Just a quick random thought on B&W.

One of my favorite quotes is attributed to Ansel Adams, “Color is about color. Black and White is about everything else.”

The original image had a beautiful pink sunset glow and the color was picked up in the rocks and clouds. As I began to process the image I noticed the soft shadows and soft highlights, my mindset shifted immediately to thinking in terms of a B&W interpretation, using the dodge tool to brighten the sunlit parts of the rocks and the burn tool to darken the soft shadows to increase depth and to shape the light. I also burned in the dark patch between the lit foreground and side lit formations to increase the sense of depth, as well as randomly burning/ dodging the light in the bottom right corner to add mood and create balance.

A digital grad was used to slightly darken the top of the sky. Contrast was increased globally, then masked out in specific areas. The Orton Lights command was used from the Tony Kuyper luminosity actions to add glow to the highlights only. Finally, I increased the “whites” slider to add the final contrast punch.

Compared to the original image, the efficacy and power of B&W is apparent. I’ve been asked, as many of us have, when to shoot color and when to shoot for B&W. 

To me, and to paraphrase Ansel Adams, “Unless Color is the subject, I’ll opt for B&W or infrared.” 

B&W processing and personal interpretation are covered in our Visual Artistry Workshops

Here is our latest Visual Artistry Newsletter

Have a great Holiday Season and we’ll see ya online!


p.s. Our last Ellis Island Photo Tour for 2017 is on Dec. 10. Email for more info.

p.p.s. Please check out our latest eBook, “Creative Techniques and the Art of Self Expression”