Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Black and white in color

with 14 comments

Click for greater size and clarity.

When is black and white not black and white? One time is in this photograph, which I took with my camera in normal color mode and which I did not convert after the fact to black and white. I used a shutter speed of 1/640 sec. to freeze most of the motion in this temporarily turbulent branch of Bull Creek in my northwestern Austin neighborhood on January 26. Notice how at this split second a bubbling wall of water stood up from the surface of the creek at the base of the small waterfall you can glimpse in the upper left.


The daily posts that you’ve become accustomed to will continue while I’m away from Austin. Feel free to comment if you like, but please be aware that it may be a while before I can respond.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 24, 2012 at 5:37 AM

14 Responses

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  1. Really nice – I like black and white. It allows you to really see the structure of what the object is or the patterns that sometimes take second place to color. Some things express themselves better in black and white. But you always produce the nicest photos. I just love them.


    June 24, 2012 at 8:47 AM

    • Thanks for your kind words, Nancy. I used to work primarily in black and white, and as much as I love color now, the fondness for monochrome is still deep down somewhere.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 24, 2012 at 9:17 AM

  2. I agree with Nancy. There are times when black and white photography allows the structure and detail to emerge, as they have here. Tranquil water almost always is “pretty”, but turbulent water is far more compelling. Did you ever happen to see the “Houston Chronicle” photo of Hurricane Ike at the Galveston Seawall? It’s not black and white, but it’s pretty darned turbulent.


    June 24, 2012 at 12:52 PM

  3. That is so interesting. The last time I photo’d the trout brook down by the waterfall it came out a very deep blue! But it was definitely blue…not black or gray. Must have been the light.

    I always appreciate black and white as I work exclusively in it in pen and ink drawings… and I’m always sad when there are fewer and fewer venues to display it properly.


    June 24, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    • I’d have been happy with blue water. It’s sad, though, that there are fewer venues for black and white.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 24, 2012 at 2:12 PM

      • I just noticed a tinge of green in the center of the extreme bottom of your photo!


        June 25, 2012 at 4:33 PM

      • I can’t see it on the laptop I’m using, but I’ll take your word for it. Yes, there are faint traces of color hiding in this mostly monochromatic image, proof that the camera was in its usual color mode.

        Steve Schwartzman

        June 26, 2012 at 6:27 AM

  4. Nice shot. Love the stack of bubbles.


    June 24, 2012 at 8:27 PM

  5. Fascinating that the color “became” black and white.

    Susan Scheid

    June 25, 2012 at 12:18 PM

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