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As I´m gettin older (now 56) I love everyday more the bw pictures. Instead our retines has more cones (looks the colours) than rods (looks bw) so a little more detail can be see in colour, bw has some special enchanting that I still don´t discover what it is. Hope you can aid to me or at last express what motivates you to tone bw your pictures.

I love that bw can be used including with harsh light where high ligts washed the colours and cretes deep shadows. Since I´m not pro, many times I have to deal with the existing lights, and black and white is always an option. I leave you with two pictures of Macchu Picchu with harsh light (buuuuuuuu). Please tell me what motivates you to take pictures in BW???

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Comment by dennis sowell on December 19, 2013 at 9:18pm
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I am very new to B & W imaging, and intend to learn more, and do more of it.  I have loved Color since I did my first SLR images on Film, in which I ended up shooting a scene that might have been great in B&W, except that double rainbows appeared before the shoot was over (much to my surprise)! I knew very little at the time of exposure control, lighting concepts,  shutter speed, depth of field, or ASA, anything else for that matter. It was on a very windy day (Gale force) when breakers were blowing over the top of a nearly full nearby Large Scale Irrigation Reservoirs Concrete Dam, from below. I was stumbling though ignorantly, using a Minolta X G 9 given to me by an Uncle, who had learned of my interest in the Art, and that I could not afford even a basic SLR. He had no further use for this one and sent it to me. He neglected to include any instructions of course.It took me a week to even learn how to load film and batteries in it!

I had just the next week heard of a Photo Contest sponsored by the Water Conservation District with a subject of (you guessed it Water Conservation). My eventual entry was dumb luck I admit, and was entitled "Pot of Gold"  showing  double rainbows below  the sunlit spray in front of the Dam  where the breakers were broken into at least a Billion highly reflective "Prisms" with every splash then was cast at fifty MPH or more above my head and beyond. I was the only so called "photographer" there (if I can use the term loosely  If anyone knows anything about Southwestern USA Water Issues they'll understand the Title! It remarkably won a nice First Place Cash Prize of $500 in the small local show. Not a big deal of course. I did not win anything else for years, of course. Have never won another prize worth $500 either,  but it sold me on "Color Photography" from the beginning (17 yrs ago)! The whole World of Photography has changed "every several years" since then, and in our now "mostly Digital World" (Nikon D-300 is my current workhorse) Color still draws my interest, and loyalty! Yet I feel B&W calling from afar. Perhaps back to the scene of my amazing "beginners luck" and some B& W on those marvelous stone cold, stark & dramatic structures from before. Maybe there I can have some magic again w/ B&W! Who knows , Get out an shoot!

Comment by Jack Harwick on April 28, 2013 at 8:15am
I share your love of B&W. For the first four years that is all that I shot, because I did my own developing and printing. Today it is easier to shoot color, but for some images a B&W conversion seems to work better. I will try and work up a few just for you.
Comment by Pauwels Ferdi on November 26, 2012 at 2:45am

I like the color picture more than the BW, i think nature comes more to its right in color .... BW is ok for expressions and facial photo's.....my opinion........ 

Comment by Penny Dykes on October 17, 2012 at 7:13pm

The b&w is reminiscent of  Ansel Adams.  I like it though you lose some of the depth of field.  I love that you can see the lines of movement across the sky, kind of mystical considering the location.

The color adds a richness and depth to the scene that is not available in the b&w.  I like both versions depending on the message you wish to convey.

Comment by Jesse Lee Moore on September 19, 2012 at 1:50pm

As I shoot mostly digital, it's usually a difficult choice for me, especially with portraits.  I shoot in RAW, just like Dan, and then do the conversions if I so choose.  For the most part, if there's a particular element in the image that I want to emphasize, such as a pattern of shapes, contrast between two shapes or surfaces, or the texture of something, I'll most likely opt for black and white.  If I feel that color specifically adds something to the photo, I'll just adjust the HSL a bit in Lightroom.  Also, for me, tonal range has an influence on whether I publish an image in color or black and white.  IMO, a black and white image with masterful tones has no color alternative.  However, I am finding that more and more, I'm publishing color images, with fewer b&w conversions.

Comment by Rafael Fajardo on September 13, 2012 at 9:19pm

Please ammend the first paragraph of my comment:

"..since color just added a touch of..."

Comment by Dan Tubbs, Jr. on September 13, 2012 at 9:17pm

Although I shoot everything in RAW and rarely convert to black and white, I admire the way black and white photos look. I used to develop and print my own photographs, but find I can do so much more in Lightroom and Photoshop. Your image of Macchu Picchu in black and white is wonderful. The hardest thing to do in a BW image is to include all of the tones from pure white to pure black. I think you have achieved that in this photo.

Best regards, Dan

Comment by Rafael Fajardo on September 13, 2012 at 9:12pm

Hi Mario. I do agree with Victoria's point of view. however I'd like to add: before i started doing photography I went to the Bellas Artes school in Bogotá. one of my teachers was one of the greatest colorists in latin America. In his technique he always started with verdaccio, and in many occasions he gave up coloring and went deeply in a monocrome or duotone finish. He sayed that when he felt that he was accomplihsing the best of the expression he wanted to transmit, he better put all his talent in monochromatic painting, since just added a touch of distraction or an decorative effect that attenuated the expressive strength of his work.

With this idea in mind all the time I try to do BW's or sepias out of the shots I consider to be good enough, or when  feel that color plays a distractive effect.

Taking advantage of the software available , I exagerate tone mapping in color and then go to BW or sepia, trying to get an engraving like appearance to my picture.

I add the following as an example of what.

Thanks for your coment on my pict. mean

Comment by CP Keen on September 10, 2012 at 9:35pm

Hi Mario, I think a lot of us older guys that shot and processed our own film got used to shooting B/W. Color processing and printing was just too fussy and expensive for me. Expansive landscapes lend themselves to B/W. A few of my florals just seem to look better in B/W especially when enlarged.

My opinion only-I like the foreground in your photo in color and the background and mountain peaks in B/W. I think though in this case I would make more adjustments to the color photo as the foreground of the photo is the most important part and B/W just doesn't do the terraces and stonework of Macchu Picchu justice

Comment by Viktoria Eiböck on September 10, 2012 at 5:38am

I am not a pro and this is just what I think about this subject.

Wheter I use bw or colours, depends on the appearance of the photo and the message that I want to convey. I decide on bw/colours during post processing. It's like trial and error - what looks better? But there are some clues:

In my mind architectural and static pictures look more often better in bw than for example landscape photography. In most cases landscapes require colours. There are just a few landscapes pictures, that look better in bw than in colours. Colours are the strongest visual stimuli that the human eye perceives. How would you convey the freshness of leaves or the emotion of a sunset?

A good picture conveys a clear message. The message I want to convey has to be ascertainable at first view. For this reason the main object of the picture has to be emphasized. Be it depth of field, colours or contrast. In case of bw remain depth of field and contrast.

There is no universal formula that says "this photo looks better in bw than in colours". At least it depends on the viewers eye and taste. Just try both and you will see, what looks better.

In your case I prefer the coloured one.

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