Of course, these are not truly black and white, having been shot in living RGB on digital point n’ shoot. When framing a shot for eventual conversion to black and white, or specifically infrared-ish, there is still the challenge of evaluating the color and contrast in the viewfinder and filtering it through your brain, hoping the resulting image will match your ambitions.

The first lesson I had in this area was in the pre-digital days. As wire editor for a newspaper chain, I’d watch as The Associated Press LaserPhoto machine spit out, on a special paper, color photos as color separations. There were four images for each photo and though they were black and white, each represented the yellow, black, cyan and magenta components of a full-color image.  When aligned correctly and run through a four-color press, magically, a full color image would appear.

When shooting through an RGB device, your imagination has to substitute for those CMYK separations — taking it a step further and using only three mental filters, red, green and blue.  Of course, if your image doesn’t meet your ambitions, there’s probably a fix in Photoshop.

Cypress growing in a backwater.
Cypress growing in a lake near the Arkansas Forestry Commission nursery east of Little Rock.
5-24 Cloud rays BW
Clouds spread out like rays from the north.

This was originally shot for this weekend’s In the Background photo challenge, aiming for a little bird in a tree in the background. Once downloaded, the clouds just leapt from the frame.

15 thoughts on “Feeling a little black and whitish

  1. Interesting reading. I know nothing about photography. Usually I find I see many different aspects of a composition in black and white – as opposed to color. Here, especially with the cypress.

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