Color or Black and White?

On February 13, 2011, in California, by admin

Death Vally Sand Dunes – Original and Black and White

For Christmas my son gave me the book Ansel Adams in the National Parks. Two of my favorite things in one book!  Having traveled to many of our national parks, I was somewhat surprised that I had images similar to several of those in the Adams book.  The major difference is that mine are color while the entire Adams book is black and white.

This got me to thinking how my images would look in black and white.  The image above is similar to one Adams did in 1948 (Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park).  On the left is my original image, on the right is a black and white rendering of the same image.  Photoshop and other stand alone applications make converting and image from color to black and white easy.  Many digital cameras  allow you to do black and white in the camera.

The black and white image is a significant improvement over the original.  I think the black and white really accentuates the waves in the sand and highlights the dune edges.  This greatly increases the impact of the image.

Some might say that altering the image in Photoshop is “cheating”.  The book describes the process Adams followed to print each copy of the Mount McKinley and Wonder Lake image.  The text says that each of these prints required seven minutes of dodging and burning.  Photoshop and other such applications allow one to do many of these same techniques in a fraction of the time without the chemicals.

The most interesting line I read in the book was that “Ansel found photographing in Hawaii difficult”.  Oh no, I have a trip to Maui planned for the spring…

This is a great book for photography ideas when you travel to many of our National Parks.  I will use this book as a reference whenever I plan a trip to any of the parks mentioned in the book.