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Muhammad Ali Black And White Photography.

Try Long Exposure. Long exposure shots should work really well in monochrome photography, especially where there’s moving water or clouds. During the exposure the highlights of the water, for example, are recorded across a wider place than they would with a short exposure and this should help enhance tonal contrast. The blurring of the movement also adds textural contrast with any solid objects in the frame. If required , use a neutral density filter such as Lee Filters’ Big Stopper or Little Stopper to reduce exposure and extend shutter speed (by 10 and 4 stops respectively). naturally , when exposures extend farther than respecting 1/60 sec a tripod is wanted to keep the camera still and avoid blurring. It’s also advisable to use a remote release and mirror lock-up to minimise vibration and produce super-sharp images.

Look for Contrast, Shape and Texture. The complimentary and opposing colours that bring a colour image to life are all reduced to black and white or shades of grey in a monochrome image and you have to look for tonal contrast to make a shot stand out. In colour photography, for example, your eye would instantly be drawn to a red object on a green background, but in monochrome photography these two areas are likely to have the same brightness, so the image looks flat and dingy straight from the camera. providentially , it’s possible to work adjust the brightness of these two colours separately to introduce some contrast. However, a good starting point is to look for scenes with tonal contrast. There are always exceptions, but as a general rule look for scenes that contain some forceful blacks and whites. This may be achieved by the light or by the brightness (or tone) of the objects in the scene as well as the exposure settings that you use. The brightness of the bark of a silver birch tree for example, may inject some contrast (and interest) in to a woodland scene. Setting the exposure for these brighter areas also makes the shadows darker, so the highlights stand out even more. Look for shapes, patterns and textures in a scene and move around to find the greatest composition.

Shoot RAW + JPEG. The best monochrome conversions are reached by editing raw files which have the full colour information, but if you shoot raw and JPEG files simultaneously and set the camera to its monochrome photograph Style/Picture Control/Film Simulation mode you get an indication of how the image will look in black and white. As many photographers struggle to visualise a scene in black and white, these monochrome modes are an invaluable tool that will help with composition and scene assessment. numerous cameras are also capable of producing decent in-camera monochrome images these days and it’s worth experimenting with image parameters (usually contrast, sharpness, filter effects and toning) to find a look that you like. Because compact fashion cameras and compact cameras show the scene seen by the sensor with camera settings applied, users of these cameras are able to preview the monochrome image in the electronic viewfinder or on rear screen before taking the shot. DSLR users can also do this if they activate their camera’s live conceptualization mode , but the usually slower responses mean that many will find it preferable or check the image on the screen post-capture.

Dodge and Burn. Dodging and burning is a procedure that comes from the traditional darkroom and is usually used to burn in or darken highlights and hold back (brighten) shadows. Photoshop’s Dodge and Burn tools allow a level of control that film photographers may only dream of because you should target the highlights, shadows or mid-tones with both. This means that you should use the Burn tool to darken highlights when they are too bright, or the Dodge tool to brighten up them to grow local contrast. It’s a great channel of giving a sense of superior sharpness and enhancing texture. Plus, because you could set the opacity of the tools, you should build up their effect gradually so the impact is subtle and there are no hard edges.

Take Control. Although coloured filters can still be used to manipulate contrast when shooting digital black and white images, it’s more prominent to save this work until the processing stage. Until a few years ago Photoshop’s Channel Mixer was the favored means of turning colour images monochrome, but now Adobe Camera Raw has more forceful tools (in the HSL/Grayscale tab) that allow you to adjust the brightness of eight individual colours that make up the image. It’s possible to adjust single of these colours to make it anything from white to black with the sliding control. However, it’s important to keep an eye on the whole image when adjusting a particular colour as crafty gradations may become unnatural looking. And adjusting the brightness of a red or pinkish shirt with the red sliding control, for moment , will have an impact on the model’s skin, especially the lips. The Levels and Curves controls could also be used to manipulate tonal range and contrast, but the HSL/Grayscale controls allow you to create differentiation between objects of the same brightness but with diverse colours.

Use Filters. Graduated neutral density (AKA ND grad) and polarizing filters are purely as useful in monochrome photography as they are in colour. In fact, because they manipulate image contrast they are arguably more useful . An ND grad is helpful when you require to retain detail in a bright sky while a polarizing filter can be used to reduce reflections and boost contrast. Alternatively, assess taking two or more shots with diverse exposures to create a high dynamic range (HDR) composite. Don’t be afraid to use a ND grad with a standard neural density filter if the sky is brighter than the foreground in a long exposure shot. Coloured filters, which are an essential tool for monochrome film photographers, should also be advantageous for manipulating contrast in digital images. They work by darkening objects of their opposite colour while lightening objects of her own. An orange filter, for example, will darken the blue of the sky while a green one will lighten foliage.

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Our picture editor has selected his favourite photographs of Muhammad Ali from the archives. The selection includes pictures of some of the most memorable fights as well as distinctive portraits from his life outside the ring

The version of this photograph which made the cover of Sports Illustrated was shot by Richard Meek. But I prefer this picture taken shortly beforehand by Ali’s friend Howard Bingham. It’s just a little more fun.

And I like how the security guard is there in the background keeping tabs.

Ali was still known as Cassius Clay when this photo was taken. There’s something boyish about his efforts to impress his audience. I like how one of the women, Ronnie Spector, seems impervious to his bravado.

I also like knowing that the guy in the white tuxedo, who is neither overawed nor overshadowed by Clay, is a young Stevie Wonder.

The expressions, the simmering contempt, the outfits, the saturated colours – what’s not to love about this image of Ali and George Foreman taken before Ali’s second fight with Jerry Quarry?

The juxtaposition between these two figures is great. Even when hunched over, Ali still dwarfs the comedian and singer Sammy Davis Jr, whom he’s teaching how to box. More than that, though, it’s the kind of photograph which attests to Ali’s character and charm outside the ring.

Ali was 34 by the time this photograph was taken of him and Ken Norton playfully chasing one another across the field at Yankee Stadium. You don’t get fight promotions like this these days. Also, as my colleague pointed out, look at their shoes – what on earth are they wearing those Cuban heels for?!

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Muhammad Ali was never shy about lauding his own balletic talents in the boxing ring, and this photograph shows why. His ability to move away from his opponent, Joe Frazier, with such grace makes Frazier’s haymaker look utterly crude.

Ali appears to be untouchable. How ironic, then, that Frazier won the contest that was dubbed Fight of The Century.

Clay was just 18 when he won Olympic gold in 1960 in the light heavyweight category. Just look how callow he appears, particularly in comparison to the guys to his left and right, who look like 40-year-old bricklayers in comparison.

Gordon Parks’ shot of Ali after a training session in Miami in 1966 is breathtaking. So much detail, so much contrast and, for once, it’s a portrait of the champion without any hint of braggadocio.

In dumping George Foreman to the canvas in ‘The Rumble in the Jungle’, Ali reclaimed the heavyweight title after his long suspension for refusing to be drafted into the US Army. Admittedly boxers never look pretty when they’re going down, but Foreman looks like a giant tree that’s been felled.

This brutal photo of Leon Spinks’ contorted face communicates the power of Ali’s punch. Ali’s expression is also compelling – he looks somewhat savage. Technically the framing is awkward. I would prefer it if Spink’s face weren’t at the very edge of the frame, but it’s hard to grumble with such a visceral shot.

The perspective of this shot is what makes it work for me. Ali is towering over the photographer, dominating him with his physical presence as well as his verbal tirade. From any other angle this just wouldn’t have the same impact.

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This is a scene from a party after Clay beat Sonny Liston for the heavyweight title. Such is the power of his celebrity, the assembled crowd are jostling around him simply to watch him eat. The proximity of Malcolm X to Clay serves as a neat metaphor for the closeness of their relationship at that time.

The initial attraction to this shot is, of course, the quirk of the punchbag. It appears semi-transparent because the photographer has used flash to trap the action in the foreground, while the duration of the overall exposure has rendered the background visible as well.

The beautiful silhouettes in the distance behind Ali are critical too.

Main image: Muhammad Ali steps away from a punch thrown by Joe Frazier. Photograph: Bettmann/Bettmann Archive

This emotive picture was snapped when Clay beat Liston, who was unable to answer the bell for round seven of their 1964 fight. There are many fine photos of this moment taken head on but in this one I like Clay’s explosive pose and the way his cartwheeling limbs extend towards the corners of the frame.

It’s as if he’s about to leap out of it.

Ali’s distinctive footwork – the so-called ‘Ali shuffle’ – is rendered cleverly here using multiple exposures. The effect recalls Eadweard Muybridge’s early stop-motion experiments on horses in Palo Alto in the 1870s and his later studies of human models.

Sat 4 Jun 2016 05.55 BST First published on Thu 30 Oct 2014 12.00 GMT

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This photograph was taken ahead of the world title fight in 1971. Frazier is steadfastly trying to ignore his bitter rival but in fact you wonder if he’s imprisoned by Ali’s taunts – a feeling that’s reinforced by the wire meshing which separates the two men.

I also love how their eyes don’t meet; it fills the frame with tension.

One of the most celebrated magazine front covers of all time and understandably so. Carl Fischer’s shot for Esquire was the brainchild of art director George Lois. The reference to St Sebastian speaks of Ali’s persecution following his refusal to fight in the Vietnam war.

Sticking the arrows on to Ali’s body was a nightmare, Fischer told me; the arrows had to be strung up using fishing wire because they kept falling down.

I find this image of Ali and Frazier, taken in 2003, to be profoundly melancholic . These two men, who were once so supreme and who shared such a glorious history, appear to have been defeated by age – Frazier especially.

It’s an uncomfortably earnest portrait.

This shot witnesses a pre-fight scene where Ali is poised with anticipation. His outline is so distinctive – it reminds me of the famed image of Ali underwater by Flip Schulke. Notice, also, the shadowy figure in the toilet behind Ali; at first I questioned whether he spoiled Ali’s solitude, but I grew to like the subtle detail of their twinning.

The most famous photo of Ali ever taken is of him standing over Sonny Liston, who appeared to have thrown their 1965 bout. It was taken by Neil Leifer and was shot in colour. Spare a thought then for John Rooney, sat right beside Leifer, who captured this less-acclaimed version.

Growing up, I remember buying this one and loving it all the same.

A quick and homespun piece of showmanship which made for a striking photograph. Ali had been accused of being a loud-mouth for always predicting when he would beat his opponents. He needed no words and just two props to fashion a comic response to such criticism.

This is a great story more so than a great image, but it’s still well worth a mention. Ali had been passing a high-rise building in 1981 when he noticed a commotion; a man was threatening to commit suicide by jumping from the ninth floor.

Ali asked the police officers if he could help and duly coaxed the troubled man down from the ledge.

Ali’s capacity to engage with the camera and project himself was extraordinary. A shot like this has the power to make you feel like you’re there in the back of the cab with him. It’s an incidental point, but I also love the car’s interior and the way it frames the shot.

Photograph: Walter Iooss Jr./SPORTS ILLUSTRA/Sports Illustrated

In all of the photographs I’ve seen of Ali, I can’t think of any where he looks as supremely toned as this. You can almost see the sinews of his upper body tensing as he prepares to unload a punch.

The unusual patchwork of the background lighting, which seems to hang above the ring, is pretty electrifying as well.

What was it like to photograph Muhammad Ali? Boxing great dies, aged 74

In 2003 this was voted the greatest sport photo ever by the Observer. Even Neil Leifer calls it his best shot – one, he says, on which he cannot improve. He’s right. The pristine white canvas is the perfect backdrop, accentuating the two fighters whose figures are so neatly counterposed.

I can’t imagine boxing will ever look this sublime again.

Muhammad Ali – 25 of the best photographs of the legendary boxer

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