What is it about B&W?

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. :)
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.
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:


TalkEmount Top Veteran
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.


TalkEmount Hall of Famer
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.


TalkEmount All-Pro
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).


Passionate amateur
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.


TalkEmount Hall of Famer
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.
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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