When is the best time of day to take photographs? Most landscape photography enthusiasts will tell you that there are only two times of day worth considering, sunrise and sunset.
It is true that for color landscape photography the hour before and after sunrise / sunset are the best times to shoot since the quality of light is as its best at these times. Color is critical to good color photographs so if you shoot landscapes outside of these times you will not be getting the best images.
For black and white photography the dominant themes are shape, texture and contrast, not color. As a result of this we are not limited to the same restrictive times of day for shooting. Now that is not to say that we shouldn’t take black and white images at these times, on the contrary! It is very important to remember that a good color image will almost always make a good black and white image, but a good black and white image will not always make a good color one!
If you are like me and you like to spend a whole day shooting then why not maximize your day by shooting for black and white when color shots are not appropriate? What follows are a few tips that should help you get out there and shoot black and white.
RAW or JPEG?
When shooting in black and white, don’t automatically think that that you should enable the black and white mode on your camera. Instead shoot RAW as this will then give you the option to test out a good color shot as a mono one when you are back home. Incidentally, I always shoot in RAW and never JPEG, why? Well for two reasons. One is for the flexibility as previously mentioned and the other is that I want to have full control over the developing of the digital negative. If you were shooting with film on a high end SLR you wouldn’t then take the film to your local pharmacy for developing would you?
Time of day to shoot
When is the best time to shoot? Well the beauty of black and white is it doesn’t really matter! You can get excellent shots at anytime of day even when it is overcast. In fact overcast conditions are one of the only times you can get really excellent black and white shots where it would be really hard to make a color shot work.
In the old days of film photography blue, red, green and yellow filters were very popular and were used to change to the tones that would be recorded onto the black and white film. Do not use these with digital cameras as they will not work. This type of processing and filter simulation can be done easily in post production in Photoshop, Lightroom or your program of choice.
One filter I do recommend is a polarizer. Normally you would associate this type of filter with color photography only but the same benefits apply to black and white photography too, such as deepening a blue sky (which can be made almost black when converted to b&w) and removing reflections from non-metallic surfaces.
The next time you are planning a shoot, think about shooting both color and black and white and if the conditions are overcast, don’t put the trip off. Get your monochrome head on and get out there!
Brian Davidson – landscape, macro and still life photographerStock Images and Fine Art Photography [chasethelight.co.uk]Blog – photography-ctl.blogspot.com
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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