Learning to See in Black and White
We are all unique; we all see the world as only we can see it – our perceptions, beliefs, visions, motives and expressivity are all our own. Equally, our abilities to spend time in the field vary, with some limited to a few short moments at the weekend, after work, or on family vacations. The landscape and nature work to their own agendas; the sun rises and sets, weather systems come and go, atmospheric pressures rise and fall, as do the tides and the passing of the seasons. In short:
Do not expect nature to deliver the perfect conditions for the image you want to create at the time you want to make it.
For years I used to measure the success of a photographic trip into nature by the images I made, and if I failed to make the image I had in my head prior to leaving the house, I would return home deflated and somehow resentful that nature had somehow let me down!
Now, I live by a far simpler mantra – Shoot what is there in the available light.
Before we know it, we have found the first reason why we can shoot black and white images:
You can make successful mono images in ANY light.
Color is the subject in so many landscape images – often-poor compositions are compensated for with the saturation slider – adding wow and punch to the greens and reds to shock the viewer into a state of submission!
In black and white, the graphics and composition of the image are so vital, it tests the photographer – forcing them to be articulate and clear about the subject, lines of flow and balance.