Black And White Landscape Photos

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It’south piece of cake to see why then many landscape photographers work in color – information technology’due south powerful and evocative and helps you capture mood and atmosphere.

And so why practise some photographers work most exclusively in monochrome?

The respond is partly that black and white is beautiful – a semi-abstract, expressive and timeless way of capturing the landscape.

Working in black and white can as well improve your seeing and compositional skills, and ultimately make you a improve landscape photographer.

Let’s explore some of these ideas in more depth.

#i Black and white shakes upwardly your approach to photography

Creatives oftentimes benefit from existence placed outside their comfort zone. If you’re nervous about black and white considering yous haven’t tried it before, or you lot only feel more comfortable with what you already know, then mayhap it’s time to embrace the unknown and learn a new skill.

Working in black and white gives you a unlike way of seeing the world. Instead of looking at the color of the scene and the color of the light, you lot’re looking at texture, shape, line and the interplay betwixt low-cal and shadow.

Information technology requires a different mindset and a different way of seeing. Even if you don’t intend to utilize blackness and white ofttimes, doing so every now and again helps acuminate your photography skills.

Let me requite you an case. What do you run into in the above photo? At first glance, it’s just a photo of a waterfall. Just wait closely and you can see the contrast between the white water and the nighttime rocks.

This is tonal dissimilarity – an essential component of skillful blackness and white images. This is what I mean by a different style of seeing. Black and white make you await at the scene in terms of tones, rather than colour.

#2 Black and white helps you get meliorate at composition

The danger of working in color – and this applies to all genres of photography, not just the landscape – is that y’all may cease up relying on the force of color to behave the image. In this way color can go a scrap of a crutch, supporting images that are not equally strong every bit they would be if they were built on firmer foundations.

Y’all can’t do that in black and white. Stiff black and white images rely on the bones building blocks of limerick, similar texture, line, shape, pattern, form, placement and negative infinite (my book Mastering Composition goes into all these concepts in more item).

Learning to base your limerick on these elements, not just color, helps you create stronger images.

Recommended Reading:
5 Compositional Guidelines to Know in Landscape Photography

Many years ago I read an interview with American mural lensman David Muench. He works in color, only in the interview described his style every bit working in blackness and white with a layer of color on top. Information technology made perfect sense. His color images are beautiful. Simply the force of the composition means they would piece of work just as well in blackness and white.

Black & White for Landscape Photography

Did you notice the textures in the above photograph? The concrete in the foreground and the jetty in the distance are strongly textured. The h2o and sky are very smooth. The dissimilarity between textured and smoothen areas is a cardinal role of the composition. Once you go enlightened of things like this you can start to piece of work them into your color landscapes.

#3 Black and white lets y’all shoot in calorie-free that isn’t ideal for color photography

Color and calorie-free go together. The all-time color landscape photos are unremarkably taken when the lite is most beautiful. That unremarkably means working in the aureate hr, or during dusk.

Working in black and white extends the number of usable hours in the day for landscape photography. The accent is on the composition rather than the quality of low-cal. Light is nonetheless of import, just if you find the right field of study you can oft shoot in harder light than you can with color.

This photo was taken on a dull, cloudy afternoon in between rain showers. Converting the photo to black and white helped convey some of the drama of the scene. This arroyo works for black and white, but to get a good color photo of the scene you would need to return when the light is more cute.


#4 Black and white is perfect for long exposure photography

Black and white long exposure photography has go a genre in its ain correct. Part of the reason is the growth in the supply of 10-cease neutral density filters. Information technology is also much easier to do with digital cameras as at that place is no reciprocity failure to take into account.

An reward of long exposure photography (and this is related to the previous point) is that you can do it on cloudy days that probably wouldn’t yield great results if you were working in color. It’s another manner to take advantage of calorie-free that is not ideal for the color landscape.

Recommended Reading:
The Ultimate Guide to Long Exposure Photography

Before this yr I spent some time in northern Spain. This region has some spectacular coastal scenery, but in that location were a lot of cloudy days during my stay. Working in black and white and using long exposures took the emphasis away from the drab light and back onto the texture and structure of the landscape.


#5 Black and white lets y’all requite infrared photography a endeavour

Let’s face up it, color infrared photography is a bit of a gimmick. The colors are too unnatural to create any meaningful torso of piece of work.

Only in blackness and white information technology’s dissimilar. Leaves, plants, and grass go white. Blueish skies go dark and dramatic. The tones have shifted, giving yous something that looks very unlike from a conventional black and white photo.

There are two means to try infrared photography. I is to buy an infrared filter and use information technology with your camera. These filters cake a lot of light (unremarkably well over ten stops), so you need to use a tripod and long exposures.

The other is to accept a camera converted to infrared. This isn’t terribly expensive and is a expert way to find a new utilise for an older digital camera that y’all don’t utilize anymore.

This photo was taken with a Fujifilm X-Pro 1 camera converted to infrared.


#half dozen To improve your mail-processing skills

Regardless of which software you prefer to employ to process your mural photos, working in black and white requires learning new skills, and maybe too learning how to use a plug-in like Silvery Efex Pro 2 or Tonality Pro. Whatever new post-processing skills are a benign addition to your skillset.

The next time you have a few spare hours on your hands try going back over quondam photos that you lot initially candy in color and looking at them with a new eye. Pick the ones that would piece of work well in black and white, and convert them to monochrome. Information technology’south an interesting rainy day or winter dark exercise that encourages y’all to look at old piece of work in a new way.

This is a landscape photo that I originally processed in color, and reprocessed in black and white a few weeks afterward.

Black & White for Landscape Photography

I hope the ideas in this article encourage you to piece of work a little in black and white, specially if you lot take never tried it earlier. There’s something magical about a good black and white landscape photography. Ansel Adams, of course, is famous for his black and white work. Only fifty-fifty in our modern, colorful world, there are many well-known landscape photographers who work nearly exclusively in monochrome.

Editors Note:
Andrew is the writer of the bright eBook ‘The Black & White Landscape‘. I strongly recommend this book for anyone who’s interested in learning more about black and white landscape photography.


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Black and White landscape photography