Black and White vs Color

It’s easy to switch a digital image back and forth from the original color to black and white. Too easy. And there are of course endless variations in effects that can be applied to both color and black and white. I’m trying to evolve some general rules for this, and not getting very far. Anyone have an opinion? For example, here’s a small series:

First image, as shot. Obviosly in color.

Second image, color, enhanced using aa Lightroom pre-set..

Third image, black and white. Also using a Lightroom pre-set.

Anyone care to offer an opinion about which is best, and just as important, why?

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Do Your Photos Tell a Story?

It’s commonly said that photos can tell a story. One picture is worth a thousand words, and the like. Master photographers can do this in one or two images. For me that seems hard.

It seems clear looking back, that I’ve been more drawn to photo essays, which combine images and words. Looking back at my galleries, my very first photo project was a story (Leo and me) and the latest project was an essay (West Coast Fire Training), and the ones in between largely fall into the same categories. I like these overtly narrative efforts better than the stand-alone photos, and when I walk around with a camera I’m always looking for an image that fits into some kind of larger narrative.

The closest I get to single photos which tell a story might be my tango photos, and I suppose that this might be because I’ve taken a lot of them.

Gloria Wright with John Wright, Berkeley, California, 2016.

Gloria Wright with John Wright, Berkeley, California, 2016.

Dehaze Tool

I do most of my photo editing using Adobe Lightroom, with Photoshop as a backup. Adobe has added a new tool to Lightroom called Dehaze, which I found very helpful in editing some photos I took while I was briefly in Wyoming recently. There were a lot of forest fires in the area at that time, and the original images looked like this:

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Pretty smokey. Use of the Dehaze tool resulted in this:



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And some additional editing gave this:

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Better!

Date: August 19, 2018

Camera: Canon EOS 6D

Exposure: 1/400 at f10

ISO: 100




At the Beach

Christmas 2015 at the Oregon coast. This shot illustrates the reality of shooting in the afternoon on a west-coast beach: when shooting with the waves as a background, the sun is always behind the subject! The solution in this case was to go with it and shoot a semi-silhouette.

Date: December 25, 2015

Exposure: 1/2500 sec at f 4.0

ISO: 3200

Camera: Canon 6D

Tango Dancers

I shot this image in Salida, Colorado in July of 2015. Although they aren't dancing in this photo, I think this captures a moment of connection between the two dancers.

Date: July 17, 2015
Exposure: 1/500 sec. at f 1.8
ISO: 6400

Moon Over Portland

   One of my first night shots. I like the way the moon illuminates the clouds, and the feel of the night skyline.   

 

One of my first night shots. I like the way the moon illuminates the clouds, and the feel of the night skyline.

 

Live Fire Training

This photo was taken by my son Ian Bennett. Ian is a fire fighter for the City of Seattle; he also works at the Washington State Fire Training Academy in North Bend, Washington. Ian took a series of photos with his smart phone, including this shot of stoking the fire with wooden palettes. I brought them into Lightroom and made some simple adjustments, with the results above. I especially like the way the smoke creates layers of different color.

Date: October 10, 2014
Exposure: 1/30th second at f/2.2
ISO: 200
Camera: Samsung

Leo Looking Out the Window

Leo is a small stuffed lion, this shot of him looking out the window has a pensive quality that I like.

Date: December 11, 2013
Exposure: 1/160 second at f/9.0
ISO: 200
Camera: Canon EOS REBEL T3i

Muv Yoga

In May of 2015, I was invited to participate in a publicity shoot for the Muv Training Center, a great new Portland gym of which I am a member. This shot is of the yoga class.

Date: May 13, 2015
Exposure: 1/125th sec at f/2.5
ISO: 1600
Camera: Camera EOS REBEL T3i

 

Hawthorne Bridge in Snow

Built in 1910, the Hawthorne Bridge is the oldest bridge in Portland, and is the longest vertical lift span in the United States. The bridge carries over 8,000 bicycles and 30,000 cars every day. This photo was taken in a rare Portland snow storm, winter 2013-14, with some adjustments to help the snowflakes stand out. I also experimented with black and white and a light sepia effect.

Date: February 7, 2014
Exposure: 1/500 second at f/25
ISO: 3200
Camera: Canon EOS REBEL T3i

 

 

Space Between Buildings

I’m fascinated by the defended and claustrophobic nature of the spaces between buildings.  

Date: January 15, 2014
Exposure: 1/320 at f/4.0
ISO: 3200