35mm · Film photography · Photography

Colour in black and white

Here’s a photo of a couple of chilled fruit drinks that my wife and I enjoyed in a cafe / bar on the first day of our short break in Barcelona. The drinks were extremely pleasant on a hot day, and consisted of a fruit cocktail enlivened with ice-cubes and frozen fruit. It made for a colourful display.

My first choice was to take a shot on the Portra 400 that was in my Z135 as this would have picked up the colours in the liquid and, especially, the reds, purples and oranges of the berries and mango pieces. However, try as I might, I just couldn’t get a composition I was happy with using the camera – although it has a macro mode, it didn’t frame the scene well, and shooting wider at the camera’s minimum focus range led to far too much of the surroundings getting into the shot.

So, I took the shot with the OM-10 and 28mm lens I had attached (in the interests of travelling light and not annoying myself with the urge to switch lenses all the time, the 28mm was all I took for the SLR, and it turned out to be a pretty good choice of focal length for the streets of Barcelona). The 28mm lens in question is a Cimko model that allows close macro focussing, so I was able to get in nice and tight even with the wide-angle of view, and the f/2.8 maximum aperture meant I could get enough light in the slightly shaded position we were in. The only real issue with using the OM-10 was the fact that I’d loaded it with HP5+, so I had to forego the lovely colours on show and hope for the sense of cold refreshing beverages to still shine through in B&W.

I love black and white film, but colour film does have the advantage of being easily convertible to monochrome if required, whereas (short of fancy techniques to combine three images shot using red, green and blue filters) black and white film is pretty much what-you-see-is-what-you-get.

I’m not sure if it’s a better shot in B&W, but it still works pretty well, and was “interesting” enough to get into Flickr Explore yesterday. I’m happy with it though and, given I take photos for myself, that’s what matters I suppose. 🙂

Anyone else had a similar conundrum with colourful scenes and black and white film?

FILM - Chilled

Olympus OM-10, Cimko 28mm f/2.8 & Ilford HP5+.

Taken on 16 June 2019

4 thoughts on “Colour in black and white

  1. I shot b/w film all over Ireland a few years ago and while there were moments when color would have been better, it worked out all right. As it did in your shot of the fruity drinks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jim.

      I occasionally pose myself the hypothetical question of, if given the choice between only ever being able to shoot b&w or colour, which would I pick, and it’s always going to be b&w. I like colour, enjoy using it and seeing the results, and would miss being able to shoot it, but my heart lies in monochrome.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nigel, if I wasn’t doing my own developing, and didn’t want to produce darkroom prints, I’d be tempted to shoot in colour even if 90% ended up being converted to mono, because you get much better control of the tones that way, and the lab developing of colour is usually much cheaper than lab developing of B&W. But I do develop my own and do a little bit of darkroom printing, so it’s mainly B&W film for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know what you mean in terms of the editing potential, but I also know that there would be an OCD part of me that would take umbridge with the idea of buying colour film in the intention of converting it to B&W. It would be saying: “I’ve bought colour film so I’m jolly well going to get colour pictures!” 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s