Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Moving Towards Monochrome

My recent post "On Top Of The World" included a colour picture of a dead tree etched against the sky. This provoked a comment from Jim aka Wayfarin' Stranger asking if I'd seen the photo in black and white. Well, I had, but only because Jim himself had posted a similar image in monochrome just seven days before; it made me wonder if my photograph would look as arresting. Then I began to wonder if ought to so blatantly steal Jim's idea. After much soul-searching the answer is.....


....not quite the same image that I posted before but definitely the same tree! So how much do I use black and white? And the answer is - Not very often! I see in colour and that's how I usually like my photos. But sometimes removing the colour adds something to the picture. The two main categories for B+W are, firstly, where a stark or gloomy atmosphere is required which colour would dilute and, secondly, where too much and too many colours distract from the compositional lines of the shot. There's also an interesting halfway-house where just a hint of colour is left. I'll let you decide how the following photographs were contrived, whether they count as monochrome and whether it was all worth it!





















They were all wholly or partially monochrome at some time during their protracted birth!

Take care.

10 comments:

  1. I do agree that some things translate better to black and white John. That first [photo of the tree made me smile - such a tree would have brought a comment from my late father (he died in 1972) who woould have called it a 'blasted oak' regardless of which species it was!

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  2. Very effective, John. My favorites from this group are the fourth (the posts) and the last. The last one looks like something I would see here in Rugby. I've sold a couple that are similar. As for the first one, its very nice but I still love the composition of the original photo. For some reason, it just grabbed me and won't let go. Maybe some ancestor sat looking at that spot for hours a few centuries ago? Jim

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  3. Lovely photos, I particularly love the ones that naturally have just a hint or touch of colour. Jane x

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  4. I find I'm experimenting with mono more and more. I love the way it can bring out texture, as in your lovely shot of the fence posts.

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  5. Very clever and eye catching. Brings to mind the national geographic cover with the girl who had ice-blue eyes. Think it was nat geo, anyhow?

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  6. Wow, what a fantastic assortment of images, muted and monochrome! I am also one who sees in color, but will try a black and white from time to time, when the subject justifies it. Love your first image of the lonely tree, perfect in B & W.

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  7. My dad used to say of trees that were dying from the top "That tree's getting a bit rooky" - I've no idea why! If your ancestor was sitting close to that tree a long time ago then what was my ancestor doing standing a few yards further away, Jim? At least I know that people with my surname lived in the area, at nearby Therfield and Chipping. A bit of advice to anyone thinking of dabbling in B+W, try using the B+W settings on Windows Live Gallery which has 4 B+W settings (each giving a slightly different result) plus a sepia and a blue monochrome setting. Dead easy to use and very effective. Thank you to everyone else who took the time to comment.

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  8. Great stuff John, I especially love the graveyard - you've really captured a mood there.

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  9. Wonderful photos! I love the ones of the razor shells and the old fence posts:)

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  10. Your blog is an interesting place to visit--I'm in awe of the photography. You have a fine camera, I suspect, and skill in using it---but without your "eye" for composition, the results wouldn't be nearly as memorable.

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Thanks for taking the time to comment. I'll try to answer any questions via a comment or e-mail within the next day or two (no hard questions, please!).