Photo 101: The architecture of black and white

The lesson sent for day 12 of Photo 101 sent me to my portfolio instead of my iPhone 6.

See how far I’ve come under the direction of our instructions? Instead of calling it my iPad Air stash, I’ve decided I can call it my portfolio! In any case, reading Cheri’s directives about sharp lines and patterns incorporated into architecture, I knew that I’ve taken shots on my walks through downtown Syracuse perfect for conversion from the original color to monochrome.

Where they hold conventions in downtown Syracuse, N.Y.

Oncenter, or the Onondaga County Convention Center.

I walked across from Oncenter during our very first lesson two weeks ago, but did not choose to use the photograph above. I appreciate the curves of the Onondaga County Convention Center. Earlier this month, I attended the Golf and Travel show there with my regular golfing buddies KP and Tater.

Not a castle.

Syracuse City Hall.

That’s Syracuse’s City Hall above. Yes, it looks like a castle. It’s where I go to play my quarterly property taxes for the Little Bitty my dear wife Karen and I won in the Syracuse city neighborhood of Eastwood. They are kind enough to collect the Onondaga County taxes at the same time at the same window.

Cars do pass through it.

Bank Alley, narrow passageway.

That’s called Bank Alley, above, and it runs the length of three or four city blocks, between Salina and Warren streets, two of downtown’s major thoroughfares. Vehicles try to use it for safe passage, causing quite a problem every now and again. Karen’s company, SMG, backs to Bank Alley.

By the way, I posted all three photos medium-sized instead of the large size I prefer. You can click on any of them to see them in full. Yesterday, a new reader informed me that my post loaded extremely slowly, and said my data-intensive format was the culprit, starting with my background image. Not wanting to bog down any readers, if you’ve noticed, I’ve changed that to a solid color — green today, for St. Patrick’s Day. Others more technically savvy than I added that my images posted directly from my iPad needed to be run through an app for image optimization because they simply were too large. So I have reduced the raw date in these three by 50 percent through a new app. And I posted these medium instead of large, too.

Did you notice that this post loaded faster than my previous posts? Does the medium-sized photos bother your eye, and should I consider going back to large? Which of these three photos is your favorite, and why?

55 thoughts on “Photo 101: The architecture of black and white

  1. This is an older post so this is probably not relevant now but I like when photos are small to make way for the text, but I can click them to make them large.

    I especially love the one with the narrow alley. I think I saw a femme fatale slip around the corner there.


  2. Personally, I like the large format better, but then again, I’m probably in the minority actually reading this on a computer instead of a phone. I love all three photos, but especially the ominous sky over the city hall. ๐Ÿ˜€


  3. The photos are all great Mark, I notice an considerable increase in the quality of your pictures. Your site did load much slower than others but now it is better. A few still load a bit quicker but i would say yours is in the 10th percentile whereas it was in the 90th prior to your changes.


  4. Nice photos! And this post did load way faster – but the size of your images don’t bother me. I often go back and forth between large and medium even in the same post. My favorite picture here is Bank Alley because it makes you wonder what could be down that dark path….


    • Thanks, CBXB. I like the way you mix up the sizes in your post. Good approach, and one I am going to follow. The Bank Alley is quite a path here in Syracuse, but not one-quarter as cool as Printer’s Alley. I spent a week in a bar there one night … Haha.


  5. City Hall is my fave. ๐Ÿ™‚ These days I feel like I have to enlarge everything in order to see it. You should see the size of the font on my phone! My kids make mucho fun of their mother for that. ‘Zoom in’ is what I click on the most at this tender age of 51. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ


  6. I love the new blog look – and I have NOT noticed anything with the loading – before or now – and I like the medium sized pictures. And I always wondered if the size of the original photo impacts the size we choose form the menu – for example, if a photo is 3264 x 2448 when we load it- does that change if we choose full size, large, medium, or smallโ€ฆ hm
    and I peeked at your bank alley size and it is 1024 x 991 – which seems to be a decent size overall. Well one thing I learned from a few bloggers a while ago was as much as possible we should only use pictures that are under 1,000 – and I think boeta uses 600 x 600 for all of theirs – and then this artist guy I know uses 750 as his target range.. something to think about

    oh and by the way – bank alley is my fav – and do you actually pay taxes in person?


    • My new app Reduce allows me to set 500 as my max for all images that I will publish from here on, Y. Worth the effort, I think, because it will save load time for all systems out there, small and large, as well as storage space for me on my WP end, in the long run.

      I worked with my header image just now, and header and background colors, too. I justsettled on the winner. I have a few more header images in the bank for future use.

      Bank Alley is a cool shot, especially considering that my dear wife Karen works off of it, too. ๐Ÿ™‚ And yes, I am so old school I walk up to the window and pay with a check.

      Liked by 1 person

      • so there is a reduce app – thanks for the tip on that – and just one note on the bank shot – now this is totally subjective – but if it were mine I would have straightened it a little – but then again I am not sure because sometimes u can lose things in the top of the frame – but you should experiment with straightening the shot to see if you like itโ€ฆ


  7. I’ve been trying to figure out image size for a long time. I know mine are too big. I just haven’t figured out how to do it. Agreed that the background change was a good idea. Your blog did take a bit to load, but not a huge problem. The background was pretty. The new one loads instantly. I love the city hall photo. So ominous. Gorgeous, Chum.


  8. It does loaded faster;I visit some blogs where the posts have huge,really huge photos and it takes hrs to roll down.And If I want to go back and check things better,then, forget about it …
    Gorgeous your photos in mono,all three are masterful,but I particularly like the third one,Bank Alley, narrow passageway,I find it more intriguing and with dazzling upward perspective!Fabulous leading lines as well,I was really lost in the vanishing point …
    Have a brilliant day Mark ! Doda ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Thanks, Doda. I will keep my new app cranking to allow my blog to load faster for all. And that Bank Alley presented a very cool photo op for me to conver to monchrome. I appreciate your kind words. You have a brilliant tomorrow in your part of the world, Doda, my new blog friend. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  9. At first I thought I liked the ‘castle’ picture better. Then I decided I liked the alley picture better. I like the old time feel to it. I guess I like pictures, often, for the feelings they prompt in me.


  10. Syracuse City Hall is an amazingly beautiful building … As for the tech size issue, I’ve never had trouble seeing your stuff, including the posts with multiple photos. More fodder for us to discuss when we get together for our Photo 101 tag-team operation.


  11. I like these photos Mark, especially the first one!

    I liked your old format but green is good for St. Patty’s Day, right? Your page did not load any faster than usual for me Mark. โค
    Diana xo


  12. I thought my laptop had crashed when the screen suddenly went green before deciding to load your blog. otherwise didn’t notice a difference with speed. I can be a bit impatient, especially when catching up on blogs I follow at what is for me the end of the day so if it doesn’t grab me immediately I won’t bother to click on a medium or small photo to open it up to see what I’m missing. So I prefer to see the big picture.
    Oh and I’m really enjoying getting to know Syracuse.


  13. I did notice the faster speed today Mark. Haven’t really formed an opinion on the photo size. I like the top photo the best, I think because the lighting in it. I actually thought it was a professional photo at first and had to read what you were writing a couple of times to find out it was a Mark Bialczak original! (gosh, how long it take you to learn how to spell your name correctly, ha, ha!)

    Liked by 1 person

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