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Black and White Landscapes – Enriching Tones and Textures.

Black and White Landscapes – Enriching Tones and Textures.

tom dinning
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tom dinning

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tom dinning

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By on in Photography Post Production, Shooting

 

This is a guest post by Tom Dinning. Check out Tom’s free book offer on his site.

I’m partial to a bit of colour as much as the next photographer. Blue skies, turquoise ocean, verdant pastures all make for picture post card stuff.

But when it comes to emphasising textures, tones and forms of the landscape there seems nothing like a black and white image to draw out the best in these elements of composition.

If you are still working with B&W film you will understand what I mean.

If you are not, check out your camera and see if it has a B&W setting. This is a good starting point to get the feel for the tonal conversion and see if the shot will ‘work’ in B&W.

If you are halfway serious about getting the best results shoot in RAW and convert using the variety of options available on your favourite editing program.

My preference is for the B&W adjustment layer in Photoshop but it’s worth experimenting with the other options. They all give different results. My second best friend is Lightroom or Camera RAW. There are some great tutorials on the web that will explain everything.

When making your choice of scenery for B&W look for strong textures, areas of significant contrast and strong forms.

This doesn’t mean that these will produce great shots but its a good starting point. Once you get into it you will see there is potential in any shot.

 

25 Comments

  • Avatar of slowsunfunslowsunfun:

    Tom, those are amazing photographs. I could comment on each one, but I find the boat leading into the lens to be very powerful, almost as if the clouds had forced it up onto shore. The two directly above it are also stunning. The picnic table seems as if it is enjoying the spotlight even though there are such incredible sights around it.

    February 20, 2012 at 3:24 pm

  • Avatar of jadewingjadewing:

    I like trying most of my photos in black and white, jsut to see. but most of the time I go with colore

    February 20, 2012 at 3:51 pm

  • Sujoy Das:

    Great photos!

    February 20, 2012 at 8:36 pm

  • Dipayan:

    Great information… Very helpful… Thank you!!

    February 21, 2012 at 1:33 am

  • anaslense:

    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

    February 21, 2012 at 7:40 am

  • Avatar of stevecurriestevecurrie:

    Great images Tom…I’ll be happy when I get images halfway good as this in B&W

    February 21, 2012 at 9:39 am

  • Rick:

    “…check out your camera and see if it has a B&W setting. This is a good starting point to get the feel for the tonal conversion and see if the shot will ‘work’ in B&W.”

    Sorry, but no. Just because an image doesn’t work in the dslr’s automatic b&w setting doesn’t mean you can’t get it to work out. Even for a beginner, you can import a jpeg to something simple like Picasa, then try out the different filter colors in the b&w section. That’s just a matter of a couple of clicks, and the results can be amazing. More advanced users can try out Lightroom or the Silver Efex Pro plugin. I would hate to see somebody throw out an image, or worse, give up on b&w altogether just because they don’t like what they see in the camera.

    That said, the images you’ve included here are quite nice. They do a great job of illustrating your other points.

    February 22, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    • Avatar of tomdinningtomdinning:

      Geez, Rick, take it easy on me. I wasn’t suggesting that if it looked a bit iffy on the camera there had to be a mass suicide from pending B&W photographers. I just pointed it out just in case someone hadn’t thought of it.
      Besides, its the only way to do it on the spot unless you have your camera thethered or you happen to be another sort of mammal.
      You are right, of course. For those who know that might say: ‘that looks crap but I can have another look on the computer when I get home’ or ‘that looks like it has potential’ or ‘Gee, I didn’t know my camera would do that’. Then they would record in colour and do what you suggested.
      ‘quite nice’? That’s what my wife says. I think I might go slash my wrists.

      February 22, 2012 at 7:56 pm

  • cebocurtisimo:

    Excellent photos. i am a fan of the great Ansel Adams and I love black and white.

    February 23, 2012 at 10:40 am

  • wanting to learn more:

    Hi, there are nice photos, but could you give any pointers on bringing out tones and textures? You say:

    “My preference is for the B&W adjustment layer in Photoshop but it’s worth experimenting with the other options. They all give different results. My second best friend is Lightroom or Camera RAW. There are some great tutorials on the web that will explain everything.”

    Could you point us to some good web tutorials? There are many, but which ones are worth reading? Can you give any pointers in PS, LR or ACR?

    February 27, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    • Avatar of tomdinningtomdinning:

      I’m a fan of Scott Kelby’s stuff because I believe he is a good teacher. HAve a Google for his info, videos, books, blogs etc. There’s something for everyone.

      March 1, 2012 at 4:10 pm

  • George:

    Nice article Tom. I love a good black & white landscape shot, and shot try to use the style more often. It sounds counter-intuitive, but I find the post-processing more difficult for b&w than I do for colour shots!

    March 14, 2012 at 5:40 am

  • Avatar of camerasingercamerasinger:

    Tom –
    I especially like the lone tree you have here. Reminds me of the one below
    Dick +

    November 23, 2012 at 6:34 am

  • Avatar of camerasingercamerasinger:

    [img]http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8347/8194132646_40860110c3_n.jpg[/img]

    November 23, 2012 at 6:35 am

  • Adrian:

    B&W, tones, textures… The best things for photography! Thinkin’ in B&W, makin’ in B&W, and you’re right! :)

    http://500px.com/photo/18932169

    December 4, 2012 at 2:22 pm

  • chris stoner:

    https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn2/1264723_10152150687011729_1020334549_o.jpg

    September 13, 2013 at 2:28 am

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