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Sometimes colour completely kills a picture, distracting from all the important elements. In the last couple of days I've done monochrome conversions on a couple of colour pictures where my original conceptions simply didn't come through the distracting colours.
I liked this tree so much that even though I only had a telephoto lens and couldn't get far enough away from it to get the whole thing in a photo, I shot a mosaic of bits of it to stitch together later in photoshop but when I saw the colour image I was really disappointed, so it languished with a few other similars for years, until this week I went back to it and gave it the monochrome treatment:
What pictures do you have which fail the colour test but perform well in black and white?
I still shoot b +w film (not as much as i would like lately) so I tend to see the image in tones rather than color, . this one was on a dreary day and it was almost colorless anyhow
same with this one the waves were 6 - 8 m high so i was running down the shore with a tripod when the wave retreated to grab a shot before the next one. the waves were at about 20s intervals so it was run try and compose and retreat. I 'saw' it in monochrome
I used to shoot a lot of BW film "back in the day" so have always loved the feel f a good BW.
Sometimes it works in both color and BW, and I will put both up if that is the case but there are other times when I shot specifically with black and white in mind. Strong texture comes to mind as does a scene with dull lifeless color to begin with. The shots below are on overcast and foggy winter's dasy so the color was dull and even the water was blah, but in BW, they seem to work for me.
This one is so-so in color but the color distracts from the subject, which is a "natural" sepia to begin with so why have the distractions around it...
Then there are images which I wasn't thinking BW at all but just don't work in color but DO in BW.
We have a number of them. I don't always double check images with b&w, but some seem to have the right mood or subject matter and I'll try. I have a few I'm working on now actually, that I can't decide between so I'll use both.
This one isn't bad in color, but it pops a bit more in b&w
This one is way better in b&w
This is another that looks good in color because of all the different colors, but I think I like in b&w better-the background blends better
and lastly...this one sucks in color. I have been back and forth on TTV in general, but decided I would try some and just take the excuse to get a few TLRs. Both the Anscoflex (mine) and Argoflex (his) we have are all stuck and jambed up so they wouldn't work well for film use (not that we have the space for a darkroom to develop it anyway) so it gave them a new use. This was one of few times I used his TLR, the Argoflex. The viewfinder is so dark it makes me wonder how people ever used them to being with! I picked up a Skyflex that has the same dark viewfinder and stuck shutter and film advance issues, but I just had to because there's a stciker from Allen's Camera Shop inside of it, lol.
No, it's just the glass they used (there is some dirt which I left because it's part of the "TTV look", although it's mostly on the mirror rather than the viewfinder). The Anscoflex (although technically not a true TLR) is nice and bright. The Argoflex and Skyflex are both challenging for TTV. I have a little Clix O Flex I've used once or twice and that has a dark viewfinder also. I think that's why originally everyone was going for the Duaflexes-cheap, plentiful and bright viewfinders-I just liked the look of the Anscoflex WAY better. That photo is actually my Anscoflex. I love the integrated lens/viewfinder cover, makes me think of the cars of the same era for some reason (even though the Argoflex was the one that was designed in part by Harley Earl!).
I set these two images aside because I didn't like the way they looked. The color of sagebrush is just unappealing to me. I had forgotten all about them until a couple months ago when someone else started a thread about B&W. That thread reminded me the reason I set them aside was that I wanted to try them in B&W.
I think what you get here is high-end ink-jet printing. Wouldn't silver prints have to come out of a darkroom and be done the old fashioned way?
One interesting option for some of these would be to convert them into negatives, print that in a large size on a transparent film and then use that to create a salt print or albumen print, the way they did in the 19th century. If you did that you would be taking a digital image and creating something hand-crafted from it.
Here's the other one that I finally processed this week. A tree, again, but on a different continent and with the interest being in the sweep of the curves more than in a rough, knarled trunk.
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Here's a picture that's almost black & white when it's in color. However, to me the color is better for this one. I agree with the above post that sometimes a picture will work well in both. I do find it fascinating however, that even when they work in both, the 2 versions almost always have a different feel, and sometimes what you take from it becomes different.
My "A Show of Hands" series works better in black and white than it does in color. I found that keeping the tonalities the same, and removing the "color distraction" it really helped ties the photographs together.