Beyond The Campfire was created to encourage readers to explore the great outdoors and to observe it close up. Get out and take a hike, go fishing or canoeing, or simply stretch out on a blanket under a summer sky...and take your camera along. We'll talk about combining outdoor activities with photography. We'll look at everything from improving your understanding of the basics of photography to more advanced techniques including things like how to see photographically and capturing the light. We'll explore the night sky, location shoots, using off camera speedlights along with nature and landscape. Grab your camera...strap on your hiking boots...and join me. I think you will enjoy the adventure.

F-4 Phantom

F-4 Phantom
F-4 Phantom

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Different Perspective

I love fall...with its cooler temps...blustery winds...and all the colors. In Kentucky it seems like the fall colors are slow to start and slower to develop, then all of a sudden they explode across the landscape overnight. It's also one of my favorite times of the year to photograph.  Oddly enough, even though the fall is full of color, those colors can often take on a completely different look when observed from a different perspective...Black and White.

The bright reds and yellow will take on a brilliant silvery hue when converted to black and white.  Add a little tone to the image to shift it toward a more brown or slightly yellowed appearance and the image will often take on a magical look.

Many times I will take a photograph simply because I believe it will look great in black and white.  Black and white offers a more pure blend of contrasts...removing all the distractions caused by colors. This blend of contrasts floods the viewer with a sense of shape, form, texture, purpose, strength, and power.

Here's an example of what I'm writing about.  The image below was taken just a few days ago as the fall colors along Trammel Creek reached their peak. It was late afternoon on an overcast day and the surrounding bluffs and recessed nature of the creek protected the surface from any wind that would cause ripples that might distort the reflections. It's a nice, typical fall image.

The next image is the same image converted to black and white. What I like about this one is the graphic nature of the tones and contrasts...yet it retains a splendid natural feel to it...almost mystical as though it materialized from a fanciful story line.

I've heard it said that if an image works in black and will also work in color. Where color photography is an attempt to capture things from a normal 'as things are' and white requires a stronger sense of graphic design...a sense of portraying something natural in an unnatural way, yet retain that sense of its purposeful design. It takes a different perspective...a unique way of looking at a scene to be able to capture it in black and white.  Learning to see in black and white will improve your overall photographic seeing.

Try seeing in black in white sometime when out photographing.  Look for those opportunities when shape and form become the main emphasis of your composition...things that enhance the graphic designs found in nature.



joy said...

Wow. I learned somthing new today. I believe i will try that:)

Pedro Luis López Pérez said...

El Otoño es mágico y tu Fotografía, también.
Un abrazo.