So I dipped my toe in the B&W end of the pool about a year or so ago after seeing what really good stuff could be done with Nik Silver Efex, and when Google acquired Nik and rereleased at a much more affordable price I was in.
Colour seduces us with its brightness and excitement. We see a riot of colours and our brains get all excited about it . Its easy for us to view an image quickly and go on to the next, getting high on yet more contrasting exciting colour!
Flooded trees at Glenorchy
However when you want to present your images in black and white something really interesting happens. First as a photographer you have to *think* about your image creation differently.
How will this look without all the exciting colour?
What interest is there to the viewer in BW?
What draws the viewer in?
What catches their attention with BW?
Bearing in mind I am a total noob at this, what I think the answer is to most of these questions is two things – Texture and Composition.
Anyone will tell you a good image needs good composition, but a B&W needs it more. Why? Because I think someone viewing B&W actually takes more time, their brain is less saturated so they need to look at the image more to absorb it – let it speak to them I guess. So a good composition is necessary to engage that attention and hold it.
Then its about texture – contrast of tones, different levels of detail. I notice this more when I am playing with the image in Silver Efex – it has a lot of handy presets to get you started, who would have thought that something as limited as B&W could have SO MANY interesting variations :) Processing these is so much fun!
Anyway enough waffle from me, I have two pix above I have shot and processed in colour but I intended for them to end up as B&W images, so here they are:
Click to embiggen
Click to embiggen
Which do you prefer – the colour version of the B&W version?
How do you feel about B&W landscapes, can it work or is it pretending to be arty?
Im still feeling my way with this so love to hear thoughts or feedback