This blog post was featured on The B&W Photo website this past week. Check the site out for some great black and white images...
by Mike Boening
As is normal, we all want to search out the most interesting things to photograph when exploring, but this time proved to be very different. Besides the image I captured above I also found some lost documents and letters left behind on a basement floor that had been walked over and shoved aside by who-knows-who over the years since its abandonment. As I mentioned above Rosa Parks was very involved with the parish and obviously did many things for them. I was fortunate to find pieces of history like a 1976 canceled check written and signed by Rosa Parks as well as a 1981 letter from Jane Fonda and her husband, Tom Hayden, saying they were sorry for not being able to attend her birthday celebration that year. Even though they had been scattered on the floor their condition was very good and it proves the saying about always keeping your eyes open when exploring—the find might be right under your feet.
As far as the image it was a great moment; mid-morning when the sun was shining brightly through the open windows, broken glass, and proved to be a great opportunity to make a capture of what once was a Detroit Church Treasure. Gone of course are the beautiful stained glass windows but that let more light in which helped illuminate the unlit church. I remember thinking that this shot was hopefully going to make a great looking black and white image if it came out the way I wanted and I was very happy with it after the final project was processed.
Captured with a Nikon D7000 and a 24-70 Nikkor f2.8 lens
It was sent to Silver Efex Pro 2 from Aperture 3.3. I wanted to work with the zone system in Silver Efex. I am far from being the most knowledgeable about the zone system but I did want to see if I could retain something from all 10 zones. I recently watched Joseph talk about the zone system in his Nik training on video2brain series. I than amplified the blacks to balance the amount of light coming in and then ran it through coffee #13 toning. After that I gave it a -11% vignette. I also burned just the bottom of the image to adjust the overall feel.
Overall it was a great morning for urban exploring as well as capturing images.
If you are in Detroit and interested in Urban Exploring here is a great group to contact. Jesse, Alanna and Eric are very knowledgeable about the locations and opportunities around the area. They operate the Motor City Photography Workshops.