THINKING IN BLACK AND WHITE
CONVERTING HDR TO BLACK AND WHITE
Volumes have and will be written about the beauty of black-and-white photography. When done well, black-and-white photos have the power to move us in completely different ways than color. The tones. The shades. The contrast. The way light plays across intimate or grandiose subjects. Black-and-white photos can be delicate or harsh, welcoming or foreboding, smooth or rough, real or fantastic. They have the unique ability to be timeless.
Black-and-white photos are not simply color photos without the color. They use light and shadow to tell their story rather than color. This information is taken from the three color channels that make up the original color photo and can be mixed in any proportion you desire when converting from color to black and white. This variability, and the control you exercise over it, results in handmade black-and-white photos that respond to your artistic vision. Understanding this is a big step toward moving into the world of black-and-white HDR photography. Learning how to see the differences between color and black and white — and combine black-and-white photography with the strengths of HDR — are the subjects of this chapter.
It takes training to see in black and white because humans are very consciously aware of color — the color of the subjects, background, light, and reflections. A black-and-white photographer should ...