Shooting Challenge: Black & White, Night

Illustration for article titled Shooting Challenge: Black & White, Night

Call it noir, or just call it what it is: Black and white at night. For this week's Shooting Challenge, ditch the cheesy detective hats, but keep the beautiful juxtaposition of whites, blacks, and the gradient grey in between.


The Challenge

Take a black and white photo at night.

The Technique

Night is an amazing time to take photographs. A dark space with a few light sources creates a naturally high contrast image—which tingles the eyes like a coat of salt on the tongue. And even though our cameras can all shoot color, black and white forces the viewer to focus solely on light and shadow.

For the shoot itself, check out this tutorial that will remind you of some of the basics. For the post-production, here's a list of methodologies to convert color to black and white—good for those of you looking to milk the most out of each pixel.

The Example

Our lead shot is by flickr's eioua. Would this image work in color? Maybe. But the black and white elevates the figures and the bokeh into something more mysterious or fleeting, and the dark subjects juxtapose the bright light in an intriguing, binary way.

The Rules

0. No watermarks. They're so ugly.
1. Submissions need to be your own.
2. Photos must be taken since this contest was announced.
3. Explain, briefly, the equipment, settings, technique and story behind shot.
4. Email submissions to, not me.
5. Include 970px wide image (200KB or less) AND a native resolution sized shot in email.
6. One submission per person.
7. Use the proper SUBJECT line in your email (more info on that below)
8. You agree to the Standard Contest Rules - though we DO accept non-US resident submissions.
9. If the image contains any material or elements that are not owned by you and/or which are subject to the rights of third parties, and/or if any persons appear in the image, you are responsible for obtaining, prior to submission of the photograph, any and all releases and consents necessary to permit the exhibition and use of the image in the manner set forth in these rules without additional compensation. If any person appearing in any image is under the age of majority in their state/province/territory of residence the signature of a parent or legal guardian is required on each release.


Send your best photo by Monday, March 18th at 10AM Eastern to with "Night" in the subject line. Save your files as JPGs, and use a FirstnameLastnameNight.jpg (970px wide) and FirstnameLastnameNightWallpaper.jpg (2560px wide) naming conventions. Include your shooting summary (camera, lens, ISO, etc) in the body of the email along with a story of the shot in a few sentences. And don't skip this story part because it's often the most enjoyable part for us all beyond the shot itself!


In the rules, what is meant by "material or elements that are not owned by you"? Where do famous landmarks, buildings, bridges, tourist sites, etc., fit in?