Saturday, March 9, 2013

Personal Photo Challenge = Black & White

This is the inaugural challenge for
 A Personal Photo Challenge (here),
the theme is "Black and White".
I'm excited for the new outlet where
I can be challenged and inspired to learn!
The last four months I've been learning to operate my Canon 60D
and teaching myself photography.
I find I lean towards macro and closeup photography,
but I love landscapes, street shots and unposed portraits too!
My first two shots, below, were taken with my Canon Macro 100mm lens......
These photos were shot on Auto 
(I'm working towards jumping into manual),
 using natural light and they were originally in color. 
I used Adobe Elements 11 to
convert them to black and white.  
The following shot was intentionally taken to convert to black and white.
I love the old enameled latch (white) against the aging wood (grey tones)
which pops with the blackish background of the barn interior.
I used my Canon EFS 18-135mm lens for the above shot
with my Canon 60D.
The NOTES below, I post for my reference 
but you might find helpful ~
Black and White Tips: (From links shared for this challenge here and here.  These links offer more advance information... right now,  some tips above my pay scale or level of understanding, but interesting all the same... one day...)

* To visualize in black and white, only pay attention to lines, shadows, and shapes. 
* Look for contrast.   The best black and white photos usually have some portion of the photo that is near to pure white, and some portion of the photo that is near black.  This increased contrast adds interest to the scene.
* Find a wide range of grays. Having white and black in the image will help add interest to a picture, but if other areas do not have a wide range of varying tones of gray, the photo will most likely look dull.  You can achieve a a wider range of grays by using flash to throw highlights and shadows over certain areas of the photo.
* Use a polarizer. When shooting around reflective surfaces such as water or leaves, use a polarizer to cut the reflections of the sun’s light.  When color is removed from the photo, these specular highlights can be distracting the overall composition.
* Watch for texture. As long as texture is not front-lit, it will show contrast in fine details, which makes it a compelling subject for black and white.  This is why black and white photos of old items such as barns or antiques are so compelling–they have a lot of weathered texture.
* Look for patterns. Patterns are interesting because of their ordered repetition.  Once you start looking for patterns to shoot in black and white, you’ll notice them everywhere: cars in a parking lot, the shoes of a wedding party standing in line, or a row of bushes.
* B&W isn’t a replacement for bad lighting, but it can soften the blow.   Never the less - I've found a photo that looks terrible in color might be saved in black and white, I always check before trashing.
I welcome any comments...thanks for visiting!
Happy Click'n!


  1. I admire your fabulous photos and the explanation of how you altered them. The tips at the end are appreciated.

  2. I would add regarding the polarizer to use it for scenery shots that has cloud filled skies. It really makes the clouds stand out and darkens the blue sky. I use the polarizer a lot if considering a black and white photo in the end. Good you are using your photo program for the black & white conversion. Many people use the setting within their camera which has its limits. Manipulating the percentage of change in the red, green and blue spectrum is still a problem for me. Can never decide which looks best.

  3. glad you posted these tips. last week a blogger friend asked me if i had taken black and white with my Rebel. i had posted a dog pic that i turned black and white in PSE 10... she said try shooting in black and white. i had to get out my book to the Rebel to find how to set it and it turned out i can flip back and forth to monochrome in 2 seconds. i have been playing with the camera in the back yard. these tips are a big help..... have fun and i like the hinge. i took color and black and white of the hinge on our gate yesterday... i like the color best. it will appear on a post soon.

  4. I love that you explained things!! Always needing to learn more things...
    Your shots are wonderful as well. I Too, love macro!
    Happy Weekend!

  5. Your photos are really well done and edited. Thanks for the photo tips too. I am an avid amateur photographer who doesn't know a whole lot about my camera, apertures or lighting but I have fun. Pamela at playingwithmycamera.blogspot

  6. I love what you did with the flower. It almost looks tranparent.
    I appreciate the tips as well.

  7. First of all, I love, love, LOVE your header. Did I mention that I love your header? Well YES! Heck yes! Natural eye, that's all there is to it.

    B&W is great for repeating patterns, and the boot tops make great subject matter. And I like how the texture of the daffies shine in the second one. High key post-processing like that can make those petals sing! And old weathered wood and rusty objects just come alive with B&W in my humble opinion. That one is my favorite. It tells a story. Thanks for putting all those little tidbits of wisdom out there. Most folks think that B&W are simple, but there can be a lot to it. It's an art form all unto itself.

    And I love your header! Got to say it one more time, LOL. After all, I am smacking myself upside the head and wondering why I never think of a shot like that. Jealousy and admiration, all rolled into one...

  8. I absolutely love the flower one. Great job!

  9. Great photos, and thanks for the info on them.

  10. Awesome shots!!! I love the symmetry of the boots lined up and the textures you've shown.

  11. Your tips are great! Thanks for sharing. And I love the old latch against the wood. What beautiful detail! Wonderful photos!

  12. Wonderful tips...I can see some of my mistakes by reading them and now know why Donna is suggesting lots of texture. I like your use of strong textures. It's always fun to learn.

  13. Very nice shots. I like the one of the boots.

  14. Nicely done - I especially like that shot of the latch.


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