Rocky Mt. Elk bull, Colorado

Monochrome, bleah, sounds pretty boring, yes? Yeah I think it sounds that way too. Or maybe it’s just the time we are living in.

Monochrome in imaging speak is black and white. Color is the way we see and interpret the world around us. We are also programed to see a certain way. An elk in B&W is still obviously an elk. When I see a living elk or an image of one I have certain preconceived ideas of what I’m seeing. Certain colors and shades come to mind. In B&W the same image causes a very slight disconnect and I am forced to look a little closer. Shadow and highlight are all that is there and yet I feel a very strong reaction, a connection that I don’t necessarily get with color. As a photographer, one of the perks of thinking in B&W is that those sweet light times of morning and evening are no longer the end all, do all. High contrast at high noon works very well for black and white images. No need to while away the middle of the day waiting for “perfct light”.

How do we get there? The beauty of digital imaging is that all images start as color images. Shot in RAW you make what adjustments you feel are needed. Make a virtual copy in Lightroom and hit the black and white button. You have the monochrome and the color image. Now the fun begins. Lightroom has many B&W presets and, of course you can make your own. So, maybe, that black and white image is just what you want or like, maybe not. Lightroom gives us the tools to fine tune such an image. All it takes is time and many of us seem to have more of that right now. Play is great therapy and, at least in this case, results in more than just fun. Experiment, bleah might become wow!

Rocky Mountain Elk, Colorado
B & W alters the expectation that a color image presents
Rocky Mt. Elk, Yellowstone NP., WY
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