March 9, 2013

A Personal Photo Challenge - Black and White Photography

It’s time for A Personal Photo Challenge! "Black and white photography" is the very first theme out of the starting block for this new challenge series.

A black and white image is visual communication without the distraction of color. Light, texture, and contrast take center stage. Simplicity is automatically added to bring focus to the subject. I don't think that some images make good candidates for black and white presentation. But others can truly sing!

For this challenge, I converted all of my original images with the assistance of Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 software plug-in for Photoshop.  Color versions of the images are also provided below for comparison. 

My first photo is a landscape that I have previously posted. The original image is already monochromatic, with green hues proudly proclaiming their presence to a viewer. But do you remember the adage of “you can’t see the forest for the trees?” In this case, you can’t see the forest for the color green!

Tracey Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness, Alaska
f/9.0, 1/125 second, ISO 640

A black and white conversion changes the entire mood, and now the shape of the trees is enhanced.

My second photo is a flower macro and also previous posted. The colors are quite delicious, but they also distract from the flower’s center.

f/13.0, 1/6 second, ISO 800

A black and white conversion redefines the subject. The petals now enhance the center with converging lines and don’t compete with the pistil and stamen.

My last photo in the challenge is one of my favorite architectural features, a window. This scene is not very colorful, so it’s not obvious that it can change much with a black and white treatment.

Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada
f/10.0, 1/320 second, ISO 250

However, I used a little post-processing magic to dramatically darken the sky (via application of a red filter) and enhanced the wood siding’s texture. It looks like it could have been captured in moonlight glow instead of late morning sun.

Now that you’ve seen my photos and read my post, I hope you will hop over to A Personal Photo Challenge blog and check out the creative efforts of other participants! Pretty please with sugar on top? Thank you so much!


  1. Oh wow Donna! These all take on a much different "story" when changed to black and white! Love them!!
    Thank you for hosting this Challenge! Like I told Miz Brenda, I was getting SO lazy with my camera as of late...
    Happy Weekend!

  2. I should have read your post first. It might have helped me in my humble efforts. You poor girl. Having to look at my stuff. Ha! Now you know the life of a teacher. I see what you mean about the flower photo...if one really wanted to see the structure of the flower, the black and white would be the way to go. Don't see the value for black and white in the first photo as it's already plenty moody. I do like the "moonglow" of the final photo.

  3. Love the first one. The difference is so dramatic. It completely changes the feel of the photo in b/w.

    Thanks for hosting this. It's gonna be fun!


  4. Love these Donna. So glad we're back into challenges!
    Thank you and MsBrenda! :)


  5. These are great examples of black and white photo conversions. I'll be joining up and I thank you for hosting Donna. Pamela

  6. I love the effect of the darker sky on the last photo. That is an amazing transformation. I need to practice more with other photos! Very nice post and good challenge. It really made me think!

  7. These are wonderful shots in B&W and color! I love the way the wood stands out in your last photo, didn't notice it much in the color version. This is a wonderful post!

  8. I have learned a lot from your colour and B&W photos simply from you explaining how the focus on the photo, or parts of it can change.
    Thanks for hosting Donna, I am picking up some good pointers from the experienced photographers.

  9. i really like the first and last edits. nice!

  10. I don't know which one I like best. Each has its own special flavor.
    Thank you for hosting this photo challange. I got a late start but is is so much fun!

  11. Beautiful, beautiful. I loved this challenge! You always do such wonderful work.

  12. You do show a good comparison and how emotions change with the black and white. They seem to bring more clarity to me!

  13. Such beautiful photos! It's amazing how much changing a photo to black and white can really make it pop! Love them!

  14. Hi Donna, I'm new here and loving this. Found you via Pamela G. who takes fabulous photos.
    If I can get a post up before the day's out I'll join in.

    Thanks for inspiring us - photography is so much fun and there's always something new to learn and appreciate from what is captured by our lens.

    Mary - A Breath of Fresh Air

  15. all three are amazing. Changing a photo to black and white makes such a difference. I love color but a black and white always looks so much more dramatic to me

  16. I need to apologize Donna as I became ill and unable to participate at this time... thanks for inviting me...would love to participate when feeling better.

  17. Thanks for stopping by and enjoying the penguins in Antarctica Donna. I have done a post for your b/w challenge - hope you like it!

    Happy weekend - Mary

  18. Oh wow those trees take on a whole new feel in black and white. I would never eve of imagined looking at a flower in B & W before this challenge. It's opened me up - love your flower, makes you really look at the details.
    Love Leanne

  19. These are lovely photos, Donna. I like the different mood and emphasis given when they are converted to black and white. I've been enjoying the other participants' photos as well. Maybe next time I'll join in.

  20. Donna
    Now I know why I was seeing so many b&w photos!
    I do love the old fashioned look with no color.
    But you could never capture the beauty of the wilderness without the color
    of those trees.
    I'm sorry I missed your party. I hope I can join you next time!

  21. Oh what drama you've created here - of course, those were all wonderful shots in the first place. Nicely done.


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