Posts tagged “Black and White

Flora in Black and White or Colour (Two Photographs)

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Flowers and other flora often make for good black and white photographs because the contrast between the colours is the kind of contrast that suits a black and white treatment. In this case I experimented with the photo you see below.

 Number 6 (Two Photographs)

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I did not discover this flower, my wife did. Neither of us had an easy time of framing it as it was in a very tight spot; our 70-200 mm lenses did not make things easier. Secondly, this is heavily edited with more canvas added to give the flower head room. The title, the flower and the photographs otherwise speak for themselves.

Street Photography (Two Photographs)

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This could be a public service message about when to and when not to use a smart phone, however the man was crossing on a green light. Street photography is hard to explain and define in my view. It’s often defined as candid photography of people in public places, usually in black and white. On my SmugMug website I have used the term to capture street art, markets etc.; the architecture of the street as well as people. I know it’s a stretch and I may be convinced to change it. It is certainly easier to take street art and storefront reflections than photographs of people you don’t know. I’m getting my courage back and I will see where that takes me.

Goose (Three Photographs)

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The tree in this photograph has provided many opportunities for photographs, it’s just far enough away to get great shots, and keep the birds, ducks and geese who pass under it unconcerned about the photographer. Moreover it has excellent detail and as the ducks and geese swim away, you can maintain focus and keep shooting. This goose decided to pose and then head out into open water so it could sing a bit, not that I liked the song. Black and white seems a good medium for geese, given their coloring and contrast with the background.



A Study in Backgrounds (Three Photographs)

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I thought about these three photographs for some time. The subject was one thing, but I was thinking a lot about the background. These were processed in Lightroom; in Photoshop noise was removed, the photo sharpened, a levels adjustment improved contrast, and some tonal contrast was added in Intensity CK.  I used Aurora HDR 2017 to enhance the background, and Tonality CK for the conversion in B&W. I was trying to emphasize the background to make it more detailed and more interesting yet still a background. Just an experiment not an artist’s statement.



Green Flowers (Two Photographs)

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On my blog I write a lot about details and bringing them out. These two photographs were a bit of a revelation for me. I always thought color or black and white was simply a matter of taste until I processed the two versions. Then I noticed that in black and white, more detail of the wispy strands was evident in black and white than in color. At that point I had made my choice but figured it was worth showing both photographs so that this could be seen. It opened up a new area in my quest for the best detail.

Green Flowers2

White on Black and Grey

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The title is a bit of a snarky reference to the titles given to paintings in modern art galleries. I could have called it 23. I have seen a lot of flowers done in black and white and I have done some as well. In some ways the easiest of black and white subjects is a white flower. Some are truly works of art others mere imitations. A friend told me that the best way to deal with color problems in a color photograph was turn it into Black and White. While I am relatively new to the latest means of doing B&W photography, I can see where this may be the case. It has not stopped me from trying to replicate some of the better white flower treatments, or looking more closely where a limited tonal range and greater contrast might improve a photograph but I am conscious of my friend’s comment.

Abstractions in Color and Black and White (6 Photographs)

Abstractions in B&W Floral Abrstarct Black and White3To view more of my photography please click on

These branches and dried flowers I came across on a walk were striking and seemed to deserve special treatment. I processed them in color. Later it occurred to me that it was not necessarily the color that distinguished them but their shape alone. When color makes little difference to the subject its time to try B&W. It was an interesting exercise and I included the color shots so that the original version could be seen.

Abstractions in B&W Floral Abstracts2

Abstractions in B&W Floral Abrstarct Black and White1

Abstractions in B&W Floral Abstracts3

Abstractions in B&W Floral Abrstarct Black and White2

Abstractions in B&W Floral Abstracts1

More fun with Black and White

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This scene caught my eye while my wife and I were walking downtown. I had to wait for two women to inch their way through the scene, as well as some other distractions to move along before I could get this shot. I thought about using more aggressive perspective adjustments on the photograph but it caught my fancy as it is. Like most things, it’s a little off kilter.

Farm in Black and White

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One of my projects this year is to do a bit more black and white using Silver EFX Pro. This farm seemed to have great texture and lent itself to a gentle black and white treatment. We can imagine the colors. The snow draws us into the landscape. I am not a fan of presets, I like working things out myself (otherwise known as exercising creativity) more than applying another person’s style or preset. However, scrolling through the presets in Silver EFX brought back many memories of old film and photographs, movies and moody art. Funny how a bit of grain and contrast has such impact.


Black and White, Filters, HDR etc. (tenth in the Frustrations Files series)

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There is no black and white or color in digital, it is all computer code; a file in your camera and on your desktop subject to interpretation and manipulation. There are many ways of taking a color digital capture and turning it into a grey-scale image. It is really a matter of filters, filtering out the color by translating the digital code for the colors into shades of gray. This sounds highly technical and yet people create wonderful monochrome images. Whereas Ansel Adams spent hours in a smelly, likely toxic lab dodging and burning his prints to perfection, we are now spared that in the digital age of manipulating code.

In the film days we carried Wratten filters to adjust for various temperatures of light. White balance killed the need for color correction filters; editing software has rivaled the neutral density filters and in some cases its better. Only the polarizer filter cannot be duplicated by software. Instead of filters as in the days of film, now there is a learning curve; still an investment, only now an investment in time.

Digital and film were always challenged by the range of light our eyes can see. While film can see a larger range of shadows and highlights it is still surpassed by the capabilities of our eyes. Film still has the advantage over digital of greater color depth and resolution. Digital is catching up and where it has not, techniques have been discovered to make up for it. One such technique is HDR (High Dynamic Range). Photos can still retain a natural look; the combination of three or more shots provides for a larger range of shadows and highlights (e.g you can shoot the trees and not lose the sky or vice versa). To be exact, there are things you can do with digital images that would be much more difficult with film.

When it comes to flexibility of color and dynamic range of light, digital beats film hands down, but we have traded expensive film and labs for a steep and time-consuming learning curve.