Colour or Black and White?

No doubt this is one of the oldest conundrums, generally long-since answered. The conventional approach is that black&white is meant to be an end in itself (a choice made at the time of shooting rather than an option or fallback in processing), in order that the eye be drawn to forms and shapes and textures, appreciated for their own sake without the distractions of realistic colour. As such, you’d expect most images to work either as black&white or as colour; it can also be somewhat annoying when one sees an image presented in more than one way as though the photographer couldn’t decide. It’s even more irksome when you are that photographer. Today I reprocessed an image taken a couple of months ago, and was struck by how  it looked in the intermediate colour form before applying the intended toning.

Shapes in the Dark - colour

Shapes in the Dark – colour

Shapes in the Dark - black and white

Shapes in the Dark – black and white

In this case, I contend the two images both stand alone independently well, and they convey different things; further, the the colour gives a means of distinguishing the silhouetted trees from the surrounding foliage that the black&white image does not, making it look moodier.


Appreciating the aesthetics of brokenness and decay in suburban Yorkshire.

Decrepit Warburton's lorry

Decrepit Warburton’s lorry


Flaking paint textures

Flaking paint textures

Wabi-sabi is a Japanese concept, an appreciation of beauty in imperfection, seen for example in reconstructing tea cups from broken crockery fragments, contrasting with Western ideals of unblemished perfection.

A Change of Direction

Sometimes, one’s photography takes quite a turn.

A few years ago, I was all interested in large-format landscape work, when a fellow member of the photo-club inadvertently threw the spanner in the works by saying his particular approach gave results that represented how he felt at a given scene. Hang around: how come every LF landscapie I know feels exactly the same way then, if that way is defined by 5×4 format, tripod low on the ground, golden-hours (normally morning, strangely), portrait orientation, near-mid-far, Fuji Velvia film, grad-ND sky and rear-tilt perspective, amongst other things? Having seen that as a clique fashion rather than individual expression, I rejected it and promptly went digital, making a photo a day using overcast dull light to show the shapes of trees in the local woodland realistically.

Last Saturday marked something of a milestone: 4 years of posting a daily photo on Blipfoto. Over time, the idea of forcing a photo a day (especially one as considered and well-processed as I strived to achieve) has become artistically unhealthy and my enthusiasm for the site has waned considerably, so I called it a day.

In some ways, the future looks to be a return to landscape; certainly I intend shooting a lot more of it than I have previously, but I’m intending letting the inspiration drive matters not forcing it by the calendar. I’m hoping to post more often on this blog as well, but using the real camera as well as the mobile, so there’s been a bit of re-branding happening too…

So it was, on Sunday afternoon, with head slightly reeling from the decision, I set off with Dog for an afternoon stroll, with no idea how far or where we’d go except that I wanted it to be a long walk. And it was the longest we’ve been on since moving here, I think – left Portpatrick and walked past the golf course to Port Mora where I usually turn inland and walk through the Dunskey Glen, but this time I continued past Port Kale and the transmission huts (where cables came ashore for monitoring communication during the Troubles in Northern Ireland)…

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Transmission huts in Port Kale, outside Portpatrick

…and with a bit of determined plodding along the Southern Upland Way, the next thing we saw was Kilantringan Lighthouse in the distance.

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Kilantringan Lighthouse along the Southern Upland Way, black and white with my favoured platinum toning

It took 2.5 hours, so probably 8 miles or thereabouts, given very few photo-stops and some leisurely steep bits.

All in all, an excellent way to spend a Sunday afternoon.