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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Landscapes should never ever be black and white
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04/26/2005 03:13:43 AM · #1
I thought this comment was slightly amusing - about my Free Study entry - that b/w is good for portraits and man-made things only? The b/w apparently makes it just a sketch. In truth I never really converted this to black and white anyway, it was the F828 in night-shot mode which has a green tinge to it, with an infrared filter on it which neutralised much of the green. Technicalities aside, I thought a recent challenge was Ansel Adams, who made his name on nature black and whites. Enough said. I don't mean this as an insult to anyone, and got similar comments before, but it's a little frustrating that some people see b/w and immediately mark it down.

Discuss.
04/26/2005 03:20:58 AM · #2
Originally posted by pgatt:

I thought this comment was slightly amusing - about my Free Study entry - that b/w is good for portraits and man-made things only? The b/w apparently makes it just a sketch. In truth I never really converted this to black and white anyway, it was the F828 in night-shot mode which has a green tinge to it, with an infrared filter on it which neutralised much of the green. Technicalities aside, I thought a recent challenge was Ansel Adams, who made his name on nature black and whites. Enough said. I don't mean this as an insult to anyone, and got similar comments before, but it's a little frustrating that some people see b/w and immediately mark it down.

Discuss.


Sounds similar to a discussion about Nudes in another thread. It's all subjective. I liked the shot, gave it an 8. Didn't know it was IR and have no idea what this means: "Nightshot mode on, an ND8, ND4, and a Hoya R72." But it sounds impressive as well. :)
04/26/2005 03:24:45 AM · #3
You need to copy paste that comment on the thread so everyone can share intelligably. I found it. Different strokes for different folks, until they want to use the same technique and/or presentation.
People are so fickle. I thought it was maybe a little dark, on my monitor..... but the dock, water, and the background is awesome in IR_B&W.
04/26/2005 03:27:20 AM · #4
Originally posted by kpriest:

Originally posted by pgatt:

I thought this comment was slightly amusing - about my Free Study entry - that b/w is good for portraits and man-made things only? The b/w apparently makes it just a sketch. In truth I never really converted this to black and white anyway, it was the F828 in night-shot mode which has a green tinge to it, with an infrared filter on it which neutralised much of the green. Technicalities aside, I thought a recent challenge was Ansel Adams, who made his name on nature black and whites. Enough said. I don't mean this as an insult to anyone, and got similar comments before, but it's a little frustrating that some people see b/w and immediately mark it down.

Discuss.


Sounds similar to a discussion about Nudes in another thread. It's all subjective. I liked the shot, gave it an 8. Didn't know it was IR and have no idea what this means: "Nightshot mode on, an ND8, ND4, and a Hoya R72." But it sounds impressive as well. :)


IR = INFRA RED... Hoya 72 is a color filter for your lens, the rest are camera settings_I beleive
04/26/2005 03:35:02 AM · #5
This infrared his talking about is a feature of the sony cameras at least, F707, F717 and F828... the cameras have night shot... with this you can see clearly in the night or almost clearly.. like night vision googles.
04/26/2005 03:36:43 AM · #6
Got it. Thanks. Very cool feature.
04/26/2005 05:58:17 AM · #7
I'd be screwed then wouldnt i LOL

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04/26/2005 06:02:02 AM · #8
Gee, for about the first 75 years ALL photography was in Black & White ...
04/26/2005 06:40:40 AM · #9
Originally posted by GeneralE:

Gee, for about the first 75 years ALL photography was in Black & White ...


Oh puh-lease. Like history is cause to treat b/w as a legitimate landscape technique. Besides, Adams couldn't have possibly known what he was doing - he used one of those film cameras because he never mastered Photoshop.
04/26/2005 07:23:20 AM · #10
I was going to jump on this using Ansel Adams and several others as an example myself. I'm sure Adams and other B&W greats don't need me to defend them and the B&W landscape. Some people just don't get it.

Perhaps the design of the digital camera that forces people to think color first because you have to go into the minu to select B&W is the source of this problem. Yes thinking color is default.:-)

Barry

Originally posted by pgatt:

I thought this comment was slightly amusing - about my Free Study entry - that b/w is good for portraits and man-made things only? The b/w apparently makes it just a sketch. In truth I never really converted this to black and white anyway, it was the F828 in night-shot mode which has a green tinge to it, with an infrared filter on it which neutralised much of the green. Technicalities aside, I thought a recent challenge was Ansel Adams, who made his name on nature black and whites. Enough said. I don't mean this as an insult to anyone, and got similar comments before, but it's a little frustrating that some people see b/w and immediately mark it down.

Discuss.
04/26/2005 07:54:16 AM · #11
My first thought when I read your post was of Ansel Adams, the same as most others it seems. For someone to make a comment that B&W is not suitable for landscape photography just shows to me that they know very little of photography, or the history of photography. Some of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen are B&W.

For another thing, there are no absolutes in photography. I get a little crazy when people critique an image and use terms such as "you must", or "always", or other such terms. People need to open their minds to possibilities outside the norm when they view other people's work.
04/26/2005 08:16:57 AM · #12
Originally posted by leesc:

I get a little crazy when people critique an image and use terms such as "you must", or "always", or other such terms. People need to open their minds to possibilities outside the norm when they view other people's work.


I have that very same idiosyncrasy! Although it seems to annoy me
more when people insist that a photo must follow the rule of thirds
to be good!
04/26/2005 09:01:32 AM · #13
Originally posted by pgatt:

I thought this comment was slightly amusing - about my Free Study entry - that b/w is good for portraits and man-made things only? The b/w apparently makes it just a sketch. In truth I never really converted this to black and white anyway, it was the F828 in night-shot mode which has a green tinge to it, with an infrared filter on it which neutralised much of the green. Technicalities aside, I thought a recent challenge was Ansel Adams, who made his name on nature black and whites. Enough said. I don't mean this as an insult to anyone, and got similar comments before, but it's a little frustrating that some people see b/w and immediately mark it down.

Discuss.


You are being oversensitive about one comment. In a diverse group you will get diverse opinions not always in agreement with your own.

If you want to pay attention to comments then pay attention to the ones suggesting your picture was too dark and lost detail in the lower left side. That has more tangible meaning.

Like you, my highest rated image is a B&W landscape so it can't be that people are biased against them. The commenter's opinion is not wrong but it is in the minority.
04/26/2005 02:06:55 PM · #14
Sorry it sounded like that, but I wasn't oversensitive, I was just interested in seeing other's thoughts. I appreciated all the comments I got, even the one mentioned. It certainly wasn't the only comment about b/w landscapes though. I do agree totally that the bottom left needed more detail, it was a bit of a consequence of upping the contrast.

In terms of the technical stuff - the infrared I was talking about is the nightshot mode as mentioned common to the f707,f717 and f828. The R72 is an infrared filter, and the nd8 and nd4 are neutral density filters which reduce the amount of light into the lens.

That aside, I was just plugging to see what other people thought. I love blsck and white and I know people around here aren't biased, my b/w's have scored infinitely better than my colour shots. Thanks to ALL those who voted, commented and added to this thread.
04/26/2005 02:48:23 PM · #15
Using B&W before color became an alternative is different than using it in the digital age.

Color is the norm nowadays, and it is B&W that is unusual. You should have a reason for going from color to B&W. Here at dpc, because we are a learning/teaching site, you can get away "I was trying to learn the conversion technique" as your reason a lot more often than on the outside. Along with teaching conversion technique we also teach when to use it, and when not to. We could be doing a better job of teaching that point.

When I see a B&W shot here at dpc my reaction is often "the photog blew the exposure and tried to salvage it by converting".
04/26/2005 03:10:16 PM · #16
Don't suppose anyone actually LIKES b&W? There are many very successful photographers that prefer B&W and many contests have a B&W category. I guess they are all wrong (not). Almost any subject is suitable for B&W imaging in my opinion. I have seen excellent renderings of the same scene in both color and monochrome and would not denigrate either choice.
04/26/2005 03:18:53 PM · #17
Originally posted by coolhar:

Color is the norm nowadays, and it is B&W that is unusual.


You should qualify that...in newsprint and documentary photography it's often the norm.

For the commercial-type photography found here at dpc it is definitely not the norm.
04/26/2005 03:39:58 PM · #18
Originally posted by thatcloudthere:

Originally posted by coolhar:

Color is the norm nowadays, and it is B&W that is unusual.


You should qualify that...in newsprint and documentary photography it's often the norm.

For the commercial-type photography found here at dpc it is definitely not the norm.


Color is how our cameras work in their normal default mode. To get to B&W you have to convert in software, or switch your camera to another mode. The only time when B&W was the norm was when color was not yet available.
04/26/2005 03:44:45 PM · #19
B/W is growing on me. I'm finding numerous conditions where it is a better choice than color, and I love the way my camera handles B/W. I might be enjoying it more because I never shot B/W in the past with 35mm.

Originally posted by ElGordo:

Don't suppose anyone actually LIKES b&W? There are many very successful photographers that prefer B&W and many contests have a B&W category. I guess they are all wrong (not). Almost any subject is suitable for B&W imaging in my opinion. I have seen excellent renderings of the same scene in both color and monochrome and would not denigrate either choice.

04/26/2005 04:06:47 PM · #20
In many ways, photographing in B&W is more challenging that in color. You have to use engaging scenery rather than attractive colors, and there is a smaller audience of followers of black and white. Personally, I prefer it, but that's just me.
04/26/2005 04:11:56 PM · #21
Originally posted by coolhar:

Using B&W before color became an alternative is different than using it in the digital age.

Color is the norm nowadays, and it is B&W that is unusual. You should have a reason for going from color to B&W. Here at dpc, because we are a learning/teaching site, you can get away "I was trying to learn the conversion technique" as your reason a lot more often than on the outside. Along with teaching conversion technique we also teach when to use it, and when not to. We could be doing a better job of teaching that point.

When I see a B&W shot here at dpc my reaction is often "the photog blew the exposure and tried to salvage it by converting".


Color is not the "norm" nowdays. I have shot for both newspapers and Magazines and have had B&W used on color pages because they were good shots. Your assuming a lot when your reaction is assuming the exposure is blown just because it's B&W.
04/26/2005 04:21:55 PM · #22
Originally posted by coolhar:

Using B&W before color became an alternative is different than using it in the digital age.

Color is the norm nowadays, and it is B&W that is unusual. You should have a reason for going from color to B&W. Here at dpc, because we are a learning/teaching site, you can get away "I was trying to learn the conversion technique" as your reason a lot more often than on the outside. Along with teaching conversion technique we also teach when to use it, and when not to. We could be doing a better job of teaching that point.

When I see a B&W shot here at dpc my reaction is often "the photog blew the exposure and tried to salvage it by converting".


Thats kind of like saying anyone that walks instead of driving probably can't drive cause driving is the norm. B/W certainly doesn't work in every image but it adds a lot to most. I think it is liked so much in portraits of people because it can hide many skin tone irregularities and helps people look better. I personally feel b/w is totally the way to go with many images (especially where the surrounding colors may distract the viewer from the actual subject or where the colors are meaningless...like in this photo: //www.sabphotography.com/P6122487b.JPG the color version does not have the same feel or impact to it. The b/w gives more of a calming feel that a waterfall usually is assocaited with.
04/26/2005 05:11:42 PM · #23
Originally posted by sabphoto:

Thats kind of like saying anyone that walks instead of driving probably can't drive cause driving is the norm.

That's not what I said, and it's not what I meant to say.

Color is the norm because most pictures are color. Color is the first choice of the masses. And especially in the digital realm, where images are almost always color before they become B&W.

That was not the case years ago before color film was commonly available. Early photographers did not work in B&W out of choice, as digital photographers are now able to do.

Using the walk-drive analogy I'd say walking is the norm; (excluding the small portion of the population that is handicapped) that we can all walk is the same as we can all shoot in color. Some of us choose to learn to drive and wind up using cars more often than feet just as some photographers choose to learn B&W and adopt it as their favored mode.

Originally posted by sabphoto:

...like in this photo: ... the color version does not have the same feel or impact to it. The b/w gives more of a calming feel that a waterfall usually is assocaited with.

That's an example of what I mean by having a reason to use B&W. You have thought about color vs B&W in regard to that specific image, and probably compared versions. You made a determination that you prefer B&W because it best conveys what the photographer envisioned and based on the aesthetics of that particular shot; not to separate it from the more numerous color shots, not simply because you like B&W, not for learning conversion technique, not for covering a blown exposure, etc.
04/26/2005 05:27:11 PM · #24
What I have learned over the last 30 years is: generally color images are best when the subject is colorful! If there is very little color in what you are shooting, why not go with B&W. I have also found that B&W usually creates more dramatic an image than color in many situations. So basically use what makes sense.
04/26/2005 05:32:14 PM · #25
too me b&w can be even more beautiful than color when done correctly. But in the age of X-box, television, reality shows b&w seems antiquated.

Color can seem easier to produce, and more visual, but b&w has a home on its own.

In my opinion, not everyone is schooled in the art of b&w, and don't know what to look for, and therefor write it off as bad, and move on to something they understand.
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