What is it about B&W?

WoodWorks

Super Moderator
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
5,692
Location
Ashland, OR, USA
Real Name
David
I was a little bored last night, so I processed a photo I had taken last month into B&W and posted it on my Flickr account.

This was the original, which got 7 faves and one comment. Pretty good for one of my photos. :)
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
DSC00867.jpg by David Wood, on Flickr

Then I converted it into B&W using Affinity Photo on my iPad Pro and posted it again. Flickr exploded.
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
Eureka Dunes by David Wood, on Flickr

It has (as of right now) 230 faves and 13 comments. Both of those are all-time records for me. It's been invited into 6 "invitation-only" groups. And people continue to fave it.

Don't get me wrong. Hell, I'm getting all puffed up about my photographic prowess here. :rolleyes: But I don't get it. I prefer the color version. If @Bimjo (who has said here that he disdains B&W photos) reads this, I bet his head is going to explode. :laugh:

So what is going on here? Is it just a bunch of old photographers (like me), who started with B&W film, waxing nostalgic? Or is it, as I suspect @Bimjo would say, just a bunch of artsy-fartsy hooey?

What do you think? Don't worry. I shoot for myself, and don't really care (much) how many people on Flickr like my stuff. But I do find it kind of strange. :hmmm:
 

Tipton

TalkEmount Top Veteran
Joined
Jan 30, 2016
Messages
782
Real Name
Rae Leggett
Here's my take: the original photo, while well composed, and one to be proud of, doesn't really have a lot of color in the first place. You have white, a tiny bit of blue, a lot of yellow and some muddy grey/brown.

Not much contrast in the sky. At all.

When you turned it to black and white, now little details, hidden by the lack of contrast in the sky, pop out. Instant winner.
 

AlwaysOnAuto

TalkEmount Hall of Famer
Joined
Feb 17, 2015
Messages
2,699
I think if the back ground mountains in the color shot were as blacked out as the ones in the b/w pic it would help the dunes pop more.
I like both shots.
 

bdbits

TalkEmount Hall of Famer
Joined
Sep 10, 2015
Messages
2,094
Real Name
Bob
I think the absence of color highlights composition, light, geometry, textures, etc. whether the viewer realizes it nor not. This makes it feel... different than the far more common color photos and changes the ambience of the photo (if I can use that word in this context). I am certainly not the first to say something like this. I may or may not be right, but I think it is true for me when I view b&w (which I like a lot).
 

addieleman

Passionate amateur
Joined
Nov 13, 2012
Messages
3,766
Location
Netherlands
Real Name
Ad Dieleman
The B&W one sticks with me more because of the bold contrast and almost pure white in the foreground. The color photo is almost handicapped by its color: if you would ramp up contrast, you'd lose color. The dunes create a leading line, which is a classic composition element and works well here, and that leading line is emphasized in the B&W one. Oh well, all talk, all I really know is that the B&W one appeals to me and the color one not so much.
 

WNG

TalkEmount Hall of Famer
Joined
Aug 12, 2014
Messages
4,070
Location
Arrid Zone-A, USA
Real Name
Will
There was a recent bunch of youtube videos by Adam Gibbs, shooting the Gobi Desert in China. He emphasized on a few observations about contrast and light trying to compose a shot on its dunes. BTW Adam Gibbs was named landscape photographer of the year, guy is very good, and also has a great sense of humor! (watch the collabs with Gavin Hardcastle!)

Think both are strong compositions, but the B&W has altered the sky and continues the light and shadows from the leading foreground lines all the way to the horizon, and the sky. There is a completeness to the alternating shadows to dark clouds. Very dramatic.
 
Last edited:

Plaatje

TalkEmount Rookie
Joined
Mar 15, 2019
Messages
14
Don’t want to spoil the party but your photo was chosen for Explore and many people seem to look for that . . .
 

WoodWorks

Super Moderator
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
5,692
Location
Ashland, OR, USA
Real Name
David
You all make good points. I suspect, if I hadn’t taken the shot, I may prefer the B&W version too. But when I post-processes an image, my goal is usually to try to recreate what I felt when I looked at the scene through the viewfinder. And a B&W, whatever its merits, is not going to give me that feeling.

But hey, I’m certainly not complaining. There are worse things than having your images faved on Flickr. :D
 

Xterra

TalkEmount Regular
Joined
Feb 8, 2016
Messages
191
If the sky would be processed different to make it more "pop" like in orange glow sunset it would make a huge difference in the color photo.

Here's my take: the original photo, while well composed, and one to be proud of, doesn't really have a lot of color in the first place. You have white, a tiny bit of blue, a lot of yellow and some muddy grey/brown.

Not much contrast in the sky. At all.

When you turned it to black and white, now little details, hidden by the lack of contrast in the sky, pop out. Instant winner.
 

davect01

Super Moderator
Joined
Aug 20, 2011
Messages
8,185
Location
Fountain Hills, AZ
Real Name
Dave
All depends on the subject. Some just speak B&W whereas others scream color.

These two, I could not see any other way.

DSC00534B&W.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)




DSC06303.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)




What often is the problem with B&W is that if an image has problems, less skilled photographers think converting it to B&W fixes it.
 

Latest posts

Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
TalkEmount is a fan site and not associated with Sony Corporation.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Copyright © 2011-2019 Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom