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Thread: B&W or Colour

  1. #1
    artistic tricyclist
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    B&W or Colour

    As it would seem there is a high correlation between riding fixed and being competent photographer (at least on this board) so i figured I'd pose the question to all the photodogs out there. Which do you perfer to shoot: Black and White or Colour and why?

  2. #2
    Wake Up America! helvetica's Avatar
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    B&W its easy to do. haha color is a whole level on its own, I think some people have it, most people don't.

    here is a black and white i took


    here is color my friend took


    Ive been able to pull off a few nice color shots with my toy cameras, holga 120mm and my 4lense super sampler. I normally use my canon elan7e
    ibsomeonesayssomethingabootbillhicks

  3. #3
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    i like shooting both. although, it seems like everytime i shoot color, i end up wishing that i was shooting black and white, and vice versa. i think it just mainly depends on the subject matter.

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    Doortrapper popluhv's Avatar
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    I prefer color, because I like the process. I agree that most people don't make color work well. Abstenter's images however, use color to it's full advantage, by paying attention to the temperatures of different light sources. IMO

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    daily rider: Xtracycle nicomachus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by helvetica
    B&W its easy to do.
    you could say the same thing about shooting digital vs. film. agreed, any moron can switch to B&W film. however, that doesn't make him/her a good B&W photographer.

    you've got to have or develop an eye much more sensitive to contrast as a B&W photographer. good B&W photographers are able to tune a shot with white balancing and exposure in addition to shutter speed.

    i personally like B&W over color. but, maybe, as helvetica is implying, i just don't know how to shoot in color.

    i dunno. for all the richness of color available, i still prefer a well done B&W. and that's a nice top shot there, helv.

    two from this morning's ride to work:



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  6. #6
    artistic tricyclist
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    Contrast is key, i like the bikes hidden to the left... gives it an I Spy sorta feel

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    I like black and white generally because I like the control over the whole process and I like the look of black and white overall. I tend to be attracted to patterns, light and tone rather than color so my seeing is more black and white oriented. Not sure if this is a product of shooting in black and white almost exclusively for the last few years or vice versa but black and white works for me.

    I think if I were to shoot color more seriously, I'd look into going digital to get the degree of control I have over developing my own black and white film. But that said, I'm going to bring a second camera with me on my next trip with some color slide film in it, just in case I see something I want to shoot that works in color.

    I think it's more difficult to make your work stand out in color since it is so much what we are used to seeing day to day and we are also bombarded with color images all the time.


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    wild
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    a lot of it depends on what you're planning to shoot. for example if you go out on an overcast day with color it could turn out all grey and very diluted colors. but on an overcast day with bandw you get a pure white sky and that works as an awesome background when shooting different things.

    what type of film do you guys/girls use?

    for black and white ilford (whatever type i have at the time Hp5 fp4 etc)
    color usually fujichrome iso 100

  9. #9
    daily rider: Xtracycle nicomachus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightfly
    I like black and white generally because I like the control over the whole process and I like the look of black and white overall. I tend to be attracted to patterns, light and tone rather than color so my seeing is more black and white oriented. Not sure if this is a product of shooting in black and white almost exclusively for the last few years or vice versa but black and white works for me.

    well said. and nice picture... where/what is that?
    live to ride | ride to work | work to live

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  10. #10
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    There is a time and place for both but to me, a lowly, starving and
    angry artist with a huge chip on my shoulder, but I think B & W is more
    condusive to a dramatic or "art"(?) shot.......
    MC Escher is my Fave-0-rite artist so I sort of biased toward B & W.

  11. #11
    Doortrapper popluhv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by they went

    what type of film do you guys/girls use?
    I haven't shot in a while, I'm affraid, but last time I was into Neopan 1600 pushed a stop, and processed w/ Rodinal.
    Last edited by popluhv; 12-19-05 at 01:54 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member brunning's Avatar
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    i believe nightfly's picture is of the large richard serra pieces at dia becaon.

    anyway, i'm more of a color photographer myself, but i certainly appreciate the very different beast which is black and white.

    there's nothing like a large scale, traditional, hand-crafted silver halide gel black and white print.

  13. #13
    Beausage is Beautiful Fugazi Dave's Avatar
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    The vast majority of the time I shoot in B&W, as that's how I see the shots as they come to me. Once in a while, though, I'll get in color mode and will do awesome color work for a few weeks and then it's back to B&W. I also did a lot more color work when I was really into doing commercial photography, which I sort of got out of after a while (probably shouldn't have, though).

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    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    prefer B&W but then I'm "colour challenged".

    marty
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  15. #15
    Senior Member brunning's Avatar
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    oh, and though i do most of my shooting with a digital slr these days, my favorite camera and films to shoot with are a mamiya 645 medium format with slow color positive film such as the original iso 50 fuji velvia (and the replacement 100f) and kodak ektachome 100g (for crazy sky tones).

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    they call him higgins chrisj's Avatar
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    I used to be all about black and white photography, the grain was beautiful and working in the darkroom was a fun science. However since moving to digital, and I have started to apreciate color photography.






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    Sera sculptures at the Beacon is correct. I love that room.

    Getting good results printing scanned medium format negs on an Epson printer using black only ink. It's not a selenium toned fiber print, but it has nice look all it's own with good tonality and no color shifting. It seems to compliment coarser films pretty well, which works for me.

    I like the look of the older style B&W films (Tri-X, FP4+ etc) although for some reason HP5 doesn't work for me, makes everything look grey but I probably never hit on the right way to develop it and I never liked T-Max or Delta either. Again I just never hit on the right combo.

    A lot of the color stuff I used to like seems to be disappearing. I was looking for some Agfa RSX slidefilm and I can't find it anywhere. No one will process Kodachrome anymore. Not a huge loss for me because I like B&W but it's always a bummer when you find a film that works for you and then you can't find it anymore. Picked up some Kodak Elitechrome for a trip as it's cheap and is supposed to do nice skys. Also heard it cross processes without the yucky green that Fuji often give you.

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    Team Beer Cynikal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by helvetica
    B&W its easy to do. haha color is a whole level on its own, I think some people have it, most people don't.

    here is a black and white i took


    here is color my friend took


    Ive been able to pull off a few nice color shots with my <a style='text-decoration: none; border-bottom: 3px double;' href="http://www.serverlogic3.com/lm/rtl3.asp?si=31&k=toy%20cameras" onmouseover="window.status='toy cameras'; return true;" onmouseout="window.status=''; return true;">toy cameras</a>, holga 120mm and my 4lense super sampler. I normally use my canon elan7e
    On your B&W, did you use a red filter for that contrast?
    I'm not one for fawning over bicycles, but I do believe that our bikes communicate with us, and what this bike is saying is, "You're an idiot." BikeSnobNYC

  19. #19
    ...leaving skid marks turd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brunning
    i believe nightfly's picture is of the large richard serra pieces at dia becaon.
    particularly nice considering dia has gallery watchmen all over the place admonishing ppl that cameras aren't allowed.
    *turd
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  20. #20
    ...leaving skid marks turd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisj
    I used to be all about black and white photography, the grain was beautiful and working in the darkroom was a fun science. However since moving to digital, and I have started to apreciate color photography.
    and what camera are you using for these?
    'tis the season & turd needs a new pair of clickers..
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  21. #21
    Reengineered Core Process donbert's Avatar
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    B&W, because developing your own color negatives and prints is a b!tch. Too many chemicals and too many machines. B&W has less points of failure from a purely technical developing perspective so you can focus on actually shooting instead of all the extra darkroom work that color requires. Also there's just something about the way that silver nitrate looks that you can't ever get with color paper.


  22. #22
    Senior Member soyboy's Avatar
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    i flip and flop between the two, i think alot of current photographers use black and white just for the dramatic arty apeal, i think you can get just as much feeling from color you just need to be good at it, for the last year or so i've been all about color

  23. #23
    i am sure that i hate you spud's Avatar
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    i think the finished piece determines it just as much as the subject matter. they both have their pros and cons, so really its up to you and what youre trying accomplish.
    putting the pi back in pirate!
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  24. #24
    lunatic fringe Dogbait's Avatar
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    Since I switched to digital, everything is color. When a particular shot or subject calls for B&W, a color photo can be converted with a decent photo editor and you have much more latitude than you can get with film and paper developement.... and the results are quick and easily tweaked. This color photo was taken on a bright clear early summer day just after a storm system had moved out of the area. It was just after noon and the air was crystal clear. Twenty years ago, I would have used Tri-X and worked on it in the darkroom for a while to get the look I wanted. Working in digital, it took just a few minutes.

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  25. #25
    Senior Member p3ntuprage's Avatar
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    some of my stuff is posted here. they're pretty crappy scans, but it's the only stuff online right now.

    initially [five years ago?], i only tried black and white for its technical qualities. i was doing gig photography and felt that 3200 b&w was more acceptable grain-wise than 800 colour negative.

    since then i went from occasionally dabbling in it and getting disappointing results because i was taking b&w pictures while still 'seeing' colour, to dealing with it as an aspect of photography all of its own.

    this year i got a second body so that i could load one with colour and one with mono.

    sometimes i'll scan and manipulate something colour to b&w, but not often. when i'm taking a photo i've already thought about whether i want it to be b&w or colour. [although, if there's time i'll take some of each, and sometimes be pleasantly surprised- i'm still learning]

    i guess the most important thing next to learning how to see is to find someone you trust to develop/print [if it isn't yourself]. hardly anyone seems to develop b&w well anymore. [and as digital solidifies as the consumer's choice, i suspect that the mean quality of colour printers will decline too]

    [most of the time i use fuji provia100 for colour duties, but occasionally push fuji superia200 one stop. for b&w i use a mix of ilford panf [50], delta400 and delta3200]

    fsnl
    sparky
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