Sometimes I miss the old days of shooting Kodak’s Pan-X, Plus-X and my favorite, Tri-X. In many ways, photography was much simpler back then but in others, much more complicated. Shooting successfully in B&W meant paying close attention to composition and exposure and this really sharpened your eye as a young photographer.
Before I get all nostalgic, it’s important to remember how many rolls of Tri-X turned to mush during “push processing” and how many sheets of 8″ x 10″ paper I wasted before I learned to dodge and burn using the enlarger. Don’t get me wrong. It was a great way to learn your craft but boy, was it expensive compared to working in “digital” today.
Take this shot for example. Sepia toning in the 70’s took great skill, patience and a bit of luck. Today, converting a “fair” looking shot to B&W to add some drama and then creating a duotone takes all of 30 seconds in Adobe Lightroom. It’s great fun to experiment in Lightroom knowing that all edits are non-destructive and that you have infinite undo steps if you want to back-up and start over. And the cost of this experimentation is ZERO, NADA, Nothing. It’s free!