Morning photo: Black & white, part 2

Experiments in de-saturating pixels …

Sometimes the world seems to turn black and white, or muted shades of gray during a winter snowstorm, so this backyard shot of a thick spring snowfall seemed to be a good candidate for conversion from the original digital file.

SUMMIT COUNTY — Another session of experimenting with converting digital color files to black and white convinced me that the basics are at the heart of photography. Good lighting, composition and a strong subject will deliver a good image, in color or black and white. But as the last picture in this series shows, there are some intriguing possibilities associated with the conversion. Enjoy the world of black and white.

Not quite black and white ... This would be hard to do in a dark room, but quite easy on a computer.
A wild geranium blooming in an aspen grove along the North Fork of the Snake River, near Keystone, Colorado. I was getting a bit more experimental in trying to emphasice the contrast of textures and the lighting rather than focusing on the delicate pink color of the flower. The original color image is below.
In living color ...
Part of me is hesitant to render landscapes in black and white, simply because of the high standard set by the classic landscape photographers. But this scence, shot at Loveland Pass on a cloudy day, worked well without color.
Once again, texture and lighting are the key in this picture, with an overcast sky helping to show details in the rocks without any harsh shadows. I hesitated converting this image from the original color version (below) because the bright orange beak creates a focal point. But in this black and white version, the wet sheen on the rock really emerges.
This image is almost black and white to start with, so it was only a small step to converting it. Which one do you like better?
Black and white is ideal for highlighting detail, structure and composition, but this image doesn't show that the pine needles are bright red, killed by mountain pine beetles. Try to imagine it!
Converting this image gave me a chance to try out some of the things I learned from the articles in Peterson's Digital Photography guide. Simply desaturating wasn't enough. In this case, I adjusted the color values to heighten the contrast between the crystal-draped grass and the background snow. It gave the slightest taste of what the magazine described as having even more control over a black and white rendering than in the old-school darkroom.
This was one of my favorite color images of the summer, so I was hesitant to render it in black and white, but it turned out just fine.



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