Black and White Challenge – Day 3

For day 3 of the 5 day black and white challenge, I’ve gone back to my roots as it were.  I guess I’m best known for my landscape photography work so I suppose it’s fitting that I post a few black and white landscape photographs but this presented me with a problem because for the most part, I’m not a fan of black and white landscape photography.  I love colour.  Why hide so much of what makes our planet so beautiful by taking away the colour?

I was very much of the same opinion when it came to photographing flowers in monochrome but yesterday’s photograph demonstrated that sometimes, by taking away the colour, we are forced to look beyond to shape, form, textures, tone and another layer of beauty is revealed.  The same must be true of black and white landscape photographs.

I didn’t have the chance to get out with the film camera today and put this knowledge into practice so I’ve had a look in the archives and I’ve found a few pictures where I think that absence of colour, rather than taking something away from the photograph, brings something new to it.

Helman Tor24mm f/16 1/25 sec. ISO-100

Today I’m going to invite John Todaro to take up the 5 day black and white photography challenge.  John’s photographs from Long Island, New York are incredibly beautiful and if you haven’t visited John’s blog, I heartily recommend it.  There is of course no obligation to take up the challenge, it’s a bit of fun if time allows.spaceAdrian Theze logo  space

33 responses

  1. I agree with your views on colour because when i see this I want to see the colour as well. Still an amazing shot love the windswept direction of the landscape.

    February 16, 2015 at 10:55 pm

    • Thank you Kenny!

      February 17, 2015 at 8:18 am

  2. Great landscape shot ~ great lighting, enhanced by the B&W.

    February 17, 2015 at 12:12 am

    • Thanks Randall. The light definitely became much more of a feature in the black and white conversion!

      February 17, 2015 at 8:19 am

  3. Yes, the absence of color here lets one concentrate on the contrast between the rocks and the tree, while sensing all that space. It’s abeutiful photograph. Sometimes no need for color, sometimes color distracts, but often I’m with you – the gorgeous colors are a big part of what draws me in. Great choice to select John Todaro – I love his work.

    February 17, 2015 at 2:49 am

    • Thank you Lynn! I’m glad you’re taking part! :-)

      February 17, 2015 at 8:20 am

  4. Hm, I think generally I agree with your initial sentiment, I prefer colour in most photographs, and in this one, knowing your style of imagery I can virtually see the colours that would have been there, willing them to appear (what a weird sensation). I find it hard to look at it with neutral eyes because of that. The one thing pretty much all b/w photography has as an advantage over colour, is the amazing details it reveals, every time you look you find something new, and this image is no exception. It forces you to engage on a completely different level. The presence of colour pretty much swamps that out because it is such a dominant feature.

    February 17, 2015 at 8:39 am

    • Thank you Sonja. It is interesting when one starts to think about colour vs black and white. I think the skill is in knowing what works. That’s the tricky part. I’m sure there’s a proportion of images we see in black and white that were perhaps unsuccessful in colour so they were converted to black and white in the hope of creating a ‘fine art’ image. Never works. Sometimes a conversion will make all the difference to an photograph but I think that’s perhaps more by luck than judgement, as with this picture. I wasn’t thinking black and white when I took it. It just so happens to work either way. For really successful black and white images, I think the photographer needs to be thinking in black and white when the image is taken.

      February 17, 2015 at 11:39 am

      • You’re right – think in B&W is the tricky part! I’m always learning and what I really like is that it opens up a whole new world of photography; sometimes the dullest most uninspiring days give the best results.

        February 17, 2015 at 5:42 pm

      • It’s nice not to be limited and as you say, you have a whole new world of photography to explore if you take on black and white. It’s nice to have something to think about on those dull uninspiring days.. :-)

        February 17, 2015 at 10:31 pm

  5. I often think of B&W as conveying a different mood for a place and I’m sure that this is what this version does – it speaks about the barren hillside and this small tree blasted by the prevailing wind. Add in the colour and I think it would start to lose those qualities.

    February 17, 2015 at 8:43 am

    • You’re absolutely right Andy. This image was taken in late afternoon, just as the sun was dipping in early autumn and the whole scene was bathed in that lovely soft golden light one gets at that time of year. The browns and golds of the ferns were glowing and yes, it conveyed a very warm, comforting mood, you could almost feel the warmth of the sun. This image on the other hand suggests a much tougher existence on that hillside I think.

      February 17, 2015 at 8:51 am

  6. Great image Adrian…the light is lovely, but the wind blasted tree and the bare rocks tell another story. Love it!

    February 17, 2015 at 9:57 am

    • Thank you very much Sue! This is one of my favourite photos to be honest but in colour. As I explained to Andy, it was a beautiful evening in early autumn with that lovely light as the sun was going down. The ferns were turning gold and there was such warmth in the image. It was interesting how different, and yet still successful, the image was when converted. This one suprised me.

      February 17, 2015 at 11:29 am

      • Always good to get a nice surprise!! And I am now curious to see the colour version……

        February 17, 2015 at 11:31 am

      • I posted the image again recently, on my blog birthday, it was part of the best of the last 3 years gallery, here’s a link :-)

        February 17, 2015 at 11:49 am

      • Thanks! I must have missed it, lovely light! But I do like the monochrome version…..

        February 17, 2015 at 11:40 pm

      • Me too Sue, thank you! :-)

        February 18, 2015 at 12:25 am

  7. Great choice for your landscape entry, Adrian. The B&W conversion certainly adds a lot of drama to the scene. :)

    February 17, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    • Thank you very much Sylvia! The conversion certainly something! :-)

      February 17, 2015 at 12:15 pm

  8. I am loving your photos. I learned B&W darkroom as a teen, but lost it to raising a family and making a life, now I yearn to learn again. I also visited England once and fell in love with the land of my heritage. Thank you for sharing from across the pond.

    February 17, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    • Thank you very much and thank you for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it. It’s lovely to hear you’re enjoying my photos. I hope you get the opportunity take up photography once more and start developing your own pictures again. It’s wonderfully absorbing pastime.. :-)

      February 17, 2015 at 10:33 pm

  9. Great photo

    February 17, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    • Thanks Lou! :-)

      February 17, 2015 at 10:33 pm

  10. Gorgeous photo, Adrian. I just love i.t

    February 17, 2015 at 11:01 pm

    • Thank you very much Isabel! :-)

      February 18, 2015 at 12:25 am

  11. Pat


    February 18, 2015 at 12:08 am

    • Thank you Pat!

      February 18, 2015 at 12:24 am

  12. bright and so calm :)

    February 18, 2015 at 8:26 am

    • It was a lovely evening Joshi!

      February 18, 2015 at 10:23 am

  13. The textures take center stage in the Bl and wh!

    February 20, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    • This is often the beauty of black and white photography, the textures can really come through. Thank you again!

      February 20, 2015 at 5:38 pm