Behind the Lens: In time...
I’ve always loved black and white photography. It completely transforms a photograph and allows it to take on a totally new feel. And although some of my favourite images over the past 15 years are black and white, I rarely ever shoot anything with black and white at the front of my mind.
When processing my photos, I’ll often work on the image as a colour file before wondering how it might look in black and white. That just seems to be the way it has worked for me - somewhat organically. Similarly, some of my favourite photographs have happened organically. No pre-planning or pre-visualising. Instead, just a scene I stumbled across, and maybe didn’t think much of at the time of shooting, or even until months or years later when I came across the raw file again.
In Time is a photograph that is true of both of the above points. I was planning to photograph a much grander scene this evening in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. However, before peak sunset colour I came across this Boab tree. The way these trees reflect the light gives them a nice subtle glow. This made the tree really pop!
I won’t pretend I spent long photographing this tree. In fact, I only took a couple of exposures before proceeding to photograph a different scene under a beautiful pink sunset. The image did have some nice colour in the original file, but it just wasn’t working for my eye. It was only when I converted it to black and white that it really became an image that captured my interest.
Black and white photographs bring with them unique possibilities compared to colour photos. One of them being that a particular scene can be photographed during light that is not conducive to colour imagery and still produce the desired result. Also, in post-production, I find you can be a little more liberal with the intensity of adjustments that are made. For example, using a vignette so heavy that areas are almost completely black - something that wouldn't work as well if it were in colour.
In Time was another reminder to me about the possibilities of seeing how an image looks if it is converted to black and white. It won’t work all the time, but sometimes it will take the image in a completely new direction and give the image a far more appealing feel.