A landscape of black and white

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On the whole, I tend to favour colour photography but sometimes a scene suggests itself to me in black and white. When colour is gone, the outlines or structure of a landscape come to the fore.

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Black and white landscapes work best if contrast is strong, with at least some true blacks and whites, not just shades of grey.

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Converting an image taken on a bright summer’s day to black and white can add drama, if the subject seems to demand it.

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You can add a tint if you want a particular mood…

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or a different slant on a familiar scene.

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Do you ever shoot landscapes in black and white?

The images:
Storm approaching Birling Gap, East Sussex, England
Beach art, Lindisfarne, Northumberland, England
Wheat field, Surrey, England
Dunstanburgh Castle, Northumberland, England
The boathouse, Wey Navigation, England
Monument Valley, Utah, USA

26 thoughts on “A landscape of black and white

    • Thank you. As a busy mum, I can’t limit my landscape photography to sunset and sunrise so it’s nice to have the option of converting to B&W shots taken in the middle of the day when the light is bright and colours harsh.

  1. When I bought my first 35mm camera in 1967 it was my intention to shoot black and white. The dealer included with the camera a roll of color film and free processing. 45 years laters (good grief!) I’m still shooting almost exclusively in color – I often think that forms exist mainly to give colors a place to be.

    That said, I agree with you completely that b and w really brings out the ‘bone structure’ in a shot, as the images you’ve posted clearly show.

  2. These days I almost always shoot black and white. You photos are lovely, but I don’t agree that you need strong contrast – it depends on the subject and the mood you want to create. Fog/misty scenes, for example, work really well.

    • Hi Debra. Thanks for commenting. You are, of course, right! I should have used the word “usually”. One of my favourite Flickr contacts produces very atmospheric B&W shots in fog. In fact, I may ask him to do a guest post soon. Thanks for the idea!

  3. Quite nice! I lean toward color as well, but occasionally like to play with black and white. I’m also a strong-contrast person. Alaska served itself well for that style!

  4. Lovely post again Rachael, as you know I too nearly always shoot in colour and I do agree there are some shots that just lead themselves to b&w. Most of the ones I shoot in b&w or convert are strong contrast too, but do agree with Debra above about misty/foggy scenes, as I have seen some fabulous b&w shots in these conditions with such atmosphere. I have a Flickr contact from Holland that shoots the most fabulous b&w shots in these conditions!

    • Hi Karen. Thanks. :). As I have replied to Debra, I should definitely have used the word “usually”! I must do a post about shooting in fog soon. I have a Flickr contact who specialises in it.

  5. B & W is a style I enjoy looking at but seldom try. Thanks again for the inspiration and the great shots. Those stone constructions are really common here in Korea, by the way — and Switzerland as well.

  6. I love shooting in black and white but I don’t think I’ve ever shot landscapes in black and white. Cityscapes yes, but not landscapes. You’ve got me thinking it’s something I should be trying.

  7. Fantastic shots! I have a passion for b&w too and like to convert my shots from color to monochrome. How did you convert yours? Photoshop plugins?

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