Black and White

After the last exercise, in which I started to desaturate the image, the natural progression was to black and white. This exercise required me to compose and expose for a final black and white photograph (after post-production). Here I needed to concentrate on form and light, somewhat (but not completely) disregarding the colour element of what appears in my viewfinder. Some DSLRs have a monochrome setting to let you see the black and white image on the LCD whilst still retaining the colour channels. Mine does not have that facility and I think that actually is a benefit as it makes me think in black and white terms before I take the photo rather than during and after taking the photo.

For the photo submitted here I was looking for strong dynamic contrasts before raising the camera to my eye, both in form and light. I could see that were very strong diagonal leading lines that lead towards a vanishing point in the middle of the frame; the line of beech trees on the left, the rut of leaves in the middle, the roots and stones further right and then the shard of light created by the gap between the tree branches and the ground. I could also see that the light was falling quite nicely on the right side of the tree trunks, leaving a gentle shadow on the left. I exposed for the darker area of the frame, knowing that I would want detail in that area. This has left the sky on the right over-exposed. I wasn’t too worried about this as I thought the bleed it would create might be quite dramatic. It certainly draws the eye which, in turn pulls it down to the rest of the image and in to the trees. During post-processing I have had to burn in the branches on the right in to get some definition on them. I also realised that the branches overhead combined with the straight tree trunks created a good horizontal and vertical structure to the frame. It was clear that with the bright light ‘outside’ that these would be rendered quite dark during exposure making them quite stark and powerful. It has plenty of detail in the trunks and branches to keep the keep interest and differing angles to make the eye travel around the photograph.

Beech Trees

Beech Trees

This is the original photograph that I processed. I feel the image has much more strength in black and white. It is noticeable that the colour image is basically green and black which immediately attracts my eye for the shot. Less colour distraction in colour can often translate more easily in to a strong black and white image.

Beech trees - original colour

Beech trees – original colour

3 thoughts on “Black and White

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