Thinking Color … RICOH GRII


06-16-0023-EditWell, I suppose that I ain’t all cleared in my mind yet. Oh, my brain is not on vacation so that’s not the issue.I don’t know that there is an issue and if there is an issue is it an issue I need to be concerned about?

I been enjoying roaming the streets of Center City Philadelphia with Mom the Ricoh GRII. It’s tourist season so I am feeling my oats, so to speak. Something that has been gnawing at my back is the reading of photos of B&W vs Color.  I have been critiquing photos from some friends here in Philly so they can submit to various things. This is some shooters that have taken a workshop with me. I offer never ending support and most take advantage of that. The word I use, never ending, may be a mistake at times.


One of the most difficult things to work on is the way the print is assembled. I say assembled because that’s really what happens and always did happen. Every step from holding the camera to presentation is apart of the assembly procedure. So if that’s the case, and it is, any given point may add to or detract from the finished print. There are 2 main considerations that will control the eye travel of the viewer. The first is, Aspect ratio. This is the rectangle or square that you compose your frame in. The most common are 3:2 and 4:3. This is not so say that others aren’t important, just that these 2 are the most popular. In fact I have a natural affinity for 16:9 but haven’t perused it for  long time.

So, the visual Dynamic of the box or frame has an enormous impact on eye travel and the final image. It behooves us to at least understand the frame we choose to work in.

Another very key element that really is taken for granted is B&W vs Color. This seemingly simple decision can and will make or break the image. I remember at the Museum with Ding, he showed me some prints and they were in color. I can’t recall the photographer but just the experience. See, this is KEY! I remember almost every photo I saw there in  B&W but this group was in color and I can’t remember the shooter. Back then I was a Leica shooter and just used B&W films. I never cared for color. Now, I don’t distinguish between the 2 to the point that it mandates my thinking or feeling. Now, my only concerns are breathing and really spending time till the end of my life breathing.


I have the tendency to find my own tonal scale in B&W.  I always did that in my darkroom and I’m told that i have a palate that is mine. Now it seems I have something similar in digital. I admit it’s a shared palate. So, me brain is thinking, maybe, just maybe we need to understand color in our own palate. So I am analyzing my thoughts and feelings towards color and the effect if has on my prints and more importantly, my vision.

Now, lets clear the air. I have done color in the past even with serious intent. Now with this new life cycle, I decided to do color with a new set of thoughts.  I was asked a short while ago, why I write this stuff? Well, I guess because I have to and someone has to do it. I replied, if you need to ask why I write this stuff, you  don’t belong here.

I suppose I’ll continue this but for now, I need to rest again.

6 thoughts on “Thinking Color … RICOH GRII”

  1. Great as always. I wish you’d clue us in as to how you get such dynamic shots. I can’t get beyond light/dark contrast and slight motion blur. (I’m a beginner.)

    1. Gordon, that’s where my current thoughts and post are heading. Just dial in and you may find what your looking for,

    1. My opinion is that we should see them as different. Response to subject matter and the print will be different. So maybe not 2 languages but 1 language with different syntax.

  2. What I like best about your pictures is that they really force the viewer to look. At first glance one key thing will jump out and then bit by bit more of the photo reveals itself and you notice the most obscure details.

    1. Thank’s Tina. I think it’s those obscure details that attracts me in the first place.

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