Black and White:
Why the catagory Black and White?:
Recently (2008 and 2009) a growing interest has been noted in Black and White photography and it continues to be of interest, and I have to say it is a refreshing new look upon photography in a time where the numbers of very good colour phorographs are increasing rapidly. Black and White photography takes one back to the essentials of photography being catching the light, without light no images. A black and white photograph shows, through a range of greylevels, how the light is distributed whithin the frame. I've set about to turn some of my colour photographs into black and white ones and I was pleasently surprised by the results and am even inclined to say that I found the majority of the black and white photographs to be more interesting than the coloured ones.
In black and white photography you have to make use of the average grey value being 18% grey (the same is actually also true for colour photography). This average grey value is what the lightmeter of the camera is calibrated for. To make things a bit more easy you can take a card with 18% grey along with you to use as a refference to what you see in colour. Using this grey card you can then try to asses which part of the scene resembles this grey value best and therefore should be used to base the lightmetering upon. The difficulty in this is to be able to mentally picture the colours as grey values. This grey card is actually equally as usefull in colour photography because the same principles apply there. In black and white photography you get the best effect whenever there is a high contrast situation, that is a limited amount of different grey values. Digital photography being prone to large contrasts anyway is therefore very well combined with black and white photography. Stating that, you still have to be ware of too much under-
Now there are two ways to go about it:
1 Probably the most obvious one, provided that your camera supports it, is to choose for black and white photography in camera. The menu of the camera should have an option called colour effects which let's you choose between black and white and probably also sepia.
2. Whenever your camera doesn't support this feature or you also want a colour picture of the scene at hand you can take a colour picture and afterwards manipulate it in the digital darkroom. To do this you open the aquired photograph and choose the option for data type from the menu somewhere and then choose either 8 bit grey scale or 16 bit grey scale the latter being able to store a larger range of grey levels. After that it's a matter of saving it under a different name and he ho presto you've got your black and white version of your colour image. This last option often proves to be the better one because your computer has got far more punch to convert colour into black and white than your camera does (it too has to convert the colour photograph into black and white).