Beautiful Sunrises Sunsets this week - but I shoot B&W

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Bill Burk, Mar 21, 2012.

  1. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Debating what to do...

    I've sort of stopped doing color since maybe four years ago.

    But recent storms have brought some subtle color to the skies in the mornings and evenings. I look at it in minds eye in black and white and shrug.

    B&W seeing should increase my appreciation for nature, not make me feel like "it won't show up so why bother".

    It would be easy enough to put a roll of color in a camera and keep it ready for times like these.

    But then there is a risk that I would "waste" my time shooting in color a scene that would be effective in B&W.

    I know, I know... I wouldn't have even gone out there if the color hadn't drawn me outside in the first place...

    Really, it's OK. I've been in the darkroom so I'm not really being lazy.
     
  2. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Hey, don't forget using color filters on sunsets/sunrises. You can make certain colors stand out if you use them well with BW.
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I'm a fan of traditionally color subjects in B&W.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. ROL

    ROL Member

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    Do what makes ya happy – only you can decide that.

    As for myself, I'm more than sympathetic, as I have gone through this myself. So here are my feelings, for now:
    • My forte is B/W. I've given up color because of the difficulty and expense of developing and printing myself. I prefer B/W for 95% of what I see, artistically and I can control the process from composition through to printing. That alone is huge for me. Big enough that I now no longer feel as though there is anything to be gained aesthetically by committing a beautiful sunset/sunrise to a color medium. For me, shooting color is a game only worth my efforts when the natural ease of a sunset isn't present. But then I still prefer B/W for the reasons previously stated.
    • There is a great feeling of accomplishment when color can be represented, even bettered, within the pure tonalities of a good hand made B/W print. The game is now afoot.
    • Shooting color sunsets is hackneyed, showing no particular amount of photographic acumen. They can always be spiked in PS and often no one will be the wiser. Yes, there are occasions when, within the 10 minutes of the setting of the last direct light of the day and deepening hues in the sky, that one may feel artistically impotent. I just take solace in the fact that there is nothing I have done with camera or print that is aesthetically better than the hand of nature itself.
    • B/W and color are so totally different disciplines for me now that instead of color film, I'll use a good digital P&S without regret. No worries, it just isn't intended to be fine art anything.
    • Commit the sunsets to memory instead of film.:cool:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 21, 2012
  5. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    Wow, David. That's nice. Here in Colorado we have outstanding sunrises in the winter and sunsets in the summer and I've never really thought I could pull off a good B&W capture of it. You have inspired me to try.
     
  6. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    You should try some monochrome rainbows.


    Steve.
     
  7. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    No color needed to get the glow of a sunrise!
     

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  8. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    An interesting way to "add the color" is to print with effects like sepia or selenium or other "color" processes.
     
  9. kb3lms

    kb3lms Subscriber

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    Or, you could just go with it and make a color photograph. What would it hurt?
     
  10. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Thanks! Great inspiration Thomas, David and ROL. That's exactly what I'm talking about.
     
  11. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Or have a DSLR to go along with the B&W film gear. Adjustable white balance is excellent for those times of day.
     
  12. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Goodness, brother. That's blasphemy, don't you know?! :smile:
     
  13. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    Even maybe try doing some subtle hand colouring of your mono prints.
     
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  15. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Simple, buy some colour film :smile:
     
  16. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    Virtually all of these sunsets would have been boring if shot in color. It sounds stupid to say it but the trick is not to look at the color.
    Look at the sunbeam shining off the water. Look at the silhouettes. Throw on a red filter to highlight the clouds.

    Forget color. Any idiot can use his iPhone to snap a picture of a colorful sunset. It takes a master like you to turn that sunset into a work of art.

    Sunset is all about the time when day turns into night... When light turns into dark.
    It just so happens that you have the perfect medium for capturing the difference between light and dark: Black and white film!


    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Stick People by Randy Stankey, on Flickr Beach Bubbles by Randy Stankey, on Flickr



    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Lifeguard on Duty by Randy Stankey, on Flickr Kayak Sunset 1 by Randy Stankey, on Flickr
     
  17. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    B&W images of sunsets require atmosphere, such as clouds, storms, bursts/shafts of light or contextual/complimentary subject inclusions. It is no good at all for straight on sunsets that could otherwise be exploited to their full potential in colour, particularly E6 film.

    Only two of the B&W sunset posts preceding this actually provoke a response in me (top left, bottom right). The other two are too pedestrian.

    Try sunsets in color on different formats, at different EI ratings and viewpoints. It is useful to thoroughly scout a location beforehand to exclude people, footprints, fences and flags.
     
  18. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    I knew there has to be a solution somewhere!


    Steve.
     
  19. steven_e007

    steven_e007 Member

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    The late Barry Thornton took a great B/W sunset - I think it is in his book 'elements'

    Also Dave Chamberlin in his book "The Creative Monochrome Image".

    I always reckon colour photography is much easier than black and white. With only shades of grey you really need good composition and imagery - you can't dazzle with daglow.

    So... maybe see it as a challenge?
     
  20. thegman

    thegman Member

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    Respectfully, I think the opposite is true. You only need to look at how many people convert shots to B&W, and apply "film grit" effects to see that for many people B&W = Art, and therefore any photo looks better in B&W. Also B&W hides exposure mistakes better, and just generally looks more like "proper photography" to a lot of people.

    But back to the OP's question, I think it's worth at least trying some colour, there are some lovely BW nature shots in this thread, but I do think that nature has the ultimate colour palette, and it's a shame not to use it.
     
  21. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    So Bill... What's more important; your inspiration or your process?

    Is b&w just a tool in your art or the definition of your art.

    Really, what do you want to do/be when you grow up? :wink:
     
  22. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    I just use color film when needed. I do like the B&W photos posted above though. Inspires me.
     
  23. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    Being an early riser it's easy for me to catch the first light. Although some may not consider these typical sunrise/sunset images they are examples of light situations only available at that time of day.

    spider rock.jpg
    pyramid.jpg
    Quinault rain forrest.jpg

    my first time including images in a thread ... hopefully it worked

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  24. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    It did work but I should have put spaces between them. There are three separate images that can be enlarged by clicking each individually if desired.

    Jeff
     
  25. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    That canyon shot is really gorgeous.
     
  26. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    Thomas,

    Thanks. How do you insert the "click bar to view..."

    Jeff