Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Surprise

This week Ann-Christine gave us the prompt Surprise for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge.

I had no ideas for the challenge before going for a walk with the camera early on Sunday morning.

In the 1970s and 80s I could “see” in monochrome. There was times when I was shooting more black and white film than colour. By the late 1980s I had stopped shooting black and white film and some time later I realised that I had lost the ability to see a monochrome image.

However, as both of my modern mirrorless cameras have an electronic viewfinder they can be set to monochrome. As a result the image you’re seeing in the viewfinder is in monochrome.

So on my Sunday morning walk I set the camera to monochrome. Imagine my surprise when I discovered how useful it was to see the monochrome version of the subject in the viewfinder. After a while I was seeing in tones and light and shade before I put the viewfinder to my eye.

If it wasn’t such a silly idea I would pick up a second camera body and have one set to colour and one set to monochrome the way I carried two film cameras for a while.


Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Surprise

Trees in the snow at Hatherton near Nantwich in southern Cheshire. An early monochrome photo taken with my Olympus OM1 in the mid 1970s.


Monochrome Monday: 9th March 2020

In the early 1980s I was one of the field testers for Ilford XP1 prior to its release. The Houses of Parliament from the South Bank of the River Thames in London, England.


Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Surprise

Backlit Maple leaves photographed on my Sunday morning walk with the camera set to monochrome.


Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Surprise

Fungi, dead wood and new growth on the South Bruce Peninsula, Ontario. Another photo from my early morning walk on Sunday.


23 replies on “Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Surprise”

Thanks Stuart. It took me a while to get used to but now if I go back to an optical viewfinder I’m looking for the histogram and wondering why the exposure/brightness isn’t changing as I dial in exposure compensation.

The reason I started using a small mirrorless camera was an accident 15 months ago which left me with a messed up right shoulder and a weaker right arm but I can’t imagine going back to an optical viewfinder full time nowadays.

I can imagine why, big SLRs can get pretty blooming heavy.
Sorry to hear of your accident – I hope you’re still on the mend. Some of those mirrorless systems do look good, but alas out of my price point at the moment. Good to hear the LCD viewfinders are okay though, I remember using bridge cameras in the past that were horrendous.

It wasn’t just the DSLR, it was the bag of weather sealed fast zooms. If I want to travel light these days I carry a small bag with a small mirrorless camera and three manual focus prime lenses. The shoulder is at about 85% which is probably as good as it’s going to get.

These are great images in B&W, and I just love the London view. To me it doesn’t sound like a silly idea with one set of monochrome and one set of colour – it sounds brilliant. Had I been a photographer I might just have done that. And I also use the viewfinder on my new camera to see the motif correctly in B&W. Interesting thoughts!

Thanks Ann-Christine. It’s a silly idea for me. The reason I started using a small mirrorless camera was because my right shoulder is messed up after an accident 15 months ago. So I don’t need to be carrying the extra weight of a second body. Especially when it only takes a couple of seconds to switch between colour and monochrome.

Thanks Tina. It’s a little frustrating that I have been using a mirrorless camera for over 12 months before trying the monochrome settings.

Thanks John. The Thames and Parliament shot has been a favourite for some time but I didn’t realise that I had taken several versions until I started digitising my black and white negatives.

Thank you. I suspect that I will be shooting more black and white images now I know how to change the camera settings for monochrome.

Leave a Reply

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

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

Google photo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s