Photo Blogging Challenge – Black and White (August 2016)

I haven’t done much black and white photography. But that changed thanks to this month’s photo blogging challenge. I switched my digital camera to monotone mode; that camera processes the jpg files in black and white while leaving me with full colour RAW files for blogging, tweeting, etc. The other result from changing the picture mode to monotone is that everything seen through the EVF and on the LCD screen is in black and white. That really helped me focus on shape, form, lines, patterns, textures and other sources of tonal contrast – elements of composition that become particularly important when colour isn’t part of the equation. The biggest thing I learned by doing this is that viewing a composition in black and white makes for stronger compositions; I think I’ll use this mode on a semi-regular basis.

1. Black and white film – I haven’t done much film photography, so this month’s theme prompted me to shoot two rolls of black and white film in two different cameras. The logistics of getting the film developed and scanned turned out to be way more complicated than I anticipated; I had to send one roll all the way to Toronto! I’ll share more details about my adventures in film photography in a couple of blog posts early next month. This is one of my favourite film photos, taken with the Olympus Trip 35 camera that Mr. GeoK bought in 1970 while visiting Japan on a childhood family trip. With low cloud obscuring the surrounding mountains and a gentle wind kicking up parallel lines of wavelets, this wide spot on the Bow River near Canmore took on the appearance of a mountain lake.


2. Mountain panorama – Even though we didn’t summit Mount Niles, at a couple of spots on the hike from Sherbrooke Lake to Niles Col it seemed like we were on top of the world, including this moment when K came over a rise on the shoulder of Mount Niles. Lightroom version 6 makes stitching panoramas almost painless; this one is based on six separate photographs and looks down the valley between Mount Niles (on the left) and Mount Ogden (on the right), carved out glaciers and Sherbrooke Creek.


3. Cool, clear water – Thanks to all the rain we had last month, the water in Three Sisters Creek was cloudy early this month. But it was absolutely clear one day later in the month, so we spent an hour or two photographing some of the many waterfalls and cascades along the creek. This little twin cascade, where water tumbles over a log (as well as boulders), is one of my favourites.


4. Canmore squirrel – Black and white is a great way to compensate for otherwise blown highlights and clipped shadows. I almost didn’t take this shot because the squirrel was so badly backlit, but it sat there for so long, ignoring me in favour of a tasty pine cone, that I finally decided it was worth a try. I had to move the highlights slider pretty far to the left but that seems to work better in black and white than it does on colour images.


5. Mount Stanley – We took some friends hiking to Stanley Glacier in Kootenay National Park and I was so busy chatting that I didn’t take many photographs. And I’m not very happy with the ones I did take. I guess that means I was immersed in the experience rather than preoccupied with photographing the hike so I’ve got my priorities straight! From this spot on down was the most challenging part of the trail with lots of loose rock and plenty of switchbacks.


Please click on through to A ‘lil Hoohaa for the link-up to all the rest of the black-and-white participants. I treat this photo blogging challenge as a month-long photo assignment, which makes it pretty low stress. New participants are welcome to join the photo blogging challenge any time. Will you join us? The next theme will be announced here on the 1st of the month.

11 thoughts on “Photo Blogging Challenge – Black and White (August 2016)

  1. FILM? What is this film of which you speak? 🙂

    I used to try and do some film every once in a while, especially with my Holga. Alas, it became so hard and so expensive to shoot film that I decided it was time to move on. I still have a couple of film cameras though, so one never knows!

    Great shots this month. I always love your nature shots!

  2. WOW.. all your photos are amazing! You have done a great job with B&W and the film shot too. I almost want to use my film camera again, but I’m scared I won’t be able to get anything now, as I’ve been too spoilt with digital technology. I like how you chose to see your shots in B&W prior to taking them, I did this too, i think it really helped us to balance out tones and textures. I love the smooth flowing water shot and the squirrel too.

  3. These are fantastic! The first photo could be a awesome painting hanging in someone’s house. I’m just memorized by it. The others are also fantastic, great shots of how beautiful this world we live in is.

  4. I’m with Lisa love the creek and squirrel . . . I also need to learn how to do the monotone mode as currently I photograph in colour and then in processing change to B&W however it does mean you then don’t truly see the texture at time of taking. However my Monochrome mode doesn’t as far as I’m aware enable me to have a colour version. Off to investigate, well I will once I get new camera as in middle of changing.

    Apologies I’ve waffled! Great post 🙂

  5. katherinez

    Holy cow that second one WOW WOW WOW. That is probably one of my favorites of all the pictures you have posted. And the squirrel is crazy good. You were able to zoom in so close!

    1. I find film tough…have to bring my digital camera along to act as my light meter, so it’s really about the softness of film images, I guess. And there’s something about waiting for it to be developed and printed/scanned…

  6. The Three Sisters Creek is a stunning shot! I love the depth in the shades of black and white. And the detail of the squirrel comes out beautifully in your converted photo. Nicely done!

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