experimenting with black and white a rocking horse appearing to look back over its shoulder at the viewer

Experimenting With Black And White Photography

experimenting with black and white a rocking horse appearing to look back over its shoulder at the viewer

In my website’s brief “about me” section  I describe myself as an opportunist photographer but if  I am blunt I would say that I am a procrastinator when it comes to my photography. In the past, I have rarely – if ever -planned to go out and capture specific images.

But things changed recently when I started to become more interested in experimenting with black and white photography. This happened after I got some really good feedback about my story Photographing Trees.

On several occasions since then, I have gone out specifically with a view to experimenting with black and white.

Black and white photography still remains a favourite with many photographers today, probably because of the timeless, classic nature of the genre.

And I must admit black and white has made me think differently about what I am shooting. I now find myself trying hard to see past the colour and envisage scenes in black and white. It does help, of course, to switch your cameras to black and white mode (as well as RAW!).

Textures, shadows, different tones, light and dark, contrasts, and even atmosphere and mood come into the way I view a scene.

But will it help me capture those classic looks of the past, that I, and no doubt you, look back on and think “I wish I’d taken that shot…” . Time will tell.

Hence the term experimenting with black and white in the title of this story.

Let’s take a look at some of the results of my experimenting with black and white photography.

white line down the middle of a back country road
White Line

We’ve been staying on the West Coast for almost a couple of weerks since returning from our motorhome trip around the North Island. 

The weather here has been abysmal with rain ranging from misty drizzle to outright downpours. But surprisingly a couple of days ago the rain stopped so I took the opportunity to drive out into the country a short distance and capture a few images.

White Line was shot from ground level (obviously) on Marsden Road out the back of Greymouth.

The next photo – Collapsed – was shot just a little bit further on along the road.

Maybe Collapsed is the wrong caption as it seems that all that was left of this shed was just one wall.

collapsed shed in a paddock
palm tree and power pole standing outlined against the sky
Palm tree and power pole

The photo above was also taken on the same back road drive.

It’s not easy to come up with meaningful captions for all the photos I take, so I’ll give myself a 5 out of ten for Palm tree and power pole. I suppose I could have called it 105 but I didn’t actually see 105 till after the event. How’s that for not being very observant?

And here are the last of the photos I shot that day.

Three different subjects with three (I hope) different black and white finishes…although I do seem to have become obsessed with fitting trees into my images!

bucket of bolts
A bucket of bolts

A bucket of bolts is one of a series of images taken in Featherston a few weeks ago.

I had spotted this outside a mechanical workshop while out walking the dogs and returned the next day (misty rain falling) and captured this.

Number 52 was also taken in Featherston. The attraction here was the textures in the gnarly old tree trunk and the vines, and how they would transform with the black and white treatment.

letterbox at number 52
Number 52
Back end of an old Dodge car

Dodge was right alongside the bucket of bolts. A bit of grunge always seems to come across well in black and white – well – I think it does anyway.

And last of all Rocking horse…taken in the back garden.

The rocking horse has been sitting beside the house for many, many months now but it was only earlier today that I saw the look in the horse’s eye, and couldn’t help but feel it was looking at me over its shoulder…or rather over its handle.

Experimenting with black and white has been fun, but I will continue on my quest as I hopefully learn to see in black and white before I take the shot.

All photos here were taken with my Panasonic Lumix G95 and 12-60 or 25mm lens.

Processing was carried out in DxO Photolab 5 and Silver Efex Pro.

As always I would love to have your feedback on what you have seen, so please feel free to leave a comment below.

experimenting with black and white a rocking horse appearing to look back over its shoulder at the viewer
Rocking horse

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