Working in grayscale

Path to the sun

I actually started a blog on this subject two years ago but it has remained a “draft” all that time.  Over that period I have learnt quite a bit and still have a lot more to learn.  These images do not relate to a specific walk but have all been taken over the past couple of months, the weather for the last week or so has mostly just been grey!  Most of the images have been seen on the Westcountry Wanderings page on facebook too as I do sometimes put recent images on there before they make it into a full blog.  Not particularly a fan of facebook but I do appreciate the feedback I get there.

Misty winter water

For quite some time I couldn’t “see” black and white images in my scenes.  I realise that I could set the camera to black and white however one thing I have learnt is that it is better to process the images to grayscale after they are taken not at the time.  This actually allows far greater flexibility in processing and I will manipulate grayscale images more than colour ones which I prefer to be as true as possible.  Given we do not “see” in black and white” creating more or less contrast is not about reproducing a scene but more about a feel for the look of an image

Nearly grey

The idea of “colour popping” has always appealed in a sense however it is something that can be overdone and so I rarely look for it in my images.  However the one above which was almost monochromatic on a grey day seemed worth trying it on.

After the rain

Quite a few of my images have tended to be somewhat monochromatic anyway with my love of shooting into the light and I am starting to see that some of my better colour images will also work in grayscale.  In fact the above image is quite “wrong” in colour and does work better in monochrome.

Wall on Dartmoor

I have always been a fan of Ansell Adam‘s work.  His monochrome landscapes are extremely evocative to me.  They manage to capture the scale and grandeur of some scenes in a way which almost seems harder to achieve in colour.  I have a long way to go yet but I like the sense of space here.

Boat in the Bay

The drama of light and cloud which I love can also look good in grayscale.  The mistiness on the coast – something I like in colour – also works in grayscale as seen above.  The idea of the vessel being in a spotlight has more drama in monochrome than in colour actually.

This one quite surprised me.  The colours in the clouds at sunset were lovely and I got a quick shot or two in.  I suddenly wondered what it might look like in grayscale and was pleasantly surprised by the results.  The colour version can been seen on facebook too in this album.  This will not be the last monochrome post I think even if it has taken me two years to get it done.  I’ll close with very best wishes to all readers for 2012 – hopefully it will bring some good photographic opportunities too.



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