I always shoot in colour and leave decisions about which images might work well in B&W until I am back home in front of the computer. There are many reasons to convert to B&W: to create mood or atmosphere, to manipulate the tonal range, to produce an interpretation, or because ‘colour’ in the original scene may add little to the image.
These two images taken about two minutes apart fall into that last category. In the first there are two elements of colour that I felt were important: the hut on the left of the image, and the snowboarder in a camouflage jacket. Those were significant elements and de-saturating the image would have diluted their contribution to the composition.
The second image was taken slightly earlier (it isn’t the same snowboarder, by the way) and the image didn’t really have any significant colour. The snowboarder’s jacket is brown. A skier, the second figure in from the right edge, has red trousers but their stance is not that of a confident skier. I felt that colour contributed little to this image. The image was about tonal range, and a silhouette.
These are personal judgements of course, and decisions about B&W conversions will always be based on our preferences. There are no rules. One of the benefits of the digital era is that a single click will convert an image to B&W. It’s not the best way to manage conversions but it will give you a glimpse of whether to proceed with the idea, and it can be undone in a single click too.
Winter suits B&W, and here in the UK we have snow thanks to a huge blast of cold air from Siberia, nicknamed ‘The Beast from the East’. Something strange is going on in the stratosphere apparently. We get frightfully excited by snow over in the UK. Schools close, the trains stop running. Chaos rules. West Sussex seems to have escaped the worst of the snow which is good, but sad photographically. But it’s not over yet…
Click on an image to see a higher quality enlargement.