View Full Version : Do You Like Landscape Photography and if so Color or B&W

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08-08-2006, 09:56 AM
I like where this is going.
My early "landscapes," (crap mostly), were all done in B&W. From shooting, to final print it was fast and fun to do. Then I discovered Kodachrome. Then I discovered Agfachrome. Then I discovered Fujichrome. Then I discovered Ilfochrome. I use color only as the final suggestion of what I'm trying to express. If the image doesn't already have all of the other elements that satisfy my curiosity, I won't print it. Great color or not. To me the color, however rich and brilliant, is secondary to the quality of the photograph, and mostly puts a "finishing touch" upon the subject matter.

df cardwell
08-08-2006, 10:05 AM
Yes, I like landscape photography.

I have come to despise the genre that suggests Man is vile and fallen
and should not be portrayed in nature. I am most interested in scenes that illustrate a harmony of Man in Nature. After years in the Rockies, I prefer - infinitely - an apple orchard. Or a pasture.

As for medium, I simply use what will express my feelings and the data for that image. 80% of the time, it's B&W. Obviously, when all the world becomes gray, usually color conveys the emotion when B&W would fail. It is NOT dogmatic, nor ideological for me. It's all about the image.

Here's a 'fall color' shot of a wonderful scene I look forward to every year. It will never work in B&W, it depends completely upon Color. And FLASH !

Perhaps we can have a 'landscape workshop' here sometime. But everyone would have to love celtic music.

08-08-2006, 10:07 AM
The types of landscapes I tend to prefer to look at look better in color, except in winter. Cityscapes, on the other hand, look better to me in black and white, or increasingly blue or brown and white. Some woodland scenes work well for me in black and white, but I tend not to think of those as landscapes.

08-08-2006, 10:38 AM
Landscape is just about all I shoot. As for BW vs. Color it depends on the mood I am in, and the situation.

If shooting in color I tend to have a very narrow field of view. I don't like wide angle color landscape photographs. I do like wide angle BW landscape photographs.

Why? I honestly have no idea. I think the color intimate landscape is just that, personal, a feeling of moment and place. I don't get that feeling with wide angle sweeping grand landscapes in color. In BW I do not feel this way at all. I think the Grand Landscape is best rendered in BW. Just a preference I guess.

08-08-2006, 11:39 AM
I am strictly a color photographer and as such shoot only color landscape photographs (and is a major portion of my photographic work). I see the world in color. As others have indicated to take a successful color photograph and in this case color landscapes it is often more difficult than in B&W. For much of my color landscape work, and what is frequently most striking or most successful relies on color as the (or at least a) major subject (or element) or color that adds an important added benefit to the image. I can certainly appreciate excellent B&W work as well and seeing such fine work in our galleries and elsewhere does give me reason to attempt this medium again. In fact, there are times that I am out and taking landscape images that I recognize that the conditions would be much more ideal for B&W than for color.


Bob Carnie
08-08-2006, 12:03 PM
I am very interested in Black and White Platinum with a colour Gum layer over top, I am keen to learn this process from Kerik within the next year.

Best of both worlds. archival B&W and colour combined.

08-08-2006, 12:46 PM
I like *some* landscapes, but not others. It's difficult to say specifically what attracts me to some but not others, but I have no *general* preference for either color or black and white. For me, color, or the lack thereof, all depends on the feeling that is imparted by the photo and if the color adds or detracts from that feeling. Sometimes color does the best job, but other times the abstracted feel of black and white does it, but it always seem to be tied to the overall feeling.

A couple of the main problems I have with some color landscapes are over-saturated colors, and the looming foreground object, usually a rock. These once were attractive to some extent, but they have become so common that they now prevent me from being able to enjoy an otherwise aesthetically pleasing image. Color can be very powerful when used by someone who understands how to use it, but there are times when black and white drives the photo and color would just be a distraction. Other times the lack of skill results in a misuse of color, which is like any other misjudgment can be annoying.

To put things in context, I used to shoot a lot of landscapes but in recent years have not shot many at all. Most of my landscapes were in color, and my goal was to use the color for emphasis, but as films became more and more saturated, I found that I preferred using black and white. Now I will use either depending on the specific setting, but I still lean toward more black and white landscapes than color, when I shoot them.

- Randy

08-08-2006, 12:47 PM
I tend to like what I like.

If it's spectacular I like it. Doesn't have to be flashy, just spectacular. I like Roberts (roteague) work as well a some other APUGers.

I used to shoot a fair amount of color landscape stuff but found that it stayed in drawers. Now I only shoot B&W and I print and display it.

I do think that most landscape work would benefit greatly from having people or a human "element" as part of the image.

Unfortunately, most landscape photographers, aren't people photographers so you rarely see it.


08-08-2006, 01:09 PM
I prefer B&W, it often touched my heart. My favorite photographer is Wynn Bullock.

08-08-2006, 01:19 PM
Yes. Right now i shoot b+w mostly with some velvia and b+w infrared thrown in. I like to use the right tools for the job so i carry all 3 types of film just in case. I usually get better results with b+w though. I've got plenty of good slides but haven't been satisfied with the printing aspect up to this point.


08-08-2006, 01:27 PM
I work mostly in B&W because it gives me control from start to finish and I love the look but some subjects just need to be shot in color.

Last weekend there was a cloud formation over the Great Salt Lake that showed horizontal banding of the rainbow. I had to shoot that in color. The B&W I shot that day show just another cloud, the pools and rocks on the shore look good but the color in the cloud was the shot of the day.

On a typical day out I have between 20 and 40 sheets of B&W and 4 to 14 sheets of color. I shoot an average of 10 B&W a day. I don't shoot color every time I go out but I keep it if I need it and there are days I only shoot 1 or 2 color and no B&W at all.

08-08-2006, 01:55 PM
Landscape is mostly what I shoot. I like to portray nature in all its wondrous and colorful glory. I shoot mostly color transparencies, also shoot some B&W. There are just some things that work better in B&W where color would be more of a distraction. (I've seen some stunning examples posted here). I wouldn't say one is easier or harder than the other, just different. It is, however, much harder to find good color training or workshops.

I haven't shot B&W in 30+ years. I haven't shot transparencies in 30+ years. I am doing both now, and mostly due to APUG influence, so it's all your fault! :D I have found much that is helpful here. :)


08-08-2006, 02:34 PM
I'm not as big a fan of landscape as I am nature in general but I do find some landscape photographs to be appealing. I definitely prefer color but I'm very particular about the quality of color. I prefer colors that, in my mind, are more representative of what I am accustomed to seeing with my own eyes in nature.

08-08-2006, 04:14 PM
I love landscape for sure.

This is a tuff one for me and this is only my opinion, not flaming anyone here, so with that said, I loved using color as in my earlier days that is all I shot, mainly chromes, but now as I get older I appreciate the qualities of BW as I have finally understood what the medium is all about.

For me color is more about creating pretty picture as the colors can give the viewer a sense of joy or happiness with rich greens, blues or yellows, but to me color is just that, pretty pictures as people get lost in the color and not being able to see the image for what it is. Color is reality and nothing more in a sense as they, the viewer cannot get pass the color to understand what the photographer was actually trying to accomplish and most of the time you receive, “That is a pretty picture”.

With BW it is more about the vision and the emotion as BW strips away the color only leaving the image and subject itself to impact how the viewer will react. To me it seems that with BW you have to have a better mastery of darkroom skills, to pull off the impact of what you are trying to portray, as you do not have color to help you get your point across or to create an expression from the viewer. And yes I have printed both and both fro many years so I am not slamming color printers at all as I use to only print cibachromes exclusively back in the day.

Anyway, if that makes sense I have no idea.

Just my two cents…

tim atherton
08-08-2006, 04:19 PM

For me color is more about creating pretty picture as the colors can give the viewer a sense of joy or happiness with rich greens, blues or yellows, but to me color is just that, pretty pictures as people get lost in the color and not being able to see the image for what it is. Color is reality and nothing more in a sense as they, the viewer cannot get pass the color to understand what the photographer was actually trying to accomplish and most of the time you receive, “That is a pretty picture”.

well - only if you use colour to make "pretty" (aka sentimental - perhaps one of the most insidious emotions...) pictures

Robert Kerwin
08-08-2006, 05:03 PM
This question just made me realize something about my reaction to landscape photographs. When I see a print initially, I would say that I am attracted about equally to B&W and color landscapes. Viewed over time, however, I find myself losing interest in the color landscape, while the B&W holds my interest much longer. I'm not completely sure why that is, perhaps simply my own familiarity with the B&W process, or perhaps it's just a personal aesthetic. I also think there might be a tendency to tire more quickly of brighter colors vs. muted colors or monochrome.

- Robert

David A. Goldfarb
08-08-2006, 05:49 PM
I shoot both, but tend toward B&W.

I don't think color would do anything for this image, for instance. It would make it "too literal," as it were--


I guess I shoot color when I think the color is the interesting thing about the image. I think of this shot, for instance, as a flag with three stripes, and on the print it's interesting to see the purple flowers in the alfalfa in the forground, which would have been lost in B&W--


Or in the attached image from the Halawa Valley on Moloka'i (2002), I think I got a more interesting contrast between the water and the grass in color than I would have had in B&W.

Lee Shively
08-08-2006, 05:56 PM
I like landscapes in both B&W and color. I only shoot B&W these days but I used to shoot a lot of color nature and landscapes. Bought a 4x5 about 20 years ago and tried to become the new David Muench. It didn't work out so I sold the 4x5 outfit. These days, my idea of the landscape includes urban areas as well as natural areas.

08-08-2006, 05:58 PM
I see so much color work that just doesn't explore the subject at all beyond rendering a sunrise or sunset or 'golden hour' scene with no particular connectedness to what's in it that I sometimes think I have no use for such photographs at all. Then, I see some incredibly probing work, like Burkett's "Silver Maple and Rock Wall" of which I have a print, that I completely change my mind and wish I did more with color than I do (partly, as I've noted elsewhere, a function of being a bit red/green blind). That said, my blood pressure spikes every time I see a B&W landscape...not a computer monitor image, but the real thing. Even if it turns out to be a really pedestrian print, I have that initial, visceral reaction. It's just more exciting. I've no idea why.

08-08-2006, 06:42 PM
I prefer to shoot landscape, and by landscape that means the landscape of a national park or the landscape of queens ny. My first love is black and white, but for the past year I've been shooting mostly color. What Ive tried to do (not sure if im successful at all, look at my gallery) Is to make photographs in color that are not just solid representations, or reproductions of the landscapes that interest me, but more so, impressions of how the landscape made me feel at the time I took the picture (im sure that sounds pretty cliche, sorry) As much as I like shooting at dawn or dusk, capturing the "magic hour" lately, I've found that my images of that nature don't inspire me at all, and capturing images of that type in either color or monchrome wouldnt change my feeling. For now, im struggling with what medium to use color or b/w? Its a tough choice, but I guess thats part of being a photographer.