design coupled with modern day technology all coming together to make a tool a photographer can depend upon.  Simply put the right choice of camera at a fair price for all it provides.

  • Quiet.  Almost impossible to here the camera fire.  No clack clack clack.  Just the whisper of a very quite shutter.

  • The best image quality I have seen (opinion) out of any cameras available.  They have a very creamy, tack sharp, great look no matter which film setting you choose.  Did I say film settings.  Yup!  I did.

The lenses that Fuji has made for the cameras are nothing short of superb.  Very sharp, extremely well built, and easy to work with.  I also have a Leica M mount adapter to Fuji X and a Nikon F and Nikon G adapter for Nikon lenses.  All these lenses work manually for focus and in aperture priority or manual control for focusing.  They work great.  There are of course adapters for other brand lenses as well.  Carl Zeiss will be manufacturing very special lenses with the Fuji mount this year. 2013.

For more information you can read reviews here: Fuji

Micro Fiber Cloths – Beware

Micro Fiber Cloths – Not good for optics?

Microfiber Cloths Are Great For Dusting Furniture But Not So Great For Cleaning Lenses

Small microfiber cleaning cloths are commonly sold for cleaning lenses and other photographic equipment as well as computer screens and eyeglasses. They are promoted for cleaning lenses because they absorb oily matter without being abrasive or leaving a residue.

I don’t, however, consider microfiber cloths suitable for some cleaning applications because of the dust, debris, and particles that can accumulate in the cloth itself. Sensitive surfaces (such as all high-tech coated surfaces e.g. CRT, LCD and plasma screens) can easily be damaged by a microfiber cloth if it has picked up grit or other abrasive particles during use. The cloth itself is generally safer to use on these surfaces than other cloths, particularly as it requires no cleaning fluid.

Microfiber clothes should only be washed with regular washing detergent; no oily, self-softening, soap-based detergents should  be used nor should fabric softener. Oils in the softener and self-softening detergents will clog up the fibers, making them much less effective and potentially leaving residue behind. See

Many years ago, we used Kodak lens cleaning tissue and lens cleaning fluid in a small plastic bottle at our local camera store. That combined with a soft bristle blower brush would always get the job done.

In the old days, we cleaned lenses by blowing off, as much as possible, any dust particles using the blower brush. The secret to success was in not touching the brush part of the blower with your fingers. Doing so could leave behind oils from your fingers.  Then we would pull out a piece of lens tissue and wet it just a little bit with the lens cleaning fluid and lightly swept the front of the lens in a circular pattern.   Finally, we would take a dry piece of tissue and wipe the lens dry.  If there was any lint left over on the surface, we easily removed it with a quick squeeze of the blower brush.

This worked for many years and still does.However, today many photographers would not be caught without a microfiber cloth. (described above).  Micro fiber cloths however are not the safest way to clean optical surfaces.  The method described above is the best way.

If your microfiber collects any dirt or oil, instead of cleaning your lens, you will be rubbing dirt and oils into the lens. You can wash them carefully, as noted above, but ultimately they lose their effectiveness. The best way to ruin a micro fiber cloth is wash it with softener.

I have read so many reviews touting the benefits of micro fiber cloths but not one of them has ever mentioned the drawbacks. 

The best way to clean a lens and the way I clean my lenses (and the LCD on my computers) is to use a one-use, pre-moistened towelette.While there are a few different brands on the market, my favorite is made by Hoodman and it comes in two parts. The first one is a wet towelette, pre-moistened with lens cleaner and the  second towellete is a dry tissue for drying the lens lint free.  For more information, see These are available locally from PhotoCraft, Burke Va.

This is the closest I can get today to lens tissue and lens cleaning solution.  I recommend this product so you can prolong the life of your lenses and LCDs.  By the way, you can also still get lens tissue.