In the previous two stranger write ups, I have mentioned some aspect of color vs b&w. Natalie, and tomorrow's stranger, will wrap this up.
“Times Square” on Ft. Myers Beach is the epicenter of honky tonk, tourist attractions. My wife, Barbara, entered a beach attire store and I noticed Natalie at a tiny jewelry kiosk across the street. The light under her umbrella looked acceptable but the background was marginal at best. It wasn't so busy, but it was bright. I would have to let it blow out. So, I did.
Natalie was familiar with Flickr and was eager to be photographed. Natalie has a delightful accent; she was born in Paris. I told her that her English was very good. She said, “Maybe, but I can't lose the accent.” I said “It's delightful, you shouldn't want to lose it.” Natalie smiled, she knew it. She makes the jewelry and has sold it at that kiosk, at that exact location, for 13 years. Impressive. I asked how she survived in the late summer, when the heat is stifling and so many residents have “gone north.” She said that it was tough, especially when thunderstorms pop up. She closes up for several weeks and goes to trade shows in Europe. Nice!
Natalie was very interested in the project and took my card.
After I got a few shots I looked at a few jewelry pieces. The next day was Mother's Day, and I had a chance to score with Barbara. A necklace turtle charm caught my eye. The carapace was made of abalone, producing a rainbow of reflected colors. I quickly paid, and Natalie wrapped it – I just got it into my pocket just as Barbara emerged from the store. Timing is everything.
The next morning when Barbara saw the charm, she surmised it's source. Later we walked by Natalie again and Barbara pointed to the necklace. Natalie pointed and raised her eyebrows, “I forgot to do something yesterday, get your picture.” So she got an iPad shot. As she shot low to high, the image will do nicely in her Rooster neck collection. Natalie had already checked my Flickr Photostream. So nice when someone shows interest.
So I chose color, and let the background mostly blow out. I tried black and white – terrible! To make a b&w face 'pop”, I make it contrasty. In Nik Silver Efex Pro II, the 'structure' command is an amalgam of contrast and sharpness. Natalie has smooth features, and very faint skin pigment irregularity. You hardly notice it, but in high contrast b&w, it is greatly accentuated and unacceptable. Color has to be the separating quality, not contrast.