Taking My Kodachrome Away


Heather had a great idea, so I’m totally copying it.

She decided that she was going to dedicate the month of April in her 365project to black and white pictures.

My 365project photos have become sort of routine, so I thought that might spice mine up a bit, too.

First, it should be fun.

I’m old enough that for the bulk of my newspaper career, I was working in black and white. With film, no less. Remember that?

Back then, I would buy rolls of black and white for my personal use as well, just because I enjoyed working with it.

Since making the switch to digital, black-and-white has become a post-capture processing option, rather than a pre-picture commitment like it was with film.

If I think a picture would look good in black and white, I can change it. But I don’t have to tailor my pictures around the format like I used to.

Making the April commitment sort of simulates that — yes, my camera will let the pictures be in color, but to use them in the project, I have to take something I would want to be in black and white.

Also, I’m hoping it improves my photography in another way.

As the project goes on, I become increasingly reliant on the cool tricks my iPhone can do with photo software, a lot of which has to do with color enhancement. Take those away, and I’m back closer to just having to take good pictures, not do good photo editing.

Hopefully, this will be the photography equivalent of going acoustic for me. Strip away the fancy production, get back to the basics.

Back to seeing the world in black and white.


Here’s Heather’s post about her project.

And here’s an example of the photo-processing power of the iPhone. (Follow the cut for explanation.)

I made that picture for Heather over dinner at our Wednesday night counseling class at church.

Step One: Take a picture of a napkin.

Step Two: Take the napkin into Photoshop, and change the tint to red.

Step Three: Open the red-tinted photo in ColorSplash. Convert the photo to black-and-white. Tell it to show the original color only in a hand-drawn heart-shape mask.

Step Four: Open that file in Infinicam, find an agreeable photo effect.

Step Five: Open the photo one more time in Photoshop, apply a border:

Step Six: Text to Heather.

It’s not a bad piece of artwork, in my opinion. Technically, it’s a photo, or, at least, a photo illustration, but it’s come a long way since the original practical napkin photo. But it’s all just a photo processed through photo-processing iPhone software. All of which, not quite to this extent,  I’ve treated as fair game for 365.

This is why I think the black-and-white month is such a good idea for me.

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