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Mono landscapes

Mono landscapes - Easter's over and you are back at work, but take your camera with you and try shooting in shades of grey. Or if you're lucky enough to still be on holiday try shooting the coast too.

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Category : Landscape and Travel
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Gear
Your normal DSLR and usual array of lenses is fine for this sort of photography. It is up to you whether you shoot black & white in-camera or shoot normally in colour and do your mono conversions on the computer.

If you decide to shoot monochrome in-camera, try adjusting the contrast setting to get more punch in your shots. Remember too that if you shoot monochrome JPEGs you can't get colour shots back later on if you change your mind. Shoot colour JPEGs as well in that case.

If you are in Raw, setting monochrome in-camera will at least show the preview image on the monitor as black & white even though later back home the image will show in normal full colour.

Mono urban and industrial landscapes are striking and a fun challenge to take on. but coastal images also work. It is up to you whether you take a tripod or not. A lightweight travel pod is an option, or use a monopod. As for lenses, wide-angles work well with buildings but if you aim the lens upwards to include the top of a building you will get converging verticals. If you have one, take along a tilt-and-shift lens as they will let you eliminate converging verticals. If it's a particularly bright day a polarising filter will help with reflections and darken the sky. Try a Cokin creative filter system polariser filter.

Techniques
When working in mono you are very reliant on shapes and textures and heading out an hour or two before sunset when the light is lower bad more oblique will give you the shapes and textures you're looking for. Watch your meter readings though, as it's quite easy to overexpose and lose the detail and mood you're looking to capture.

Think about different vantage points and isolating your subject – shooting a building with the ground and people in wont be as striking as angling your camera straight up, focusing on the top corner of the building for example.

Clean, simple composition will win hands-down when shooting mono and any strong lines will help you draw the viewer into the image. Strong shapes such as steel girders and repetitive patterns created by lines of office windows create strong, gritty, graphical images while the more modern glass structures create something more flowing and smooth.


You've read the article, now go take some fantastic images. You can then upload the pictures, plus any advice and suggestions you have into the dedicated Photo Month forum for everyone at ePHOTOzine to enjoy.

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