Thursday, 11 December 2008

Fishing in black and white

  • As a photographer, I see the world in colour - having had no formal photography tuition or anything like that, I have no history with things like black and white, but as a medium is has begun to interest me a lot more. I love learning new things, and playing around with a bit of black and white photography is forcing me to think about completely different aspects to a photograph.

  • Below are a few examples of some stuff I have been playing around with - I am not sure where this might go, but I have a few ideas, and it would be interesting to see where fishing in black and white could be taken......
  • Any thoughts or comments are more than welcome. Fishing is such a colourful, vibrant thing to be involved with and it might seem a bit strange to take such wonderful colours out of a photo, but I reckon it can look very cool indeed with the right photo. I suppose about the most outstanding black and white fishing based photography that I have recently seen is of course in the many striking Simms adverts, shot by a photographer called Tibor Nemeth. Now that is some proper black and white stuff to aspire to !!

  • And as I was typing this blog, I got a call from my mate Del (better known as Trotter) over in the Isles of Scilly - he was trying to keep calm as a load of big mullet were mooching around. "Just checking things out" were his words, but I don't fancy the chances of his taxi clients getting picked up later this afternoon. Trotter said there was loads of rotten weed around and the weather forecast is looking really good for him. I am going to try and get over there in January to photograph some of this outstanding fishing. I also have a feeling I might hear of a nice mullet or two over the next few days.


Anonymous said...

Sorry Henry but i think the black and white photo's just dont work. Well not for me anyway. We are all different and some people might think it great but thats what makes the world go round.
Cheers for now Alan

Paul said...

Oh I don't know, I like the one second from bottom with the washed out sky, very evocative. It's a funny thing b&w we're all so used to hi-def, full glossy colour these day we sometimes don't appreciate monochrome stuff.

My old boss had a mate who used to do the most enormous black and white negatives of quarries and stuff like that (I kid you not) which sounds like it should be dull as ditchwater. But you could enlarge them into the most enormous prints and the detail knocked your socks off - didn't need colour on them to keep you going back for another look and you found something new every time you went back.

Anonymous said...

Landscapes done in black & white can look phenomenal - I presume you're tweaking using the PC as 'darkroom' Henry?

Photo's 1, 3 & 4 work well but the Bass photo and the rod/landscape photo doesn't really work IMHO, but black & white can be very good medium.

Good to see you trying a different aspect of photography Henry.


Henry Gilbey said...

Alan - thanks for being honest, glad you have said what you thought of them.

Paul - this black and white stuff is a big learning curve for me, not sure where it might go, but it does interest me. I hear what you are saying, something about a good black and white shot can keep you coming back......

Martyn - yes, shooting RAW files in my Canons and then doing the black and white stuff on the computer. I guess I missed out on the darkroom and sniffing all sorts of strange chemicals !! And I agree with you totally - the bass in black and white does not really work at all. I thought it might, but it doesn't. Enjoying starting to learn what might make a decent black and white shot, and what does not. Funnily enough I quite like the rod/tackle box shot, but perhaps more because I liked the shot in colour if that makes sense !!

Thanks to you all for taking the time to put your comments up here, it means a lot to me.

Paul said...

You missed out big style - enlargers and the like were blooming magic fun. Developer, stop and fixing tanks - bloomin magic. PCs are great but they're not the same - they're better and worse at the same time. Black and white has it's place I think it tends to work best when you want a picture to look classic / vintage / timeless - great for setting a mood. Stick at it, it's another option you can use.

Anonymous said...

There was nothing better than spending a few hours in the darkroom - it was the last bit of real magic... After getting the solutions mixed correctly and at the right temperature, you never knew exactly what you had until the film had had developed.... and some of them did smell nice!

Had a look back thru your back catologue Henry and pick out so of the big landscape shots and have a look at them in B&W and see what you think - storm clouds can look so fierce some in B&W.

BTW - how's the golf going?


Rob Appleby said...

I think B&W photos tend to show far greater detail as well as providing a much stronger atmoshpere to a photograph.

There's definitely a place for them in an article.

Stick with it Henry, it's trial and error. At times a potentially bland photo can be transformed by switching to greyscale.

Anonymous said...

I think you have had more feedback on that subject than anything else for some time. Henry did you get my Email about my daughter catching a Bass and Ray. Alan

Henry Gilbey said...

Thanks all, plenty of food for thought. I guess the working world I live in right now is based around people like me being able to take full advantage of a PC - is this a good or a bad thing ?

Alan - yes, got the email, and I am sure I replied to it ?

Anonymous said...

Like others have said really.

I would like to see the colours of a shiny Bass, next to a red rod and silver reel, against a green sea weedy back drop, but a Prague street scene on a rainy day is fantastic in B&W.

Cheers Putty

Glen (DB) said...

The first picture with the angler casting his bait out is a very strong and powerful image which would do well in various adverts to emphasize the power and structure of a great angler casting out with a powerful rod.
Black and white images look great in certain arrangements and a good lot of the time be better than colour,Everything plays a part in it from coastline to sky and weather and when it all comes together at that certain moment in time it can make for a cracking photo just like the casting shot.
Pictures looked at with the right eye and frame of mind make all the difference, keep it up henry i'm sure you will be showing the public a few more in the near future.

Glen (DB) said...

Sorry Henry just one more thought, How about a black and white shot with just the angler in colour or whatever looks good in the shot just in colour.

Dan said...

I think there's definately a place for black and white photos. I actually like that bass shot.

I'm curious about the Scilly mullet though. Do they stay around all year? I live in East Devon and see them in the esturies in the summer (I like trotting for them with coarse fishing gear) but assumed they went away for the winter?

Are they around still? What sort of tactics do they use in the Scilly Isles?

Henry Gilbey said...

Thanks again all - these comments are great. I will post a few more black and white "experiments" next week and see where that goes....

Glen - I am in agreement with you, the first shot is my favourite of that bunch. That sky just makes it for me. I am thinking about playing with colour/black and white mixtures. I like it when it is done well, and perhaps fishing could lend itself to this in certain situations ?

Dan - there are mullet around the Isles of Scilly all year, and over winter is actually the time when their biggest fish turn up. Bear in mind this is all open coast mulleting, and thus is extremely weather dependent. But Del's mate had one of 9lb 14oz a few years ago in winter, and they have lost bigger. Mostly fishing when the mullet come in on the acres of rotting weed and hordes of maggots - Del has developed some really cool tactics to catch them.

We also have mullet around us all year if the conditions are favourable. Loads of rain plays havoc with the estuaries of course, but a couple of river system in particular around us can turn up good fish in the depths of winter.