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Black and White versus Color, The Never-Ending Question


When I first got interested in photography almost three decades ago I took a course in photography. Back then the photography world was a different place. There was no photoshop. There were no digital cameras and memory cards. I learned in a black and white world, a world with film and hand held light meters. Not to say color film wasn’t around then, it surely was but I learned about photography using the most basic of formats, black and white film, and have a longtime fascination with black and white images and the mood it can create ever since.

For any outdoor and especially landscape photographers the name Ansel Adams should have a lot of meaning. Longtime regarded as the father of landscape photography, Ansel Adams showed the world how black and white images can speak volumes and can create a mood not possible with colored images. He was the master at landscape photography and also the master at black and white images.


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Even though my fascination started with Ansel Adams with black and white landscape images the same philosophy can transcend to other types of photographs, offering a bit different mood or setting. I photographed this snowy egret on the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge this past fall and tried it in both color and black and white. Usually I prefer bird photographs in color, allowing all vibrant hues and color tones to radiate through but for some reason I am really drawn to the black and white version of this image. I suppose the lack of color takes away the boring background a bit and put the focus back on the main subject, the snowy egret. Well, whatever the reason I think black and white images have a place in all forms of photography and we owe the father of black and white photography, Ansel Adams, a great deal of gratitude from showing us just how much one can get out of a photo with just a black and white format.

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