I was on a walk around Westlake Park in Santa Cruz on a beautiful October evening with the mission of photographing the recently arrived great blue heron (see my blog of the 11th of May). On my way to shooting the heron, I came upon a father and his children feeding the ducks and geese. I watched them play for a little while and realized there was a good photo op happening. I studied them for a few minutes and visualized an image in black and white. I had my digital camera with me so I shot the image in color to be processed into black and white later.
Many photographers, particularly those of us that are a little on the more “seasoned” side, began with black and white film then switched to Kodachrome then Ektachrome (or Velvia) and finally to digital. Then some of us either returned to black and white film or began creating black and white images digitally.
My photographic focus (sorry!) has been nature and in recent years it has been mustangs. These subjects lend themselves to black and white for me. I find black and white people photography, to be much more difficult.
I was trained using b&w film and was quite used to carrying red, green, blue and yellow filters around with me. I visualized my images in black and white and I knew how to use the filters to achieve the result that I wanted.
The digital world is a bit different. In order to get the best possible b&w image, you need to photograph in color and then convert the image into b&w in the computer. This requires me to see the color image in the camera and computer before I make the b&w image. As a result, I find myself comparing the color and b&w images and then making a decision about which image I like best. I analyzed both of these images in Photoshop and I preferred the black and white to the color. That’s how I initially visualized the photograph and I decided to stick with my original idea.
What do you think? Which image do you like better, the one in color or the b&w? Please send me a comment with your opinion.
By the way, a little bit of advice: I recommend that you not use the b&w settings in the camera because they won’t adequately duplicate the effect of film. The best results come from your image processing software and your printer. The better the software / printer combination, the better the b&w image. Make the investment in either Photoshop (not Elements) or a processor of equivalent capability and don’t set the camera to black and white.
As of today, my photographs are for sale at Scotts Valley Artisans, 230-D Mt. Hermon Rd., Scotts Valley, CA 95066. Their website is at www.scottsvalleyartisans.com. Drop by and visit if you’re in the area.