View Full Version : Assignment #2: Black and White

01-12-2008, 10:01 AM
"Color tends to corrupt photography, and absolute color corrupts absolutely."
- Walker Evans

Photography started with black and white images, so it's a good place for us to start the new year. And despite its historical roots and its being overshadowed by the ease and attractiveness of digital colour photography, producing high-quality monochrome images has never been easier.

For this assignment, look at the world without colour. Look for the shape, line, and form that's revealed when the 'vulgar color' (Evans) is stripped away, and experiment with the effects of artificial toning added to a black and white image. A good monochrome image may be harder to create than a colour one, but ultimately it may also be more satisfying.

01-14-2008, 01:31 AM
Okay, this is an experiment... and I'm not sure whether or not I'm happy with the result. I went out Saturday and took some photos of one of the most cliched subjects out there, sunset on water. Really, it's all about the colors. But I wanted to see how one would work without the color. So here's one of the more "interesting" ones I got Saturday, adjusted for contrast, and very very gently toned by Bibble's "Tony" plugin.

There's some very fine detail in the foreground, so you may want to click through and view the image big.


camon crow
01-14-2008, 07:43 AM
I have not gone many black and white photos but when I took this one of our black and white cats it made me think it is a good subject for black and white. Suggestions comments welcome.

01-14-2008, 12:01 PM
Here is one of the over-done subjects for black and white. Old trucks and houses seem to lend themselves well to B&W. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.


01-14-2008, 01:49 PM
hobbified, thanks for posting the experiment. I have to admit that it's not really doing it for me, but others would probably disagree.

camon crow, I can imagine that the cat would get "lost" in a colour shot, so I can see that it's a good choice for black and white. My only suggestion would be to crop it a little differently so that the cat's not quite as central.

halfwright, in this case I'd say that it works. It would be interesting to build on this and create a series... (yes, I promote other assignments every chance I get.)

For this assignment I've set my camera to capture a B&W jpeg along with the raw image. Unfortunately it means I lose the multi-channel histogram, but it also means that the Live View image is monochrome. Life's a barter.

I haven't had a chance to look at the colour photos yet, but I'll also try a B&W conversion in Lightroom and see how they compare. These are straight from the camera, just resized and lightly sharpened for posting. I call them "She Loves Me" and "She Loves Me Not." :D



01-14-2008, 02:00 PM
"Swan Lake"...actually I was driving along a rural road and saw these swans on the ice. Since I'm finally learning to always take my E-510 with me, I was able to take this shot with the 70-300 OLY.

01-14-2008, 04:57 PM
While I was resting in my sitting room last weekend, I noticed this abstract shadow pattern on the walls and ceiling. Sunlight reflecting off a car windscreen through the blinds produced this result.

01-14-2008, 05:14 PM
My brother-in-law's farm tool shed...


..in sepia


Will in Tejas
01-14-2008, 05:31 PM
Whitetail doe with two fawns. Taken with the Bigma on the E-510.


Jim M
01-14-2008, 06:33 PM
Spiral Stair Study...

01-14-2008, 06:53 PM

01-14-2008, 08:04 PM
This one was taken at a friends house. I like the contrast in this picture : an ancient method of photography (B&W) vs. new high def technology! Hope you all like it.

01-15-2008, 07:42 AM
I love b&w photos of all subjects and routinly make a copy of every photo I take so I can do a conversion to b&w or sepia.

I think b&w photography is 100% dependent on 'the light'- and there is no forgiveness. When doing B&W photography- you either get the shot- or you don't.

A few recent ones:



Henk Peter
01-15-2008, 02:09 PM
You do'nt have to go outdoors:


01-16-2008, 07:36 AM
Here's my effort:
"All tied up"


01-16-2008, 11:25 AM
"Under Shade"
Basically I love B&W photo.
But to impress them out with a good result there is not easy.
This photo I took when I was under the very big tree.
Yes with color there is not nice at all.
I’m not saying that this photo is good but at least looks a bit better with my skill.
<o:p> </o:p>

Regard to all


01-17-2008, 06:52 AM
Here's a few from my collection... Yosemite, the day after a snowfall.


01-17-2008, 09:18 AM
I was test driving the 11-22 Zuiko in light rain under a grey sky today when I saw this combination. "That looks like a potential B+W shot" I said to myself..

"Go away" said the swan...


01-18-2008, 04:47 AM
Wonderful assignment.

Here's mine:

Hope you like it. :)

01-18-2008, 07:23 AM
My first try to convert a color photo to b/w and my first photo showing to the public. Hope you like it and the conversion works out.


(Processed with Lightroom)

:smile: Michael

01-18-2008, 11:05 AM
How about this.

Couple walking towards a giant Banyan Tree.
E500 with 14-54

PP in CS2 using Optikverve plug-in - I never used this before and some tips would be useful.


01-18-2008, 01:50 PM
Fantastic results -- I love the swan and the landscapes, but it's amazing to see the breadth of subject matter.

Here are a couple more of mine:


high impact advertising

new and old, a similar idea to Viperman's TV:

01-18-2008, 02:05 PM
#1 free


#2 not free



01-19-2008, 01:22 PM
Some of mine

http://www.dpgr.gr/usergalleries/albums/userpics/10088/thumb_P1014514bwres.jpg (http://www.dpgr.gr/usergalleries/albums/userpics/10088/P1014514bwres.jpg).http://www.dpgr.gr/usergalleries/albums/userpics/10088/thumb_PC314479ares.jpg (http://www.dpgr.gr/usergalleries/albums/userpics/10088/PC314479ares.jpg).http://www.dpgr.gr/usergalleries/albums/userpics/10088/thumb_PC304055res.jpg (http://www.dpgr.gr/usergalleries/albums/userpics/10088/PC304055res.jpg)

01-19-2008, 10:58 PM
Here is one from today...a few others posted in review section...


01-20-2008, 09:54 AM
E-400, 14-54, 54mm, f/3.5, 1/180, illuminated by flash, B/W conversion in ACR

E-400, 14-54, 54mm, f/3.5, 1/180, illuminated by flash, B/W conversion in ACR

Just a couple of snaps, liked them myself, hope you like them.

01-20-2008, 10:44 AM
A varied selection from some of my B&W efforts.

01-20-2008, 12:58 PM
Couple of mine. First images on this site. Hope you like it...

01-20-2008, 01:28 PM
I took this just the other day with my e-510. I added a bit of post-processing using The Gimp (Yes, I'm a Linux geek) to create the vignette effect and enhance the contrast.


01-20-2008, 07:33 PM
Normally I would never even try this... but since it's an old guy on a longboard I felt ok about making the scene look antiquated. Added some noise as well with Photoshop for that old snapshot look.

'Old guys Rule'

01-21-2008, 02:03 PM
Took this one just yesterday, can't believe we're in the middle of January, absolutely no snow and +5 to +10 celcius warm :blink: Had to go shooting, sun was shining for the first time.. hmm? was it a month ago or something.


Kaiser Soze
01-22-2008, 02:59 AM
One of my favorite images of my girlfriend. Taken with my old E-500.


01-22-2008, 07:57 AM
E-510 with 14-45 kit lens
shot in 12 Oak Mall, Novi, MI


01-22-2008, 08:02 AM
Posted this yesterday but just saw this thread. Hope it's all right to post again...

Over Tea - This Cafe Life 2008
Olympus E-1 + Vario-Elmarit 14-50/2.8-3.5 ASPH OIS
ISO 400 @ f/3.5 @ 1/40 sec, fl=25mm

Godfrey - www.gdgphoto.com (http://www.gdgphoto.com)

01-23-2008, 02:33 AM

I just noticed that these bi-weekly assignments are open ended....

So, I couldn't resist adding this hard line B+W abstract from a wet weekend in Stockbridge recently.

These curious spiky things are still hanging from the tree, despite it being January. Perhaps they are edible???


01-23-2008, 04:08 PM
Blue Hen Falls, Cuyahoga Falls National Park, Ohio USA

e330 14-54 @ 14, f/8 1/15 orf->jpeg with silkypix developer 3.0 free and additional changes with photoshop elements 2.0

01-24-2008, 05:50 AM
Taken on one of our Sunday morning walks at the farm, during the January thaw. It was taken in color, but seems to lend itself to the B&W theme.

01-24-2008, 08:22 AM
Taken on one of our Sunday morning walks at the farm, during the January thaw. It was taken in color, but seems to lend itself to the B&W theme.

Very nice!

I would consider cropping out the tree on the far left, I think it would be stronger without that, but I like it as is too. :-)


01-24-2008, 10:40 AM
There are more great photos here than I have ability to comment, so I apologize to those I miss.

Bill, I really like the unconventional subject, and like the heroic angle you've shot from. There's something funny going on around the body of the excavator that I find distracting, but otherwise I really like the treatment.

Henk, it's true that someone with a creative eye can find photos wherever they are. Thanks for finding this one.

Michael/doubleM, welcome to the forum. The conversion you've done really makes the white pop, but everything else comes across at a similar tone. Try playing around with different values for the Green and Blues in Lightroom's grayscale mixer, and see if you like the results.

nomix, a couple of your photos aren't loading for me any more, although I can still see them by opening the link. Odd... I like the sepia treatment, but it's tempting to go with a more "tobacco" coloured tone for the cigar photo, perhaps a little more yellow? The RC cola bottle is great. (I love "found object" still life photos.)

pashtet, welcome. I really like the diptych, but the close-up is also really remarkable. (I just wish there was a little more or a little less of the chin...)

Kaiser Soze, the combination of the modern woman and traditional technique is really effective. Quite stunning. I also like the subtle use of selective blur to frame her.

edb, neat composition of lines and shapes. It's a great example of a photo that's the opposite of what most people would take, and it works really well. The dark-but-not-black area at the bottom is so effective that I actually wish that there was more and brighter sky on top of it.

Godfrey, re-posting photos from other forums is always welcome -- it may also let people see it who might miss the individual thread. (Like me, for example....) It's a really evocative photo.

Ddaside88, I have to agree with Godfrey's praise, except we have opposite ideas for the crop. I'd consider removing the right hand side, cropping out the tall tree. Regardless, it's a great scene. I couldn't even imagine it being in colour. Any other strong elements would compete too much with the diagonal lines.

01-28-2008, 09:51 PM
Less than 5% of my photos get converted to B&W - here is one of an old river redgum on the banks of a dry creek bed in the Barossa Valley.


01-28-2008, 10:09 PM
Less than 5% of my photos get converted to B&W - here is one of an old river redgum on the banks of a dry creek bed in the Barossa Valley.

I'd say that my overall percentage is about the same, but that I go through phases with B&W. Some weeks it's all I see, and then a couple of months will go by before I touch it again.

I do find that I'll often convert images to B&W to check their composition without distractions, even when the final image will be in colour.

01-30-2008, 02:36 PM
I love b&w photos of all subjects and routinly make a copy of every photo I take so I can do a conversion to b&w or sepia.

I think b&w photography is 100% dependent on 'the light'- and there is no forgiveness. When doing B&W photography- you either get the shot- or you don't.

A few recent ones:


This is a magnificent photo - It has that something extra in it that I love to see in portraiture. I cannot put my finger on exactly what it is but I just love this photo. It would look good at any size - right up to a 30x40" print.

The light, your obvious intimate understanding of this particular child and your choice of a black and white over a colour photo all add up to so much more than the sum of the parts.

02-02-2008, 07:50 PM
My ever late submission: "The Woodpile"
E510, ZD50-200, TC14

It probably could have fit into the "work" assignment but it's more the product of work than work itself. Of course, someone has some work to do to stack it... :dontknow: but not me. Fortunately, this belongs to one of my neighbors.


02-02-2008, 09:16 PM
A few from a Motorcycle show -






04-01-2008, 03:07 PM
Caught this one at the riverwalk in San Antonio.


04-01-2008, 03:52 PM
Oops never mind, just noticed this is a January thread!

04-02-2008, 01:22 AM
Am a real newbie at this kind of shot so details of shutter speed etc to get that wonderful water effect would be appreciated (So I can copy)

04-02-2008, 01:36 PM
Am a real newbie at this kind of shot so details of shutter speed etc to get that wonderful water effect would be appreciated (So I can copy)


In my case it was 1/10 second shutter speed which happened due to the available light at the time I took the picture. In any case the slower shutter speed makes the water look more smooth than the faster speed. I was surprised that this came out looking okay since it was hand held.

04-04-2008, 09:18 AM
This is my contribution.

04-08-2008, 09:45 PM
In this world of Color Digital photography, why go B&W??
anyway, here is mine..

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2072/1585384576_48a7c339e2.jpg (http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2072/1585384576_48a7c339e2_b.jpg)

04-08-2008, 10:15 PM
Here are a few of mine:




04-10-2008, 11:26 AM
Here is my B&W shot..sorry if it's too late...have been busy and dealing with medical issue lately.
This was taken during this past winter, during a snow storm.

05-29-2008, 12:13 PM
I guy I met once said he was dead tired of Magnum. In his words, it's full of "people who want to be Cartier-Bresson and only shoots sorrow and war in B/W". It has made me think.. but I still love B/W in an artistic way, but also to keep focus on the motive, not the color. And some motives in the former Yugoslavia just screamed "B/W". I've posted them before, but here goes:

Sarajevo from the hills.



07-24-2008, 03:33 AM
I took this just the other day with my e-510. I added a bit of post-processing using The Gimp (Yes, I'm a Linux geek) to create the vignette effect and enhance the contrast.


I really like this one... the B&W seems to be very natural (the original must look about the same). The atmosphere is really good : everything looks too quiet and I expect something to happen (like in these old psycho like movies).

07-24-2008, 03:40 AM
Here is my own contribution to the B&W assignment (and the first time I'm part of this as well)...

These shots are almost my first real B&W and weren't supposed to be converted at first... But the colored originals looked uninteresting (lots of red tones on the skins because of the red lights on the stage)... But they were really enhanced in B&W : the conversion adds a lot of contrast and brings a lot of details in light... Not even mentioning the atmosphere better rended ! Definitelly not "thought in B&W" at first, but it adds a lot to the pic (wouldn't be that interesting in full color).

08-09-2008, 11:57 PM
Ok here is one of mine. This was taken obviously in color and then modified in PP. I added the noise (just incase any Canikon types are lurking!!) because I wanted to make the shot a little more "gritty"



08-16-2008, 04:10 PM

08-17-2008, 08:04 AM
I've been shooting a lot in IR recently. Here are a couple of my favourites:



08-30-2008, 06:36 PM
Two from a recent shoot: (one's not fully B&W)

10-20-2008, 07:31 AM
Here is my first ever post here. Thanks for providing the opportunity for this type of assignment which I enjoyed very much :) The cute model in this picture is a friend's daughter, ages 4.

Camera: E-500 | Lens: 40-150mm 3.5-5.6 | Shutter Speed: 1/400 sec | Aperture value: F4.2 | Focal Length: 108mm | ISO sensitivity: 100 | EV: -0.3

Black & White version created using masked layer and curve for each RGB channel, then converted to Duotones to introduce additional color with adjustment curve before saving it as sRGB, sharpened and resized for web viewing.


10-21-2008, 02:11 PM
I took these in color at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife preserve. The Denver chapter of the Buffalo Soldiers put on a nice demenstration of close order drill on horseback. I think the black and white shows the "old-time" look.

Don Baldwinson
10-22-2008, 07:43 PM
E-3 and 150mmF2
Larger link which may or may not work-

10-22-2008, 07:56 PM


<img src="http://lh5.ggpht.com/J.Photoalbum1/SIEyFGZ_LLI/AAAAAAAAEnY/Aj-hWZENNFQ/s800/P7183496.jpg" />

10-24-2008, 09:41 PM
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3179/2968125696_35f5a8f648.jpg (http://flickr.com/photos/kodiakstar/2968125696/)

E-510 1/15 f/3.5 35mm ISO800

11-03-2008, 08:00 PM
This was taken in available artificial light (ISO 1600) in Tokyo's International Forum as I was waiting for a friend. I was experimenting with a star filter, which explains the weird lights and the Xs throughout.

When I looked at this at full size, I decided it was a good idea to make it all monochrome, to get an olde-tyme grainy film effect, but masked out the cakes and food to leave them in colour. The result is...? Comments welcome.


11-10-2008, 02:49 PM
I toof these becouse the wife has tried to grow orchids and this was her first to re-bloom.

11-11-2008, 05:36 AM
This was taken in my kitchen using a chessboard, pyrex dish of water, a straw and for my tripod kitchen towels and took the shots of the drops with a cable shutter release. Its what you would call a "multi task shot" lol


11-12-2008, 12:25 PM
This is interesting because the thread started way back in January.:)

That's a really cool shot, Helen. That's not bad at all, using towels for your tripod. I've had to improvise like that before, too. As long as it works, great! I would like to have seen a larger version of it, though. :)


12-06-2009, 12:31 AM


Well, this is my contribution.

12-07-2009, 08:51 PM
Southwest exterior view of the lobby to the Elliott/Nesbitt Playhouse at Mesa Arts Center.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2548/4168271150_86855c6e06.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/33946779@N06/4168271150/)

12-08-2009, 05:41 PM

08-14-2010, 06:06 PM
Cypress and Broad Streets, Philadelphia, Pa.

01-09-2011, 06:20 PM
This is a very awesome thread, very interesting pics, we have some very awesome imaginations on here :)
here is a shot I captured last summer
http://thumb5.webshots.net/t/82/182/5/11/27/2685511270106910045rGKYEB_th.jpg (http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/2685511270106910045rGKYEB)

01-09-2011, 07:04 PM
I have really enjoyed this thread, there is some great shots here, here is a shot I took last summer :)

http://thumb5.webshots.net/t/82/182/5/11/27/2685511270106910045rGKYEB_th.jpg (http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/2685511270106910045rGKYEB)

01-10-2011, 06:12 PM
here is a shot of a spreader nearby my home, I always seen it as being an interesting photo shoot :)

01-11-2011, 04:30 AM
My favourite recent black and white.

I love how black and white accentuate the tones in the light.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/phozographer/5331441651/" title="7/365 by phozographer, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5243/5331441651_ace048e41a_m.jpg" width="240" height="160" alt="7/365" /></a>

Click on the image to see bigger on Flickr.

01-11-2011, 04:48 AM
some of the better shots are when they least expect it

01-13-2011, 03:42 AM
Todays b&w. Click image to see on flickr.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/phozographer/5351520778/" title="13/365 by phozographer, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5088/5351520778_bfea2b825e_m.jpg" width="171" height="240" alt="13/365" /></a>

Steven R
01-21-2011, 11:04 AM
Lot's of good shots already posted. Mine are a slight variation on the 100% monochrome, instead looking at a hybrid B&W result.

http://stevenr.smugmug.com/Other/Black-White-testing/OE220033bw/943074501_cSCFj-L.jpg (http://forum.fourthirdsphoto.com/#943074501_cSCFj)

http://stevenr.smugmug.com/Other/Black-White-testing/P3138602bw/943078833_BpYNU-L.jpg (http://forum.fourthirdsphoto.com/#943078833_BpYNU)

http://stevenr.smugmug.com/Other/Black-White-testing/PC257453bw/943079249_52fMe-L.jpg (http://forum.fourthirdsphoto.com/#943079249_52fMe)

02-16-2011, 05:40 PM

Mabry Mill, VA

02-20-2011, 08:09 AM

One of my New Granddaughter

02-21-2011, 07:01 PM
I call this one "Retirement"

02-21-2011, 07:41 PM
Two candid street pictures, shot in the bar/red-light district of Tokyo in available light and converted from RAW to film emulation:
http://hughashton.smugmug.com/Street-Scenes/Kabukicho-at-night/Kabukicho2/1163910179_kH348-S-1.jpg (http://hughashton.smugmug.com/Street-Scenes/Kabukicho-at-night/15538136_3BVAQ#1163910179_kH348-A-LB)
And a "shoot from the hip":
http://hughashton.smugmug.com/Street-Scenes/Kabukicho-at-night/Kabukicho4/1163910553_USrVZ-S-1.jpg (http://hughashton.smugmug.com/Street-Scenes/Kabukicho-at-night/15538136_3BVAQ#1163910553_USrVZ-A-LB)
Click to enlarge - a few more on the Smugmug site

02-22-2011, 07:57 AM
JimM - love the composition but would suggest pushing the contrast more either through levels or, probably better, curves to emphasize shadows etc.

Spiral Stair Study...

02-22-2011, 07:58 AM
Love that last one - the little girl's pose is great.

02-22-2011, 08:34 AM
I call this one "Retirement"

:thumbup: very nice!!

02-22-2011, 12:39 PM
I thought I'd try this. I do love the mood you can get with B&W images.

This is the Split Point Lighthouse, located down along the great ocean rd in Vicoria Australia. I decided to bring up the blacks to give this a forboding mood.



03-04-2011, 08:05 PM

07-03-2011, 04:20 AM
here's a couple. e-p2 w/ 17 2.8


more on flickr

11-30-2011, 03:36 AM
Way out..

roger h
12-04-2011, 09:48 AM
Here's a Hollywood-style glamour shot from my studio shoot yesterday. Comments welcome...


12-06-2011, 06:13 PM
Some mail boxes in rural Vermont.

e3, ZD 18-180 @ 77mm. ISO 160 1/160sec @ f5.6


12-17-2011, 10:04 AM
[quote=camon crow;277704]I have not gone many black and white photos but when I took this one of our black and white cats it made me think it is a good subject for black and white. Suggestions comments welcome.
http://www.pbase.com/camon/image/91607733/original.jpg <style>@font-face { font-family: "Cambria"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 10pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }</style>
In addition to being humorous itís aesthetically pleasing. In b+w the background drop-off here is quite intriguing. -Chrome

12-22-2011, 05:51 PM
Here are three from Griffith Park I took last weekend...