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Friday Slide Show: A Garden Game Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

4 February 2022

You'd think someone who writes as much as we do would be spending a part of every day playing Wordle. But no. We're not a fan of games. We tend to exhaust our resources just taking the bull of life by its pointy little horns.

But we got to thinking. What would a photographic "equivalent" be?

We mean "equivalent" rather loosely. If we were being more strict, we might have thought of something like trying to identify a famous photo from various sections of it. But that would be as hard as guessing the picture of a jigsaw puzzle from five random pieces.

So we focused on coming up with something both challenging and yet sporting as the two criteria of "equivalence." And that, it turned out, was easy.

But it has nothing to do with guessing. Or a game.

Instead, we set three shooting conditions:

  1. Monochrome mode
  2. Square format
  3. A location familiar to you that you haven't photographed (much)

You can probably play along with a smartphone, changing to black-and-white mode and selecting a square format. But we opted for our Micro Four Thirds camera because in black-and-white mode we could still shoot Raw and get color, too.

It also has a 6:6 aspect ratio (which reduces to 1:1 or square by any other name) and our dSLRs do not. So that was settled.

For a location, we settled on the neglected garden of our youth. We had scheduled some maintenance for it that we were going to provide ourselves. So before we got the gloves on, we took a few square black-and-whites.

We call this the Hasselblad Challenge. You are essentially configuring your camera to behave like a Hasselblad 500C with black-and-white film in it.

It was quite a bit of fun. But, as we said, we had work to do, so we put the camera away (after visiting every corner of the garden) and put the gloves on.

Much of the garden was in shade, which makes the monochrome part of the deal difficult. There just wasn't much contrast in some of the shots.

We resolved that by picking a black-and-white preset in Lightroom (BW11) in Develop mode. The slightly sepia look gave a little more depth to the shadows and emphasized the neglected nature of the setting.

It turned out to be a nice diversion from our usual photographic excursion. Not to mention a Hasselblad Challenge win. (And, yes, all the garden clippings fit into the green bin.)

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