I distinctly remember sitting on this bamboo train as it shuttled us at an impressive velocity from point A to point B in Battambang, Cambodia. Aside from the experience of actually riding on this primitive-yet-ingenious mode of transportation, I remember the tinge of frustration as I chimped the images that I was taking of our train operator. The sun was high, the light was awful, and the heat was pretty intense. It was, at face value, a perfect recipe for bad photography. At least, that is what I thought while I ogled the back of my camera’s LCD. Image after image, I saw all highlight information get obliterated and sacrificed in the name of capturing some mid-tone and shadow detail. In the moment, I thought that these images would be rendered useless and never see the light of day (pun intended).
It wasn’t until I started spending more time using Perfect B&W that I learned to appreciate blown out highlights and clipped shadows when working in a black and white medium. There is something intriguing and stylistic about embracing what isn’t there when trying to tell a story with an image rather than doing everything possible to convey every little detail. It is a lesson that I have found to be extremely beneficial, especially when I find myself shooting under less than ideal lighting conditions.
In terms of processing
You can view the full workflow video for this image on this week’s episode of Perfect Inspiration over at onOne Software: