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on Apr 27, 2011 in B&W Photography

Alabama Hills is B&W Gold!

I am asked ALL the time about B&W. I think Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2 has a whole lot more digital shooters thinking B&W and that’s great! But just because we have an amazing finishing tool to go to B&W does every photo become a great B&W image. It all starts with the click.


As you saw, I shot a lot of color images. As you’re seeing, I also shot a lot of B&W images. Yes, when I pushed the button I was seeing B&W and that’s what a lot of photographers ask help with. The clouds in these photos come to life using the Structure sliders in Silver Efex Pro 2. It’s that knowledge that I use in part when arranging the elements in the viewfinder. I then look at the whites and the blacks, where they are in the frame, where they pull the eye and the story that is tolled during that travel. That’s where experience starts to come into play.


After thinking through that aspect of the photograph I think about contrast and brightness. That’s where the subject lives I think with structure giving the subject a place to live in the photograph. I came away with about 20 B&W images from the morning that I particular like, each because of some small subject that has a home in the photo. The bottom image is a great example of this. I like how Dave is in the scene, a microdot in size yet all the elements bring the eye to him. His solid black form stands you against the gray background. The one thing though that I feel all great B&W photos have in common is passion! B&W is the realm of romantics and without that key ingredient, while the technical might be present, the essence of the shades of B&W are not reaching out and touching the viewer.

Photos captured by D3x, 14-24AFS / 24-70AFS on Lexar UDMA digital fim