Black and White


When Black and White is Better

There are two types of photography, in my view: Color and Black and White. Of course, there are many more genres of photography in each of those categories and there are other ways of looking at imaging.

Leanne Cole started this topic with a post, Up for Discussion: Images in Monochrome, you can follow the link or see it reblogged a bit farther down. Another photography colleague, Solaner, mentioned one of his posts on this subject, color vs. black and white, which I have also reblogged (scroll down).

There are times when a black and white image can carry your message better than a color version. That can become a lengthy discussion. For this article I want to look at some images that just don’t work as well in color. Color can interfere and some color photos are just not worth sharing. I will present some examples here.

We have a favorite pond for afternoon strolls. There are fish and turtles living there and many birds, water birds, song birds, even raptors are frequent visitors. Plants and flowers are inviting subjects for photography. There is one big problem. The water is muddy from the run-offs that feed the pond and algae, pollen and other stuff  make the water cloudy and an icky color. A photo of that idyllic Canada goose couple is marred by the unattractive color of the water – in a color photo.


Emphasizing the color more turns it into a complete disaster.



I tried some cropping and a plain black and white conversion. Next a added a very subtle vignette. To me this is a much more effective photo, it tells about the geese, and is not high-jacked by the green water.


My friends know that I rarely leave well enough alone, so I just have to also show you my “café art” version of this image.

That was exhibit one. Now on to the next one. A turtle was sunning itself on the bank. Here is my photo.

Turtle on the Bank

Not exactly a prize-winner there. A strong crop, conversion to black and white and again a bit of a vignette and it is much improved, I hope you agree.

Turtle on the Bank

Spring is just enveloping Georgia, here in the South of the U.S.A., and I shared a series of spring blossom images. Dandelions fit into that “harbinger of spring” mantra, however hereabouts they bloom year round. I came across a fine seed head in my lawn.


Nothing much to rave about. This called for heavier processing.

The enhanced image tells the story and I was happy enough to share this image. The processing steps included getting a high-pass image on my way to bringing out the fine details of the dandelion seed pappi. That image, of just the sharp contrast transitions, looked inviting. Inviting enough to lead to this café art rendering:

Dandelion fireworks!

Sometimes a black and white image can say more, stir emotions that a “plain” color photo can’t. Look for the treasures hiding in your photos.


© 2015 Ludwig Keck

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