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  1. #1
    Markok765's Avatar
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    Meant for black and white?

    Hey all,

    I grew up shooting black and white film(i'm 19 now) and now, irregardless of if i shoot film or digital, I can't for the life of me shoot a good colour photo. All the while I can take good BWs all day long.

    I don't know if this is something ingrained in me now, or what. Whats your take? Do you find this to be true too? I don't look at light as much now that I've been shooting colour, need to get back to that.
    Marko Kovacevic
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  2. #2
    Roger Cole's Avatar
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    It's a very different kind of seeing. My rule of thumb (borrowed from Bruce Barnbaum's book which I know many don't like but I think Bruce has the right idea here) is to shoot color where color is an integral part of the scene, black and white otherwise.

    It can be very helpful to take the same shot, or as close as possible to the same, in both black and white and color. While you're at it, take the same shot in black and white several times with different colored filters, and use the color shot to remind yourself of colors in the scene and how the filters affect their tonal renderings in black and white. It's one thing to read it and even see published examples, another to see what it does with your own materials in your own style of photography.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Markok765 View Post
    I can't for the life of me shoot a good colour photo. All the while I can take good BWs all day long..
    Interesting. I've always felt that shooting B&W was more difficult than shooting color.

  4. #4
    LJH
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    Marko,

    I find the same thing!

    I've decided that it's due to my red/green "colourbindness". Regardless, I don't fight it. IMO, the vast majority of photos taken (regardless of technology) are in colour. As such, if I can produce a killer B&W shot, it will stand out form the crowd. And I think that there is some kind of subliminal connection between B&W and "fine art"...

  5. #5
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    If you can shoot Black & White well you can shoot color well.
    If you can shoot color well you may not necessarily shoot Black & White well.

    Ansel Adams shot both but he preferred Black & White because he could do more with it.
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  6. #6
    Terry Christian's Avatar
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    When presented with what my brain recognizes as a potential image, I ask myself what it is about the scene that attracts me. Is it the hues of color present? Then I shoot it in color. Is it the geometric pattern or the contrast? Then I shoot it in B&W.
    I also wholeheartedly agree with Roger Cole's suggestions above.

  7. #7
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Too many people shoot color...too few use color as an element of composition and as an element of emotion.

    I have the book Ansel Adams in Color. Some images work well. The ones that usually do not work as well are where he set up for a B&W image and then decided to also shoot a sheet of color -- the cover is a classic example. It is not the color that will make an image, it will be the use of color that will.
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Cole View Post
    It's a very different kind of seeing. My rule of thumb (borrowed from Bruce Barnbaum's book which I know many don't like but I think Bruce has the right idea here) is to shoot color where color is an integral part of the scene, black and white otherwise.

    It can be very helpful to take the same shot, or as close as possible to the same, in both black and white and color. While you're at it, take the same shot in black and white several times with different colored filters, and use the color shot to remind yourself of colors in the scene and how the filters affect their tonal renderings in black and white. It's one thing to read it and even see published examples, another to see what it does with your own materials in your own style of photography.
    Exactly, what I learned was that the subject of a color photograph is the color itself. It's not an accident that professional photographers use a monochrome viewing filter to compose a photograph. By stripping away the color you see form, light. shadow, texture, etc that might have been missed.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  9. #9

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    Sometimes color just doesn't add anything to the image. In fact, it can distract from it. The key is to know when to use color instead of B&W and vice versa.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old-N-Feeble View Post
    Sometimes color just doesn't add anything to the image. In fact, it can distract from it. The key is to know when to use color instead of B&W and vice versa.
    Interesting question. I've found that I should shoot color when color is important in the scene; for example, a colorful blouse or a painted pipe. Otherwise, color contributes little and may be distracting, so B&W will be fine. Or, to put it differently:

    Shoot color when color is the subject. Otherwise, shoot black and white.

    Mark Overton

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