Monday, January 14, 2008

Shades of Grey

St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church (built in 1862), Valle Crucis, NC.

I've been experimenting with black and white a lot so far this new year. Maybe its because it's January and there's not a lot of color to be found. Or maybe it's because in the winter months you see the "bone structure" of the land (as Andrew Wyeth said) and black and white photos tend to emphasize the scene's texture, lines, shadows and form. With color striped away, we look more deeply. In fact, it's common for people to say that there's so much more detail in black and white photos. It's not that there's any more detail than in a color print -- it's just that we see so much more when looking at a black and white shot. So which photos look best in black and white? Look for scenes with contrast -- an interplay between light and shadow -- for instance, scenes with deep blue skies and bright white clouds. Also look for interesting textures, patterns and shapes. With Photoshop (and other programs, even free programs like Picasa), you can apply color and infrared filters when converting them to black and white to exaggerate the contrast and make your black and white photos "pop." Click here to see some famous black and white images from Ansel Adams.

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