17 February 2007

Working in Black & White

Rocks at Lynn CanyonI don't often shoot in black & white, but there are certain subjects which I enjoy exploring mono­chromatically -- specifically those where the texture and form are more important than anything else about the image. Rocks in riverbeds are one such subject.

I went for a hike with a friend last summer up at Lynn Canyon, in North Vancouver. We hiked down to the water, downstream from where it flows spectacularly under the suspension bridge. There I experimented with taking photos in monochrome on my camera which has a setting for that. I've read since that it's better to shoot in color and turn the images into monochrome after the fact in Photoshop, but I'm not sure I agree with that 100%. It is true, you might decide that you want a color image after all, and if you'd taken it in monochrome to begin with, there's no way to get the colors back. But I think that if you learn how to see in monochrome, a skill which the immediate feedback in monochrome on a digital camera will help develop, you will take better black & white photos. I can't claim to have honed this skill yet, as I don't shoot in B&W often enough. But now that it is so easy to change on the fly with my Canon 5D, I think I'll be doing more of it.

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