Like the other challenges that have swept Facebook and social media — the Ice Bucket Challenge, the Mannequin Challenge, and so on — the Black & White challenge is difficult to miss if you spend any time online. The premise is simple: take a black & white photo every day for seven days, no people, no explanations (which suggests still life/abstract photography), and tag one person to challenge them every day (you know, for the virality).
Taking the challenge one step further, it seemed like a great opportunity to explore black & white nighttime photography, so here’s the first half of a set of seven nighttime images for the black & white challenge.
This was an attempt to use a wide-angle lens to create bold converging lines with the shadows of the park bench. While the light passing through the slits of the bench clearly project lines onto the ground, one way to take this photo one step further would be using off-camera lighting to illuminate the bottom of the bench itself, revealing another set of converging lines at the top right of the frame.
The wind was a little temperamental this night, so it took patience to strike a balance between portraying a sense of movement, while still retaining clear recognition of the stripes on the flag, with the slight motion blur. Otherwise, the diagonal lines add an interesting twist to the image–literally–although it would’ve been preferable for the lamp to be lower down so it was out of frame.
The make-or-break aspect of this photo was getting the balance just right between the building and the background. Brightening the wall of the industrial building too much took away its shadowy and mysterious nature, but darkening it too much made the overall image too dark and bland. In editing the image, it was very easy to go too far towards either direction with small adjustments to the RAW file. The brightly lit loading dock area to the left, and how those lights add strong contrast to the left wall of the building, help a lot with this balance.
So that’s the first three! Come back in a few days for the rest of the set, and if you want to give the challenge a shot, then just nominate yourself and get started!