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Photography Question 
Jennifer A. Spencer

Kids At the Beach with Black and White Film

I just really want some good pictures of my 2 girls at our local beach (Lake Michigan). Can someone tell me what kind of conditions I should be looking for. I have taken black and white before, but some were so bright and not very good.

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6/29/2003 11:20:23 PM

Maynard  McKillen   Dear Jenifer:
One approach would be to wait for an overcast day, or to arrive early or late in the day when the sun is closer to the horizon.
If you choose the overcast option, you'll be shooting in "soft" light that leaves diffuse shadows. And if it stays overcast that day, you can shoot throughout much of the day, and still have pretty much the same lighting conditions. This light may also give you more choices for composition, i.e., you have more possible angles/points of view, and more backgrounds that are simple.
One other benefit is that the range of brightness you encounter on an overcast day may not be as great as the range of brightness on a sunny day. This can make it easier for the lab to produce a pleasing print without resorting to "custom" services like dodging and burning.

Shooting early in the day or closer to sunset provides light that casts long shadows. Might be nice for a photo of your daughters and their shadows as they walk toward or away from the camera. You may also find there are fewer people in the background at such hours.
I often read that photos taken in direct sunlight during the middle portion of the day lack the "interest" of those taken earlier or later. If you're stuck shooting at midday in sunlight, when shadows are short and subjects may squint, fill-in flash can reduce the "hollow eye" or "owl eye" look.

If you're up for the adventure, yellow, orange, green and red filters are fun to experiment with. They will alter the way certain colors are rendered as shades of gray. Your local camera store should have brochures or photos that illustrate the effects of these filters, or your local library may have titles on photography that include illustrative black and white photos taken with these filters.
I see some images destined for the walls of your home...

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6/30/2003 8:22:25 AM

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