As a professional sports photographer one of the challenges I face is stopping action in low light situations. The physical difficulties (shutter speed, aperture, ISO) are topics for a different post. I wanted to take a few minutes to share a little secret about black and white images. Contrast is the amount of difference between the light areas of a photograph and the dark areas. In black and white images this tonal difference can be exploited easily. Without the distraction of colors, our brains can only work with what our eyes supply, or… contrast. When our eyes detect a sharp difference between adjoining sections of a picture, the edges look sharp, crisp and clean. Look around the face of the fighter in the background and down the muscles in his arm. The sweat looks exact, precise, and defined. The opposite occurs when gradual shades of gray are prominent, like on the shoulder of the fighter on the ground. Molding this very distinct attribute of contrast in a picture can lead the observer around the photograph, their eyes lingering in different places. It’s all about me showing you something I thought you should see, and using the camera to bring it to you.
By the way, the picture was taken at Harrah’s Casino during the XFE 36 Mixed Martial Arts event that took place last Friday night. My pictures from the fight are on their website.