I started doing this two days ago thinking it’s going to be easy peasy. This is to respond to Paula’s B&W photo challenge. One attempt after another, I kept on experimenting. As it turns out, it’s not as simple as just tipping down the scale to zero saturation level. There’s a lot more to explore and a lot more room to play with. I can just imagine for those who improve their images using HDR and how time-consuming they do their magic. Turning your images into monochromatic or achromatic palette can be laborious if you really want to achieve the best results. Although, exploration for your options and trying out what kind images work for this setting is such a fun process.


There are obvious reasons with turning images into Black and White. Fair to middling images can suddenly become very usable.




One of the definite benefits of dis-colorizing an image is minimizing distractions. When there’s a lot into one picture, you can shift the focus on your main subject, making it pop, when you turn it to B&W.




I think stage performances blend well when taking away colors.



It’s easy to take a liking to B&W images. The bottom line though is that you are stripping away the colors, and by doing so, it sucks the life out of it.


Especially with flowers and other colorful objects.

A delicious meal doesn’t appeal much to taste anymore as much as it appears more to be an art form. I can assure you though, that meal is art you can deliciously eat. πŸ˜€


You put a colored one beside a non-colored image. Intentionally or unintentionally, B&W images can evoke emotions of being bland, unstimulating and desolating.




If your image is already sad, then you’re golden!




That is not to say that an image can’t remain lively even after modifying it into B&W per se.




The hardest part for me are the ones with extreme light.


The suprising results for me during my own experiments are actually cloud and landscape images.





Lastly, of course, inanimate and mundane, rural and urban scenes, and images with vintage feel and presence are always good with pictures turned into Β monochromatic to achromatic photography.

Sorry for the photo overload. Here’s more…









I think there’s a higher level of decision-making, if there such thing, whether you want to initially introduce an image with color or B&W. Photo editing, and how you approach your image, gives a much different impact or effect, esp. with B&W. Not to “put light out” of B&W but even the images here, the results may look good, but really, I feel hesitant to remove colors from these images. Well, it also relies heavily on the right picture to do B&W effect with. Given the right picture and the right touch (or play), B&W can certainly turn regular pictures into obscure, eye-catching, artful, actual photography.

Previous Featured Bloggers Linkage:

Paula’s B&W Photography

Allan’s B&W Photography


Featured Blog

Don’t take my word for all I just said. I am no expert photographer, I just mumbling my thoughts trying to have taking points for this blog post. πŸ˜€

Learn from the best. Here is the real photography instructor, Leanne Cole Photography. She even provides video lessons!


Last Call…

In Loving Memory of my Grandma…



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68 replies »

  1. Excellent job! These are beautiful. Did you have fun doing it? I adore black and white, I find that color can sometimes distract the eye from the true beauty of an image. I learned in the day when we “developed” our own film in a dark room. I loved the feeling when an image started to come to life. Studying Ansel Adam’s zoning technique will help you with your study in black and white, but I think you have the hang of it. One tip I learned many, many years ago concerning b&w; always develop or edit to find or retain details in the shadows. Have fun with more experimenting.

  2. Rommel, I am honoured and impressed. I have never seen so many successful b&w conversions in one post, and have never seen a b&w take on a cooked meal. THANK YOU. I am sorry I have to ask … is your granny still with you. I like very much your photo with her. Warm greetings from gray Croatia, Paula

  3. Oh my goodness but these are so beautiful! I enjoyed reading your thoughts about the limitations of B&W photography, too. I think you did a great job and that most of the images you selected were good candidates for color de-saturation… though I see what you mean about it making food look bland! haha. My favorites are: #1 (the trees), #4 (the flower bud), #6 (the stage performers), #16 (destruction), #23 (the airplane wing), and #25 (the rowboat). Cheers!

  4. What a stunning B/W gallery, Rommel! I especially love the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, flowers, skies…. I won’t ask how much time you spent on processing these b/w images.
    The last call brought me tears. So much I love, love your B/W photos, I must say that you leave no room for the rest of us to play πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  5. Oh, man, I love playing with black and white. Like you said, it can change the tone of the image completely, but that’s not always a bad thing. You have some spectacular shots here, thanks for sharing them.

  6. It sounds like you’re not going to be converted! I like black and white but very rarely for flowers. Architecture, people, performance can all work well. I love your bowls, alleyways and street scenes so don’t throw out the baby with the bath water will you? πŸ™‚ Great post Rommel and you can never show me too many photos!

  7. I like BW on certain pictures. I played with it some but there are certain shots that without color would just be a blah image. Anyhow,your ramblings are taking us to your thought process, which could be similar to someone else taking a BW challenge. (as in mhwa). You have quite a collection going on there.

  8. Wow, Rommel, these are great photos! Until I started following some photography blogs and started taking photos myself, I didn’t get the attraction to b&w photos. I always thought you were missing out. But there are some photos that are so much better that way. Anyway, I love your photos! And your grandma looks like a very sweet lady! πŸ™‚

  9. rommel – wow!!! NICELY done πŸ™‚
    What a treat and a feast so large. I love B/W photos though I do slightly agree with you that food and flowers leave the eyes bland all of the rest are spectacular! I think B/W photos touch deeper into the soul.

  10. I love the way you have really experimented with so many of your photos Rommel ! It shows clearly how colour is what I appreciate about flowers although your unfurling rose is a beautiful form in B&W . The long perspective street shots are great and I loved the rowing boat .
    Grandma has such a kindly face Rommel – a lovely photo that one .

    • I knew those roses are going to be poetry in the making. πŸ˜€ That street … It came from an old chest. πŸ˜€ Glad, I dug it out, and after I turned it into B&W it became very presentable.

  11. Love this vignette Rommel. I think landscape shots on overcast days can be flipped to B&W and provide some great moods. Devil’s Postpile was one of those for me.

    When did your grandmother pass Rommel? Is this a photo of the three of you at Muir Woods? If memory serves you took your grandmother there with you when you visited. I have been impressed with you ever since. May she rest in peace.

    • Yes, it was at Muir Woods. I also visited before coming to Japan, but she was already on bed rest. That pic reminds me how happy she was. It brought me to tears when I found out that she left just days ago.
      I remember your Devil Postpile very well as well.

  12. first, may your grandma rest in peace, Rommel. so wonderful you were able to visit with her – it’s a great family picture. i enjoyed your discovery/experiments with B/W…and your last thoughts about a higher level decision making – whether to present a photo in black and white or color. hard to decide sometimes…maybe that is what makes the craft so exciting. πŸ™‚ love all the images β™₯ thanks!

  13. Hi Rommel – nice post πŸ™‚ You have been working. I agree with you.. Some photos are enhanced by changing them to B and w and others, like your concert photos lose their message. Fun to do a post all in color now. Carla

  14. I agree with your observations. Love how your landscape and urban street scenes have turned out, as well as the still life at the end.
    I remember the post where you included that picture of your grandmother. So sorry for your loss Rommel.

  15. I love your black and white photos. I am just starting to do more with mine. You are right it isn’t easy. Love your thoughts they are helpful.


  16. So…hi. We best like the photo of your grandmother, probably. And it’s in color!
    But, regarding b/w, might we impart a small rule of Hollywood thumb? It’s box-office poison. No, we’re just kidding. Actually, what we say is, it’s so great to have b/w instantly available from any digital source. And the b/w can then be served up to the editor in a variety of palettes! Then you can work with it in b/w and change it BACK to color again, with the b/w alterations retained, if you want! it’s nearly miraculous.
    From that groovy point, it’s all taste, isn’t it? Speaking of taste, you assert that food photography in b/w is problematic. Some of the initial mass-market books to have color-photo plates were cookbooks! Clearly, color is a benefit for food fotos, just as it’s the overall choice for a shot of Yellowstone Park at sunset. But therein lies the challenge! If you design and present a food layout in b/w, and it makes the client’s mouth water…then you’re good!
    Quoting a U.S. cinematographers, and I paraphrase, it’s black-and-white photography which truly displays one’s excellence. It’s a paradox, too. It’s true that b/w (and the laboratory) can “save” a middling foto in color, as you state above. In some respects, it’s a flaw-hiding or distraction-diffusing medium, b/w. That’s why those old publicity portraits from the movie studios, airbrushed maximally, still have their great and eerie effect. But it’s at least equally true that a great shot–in living color, in the real world–becomes a darn work of art when, and if, it’s able to be transferred, with equivalent effect, to b/w two-dimensions. Color is a supporting element in photographic art. History proves this, as there were great photographs long before there were any color photographs.
    Our finest black-and-white photography or cinematography is, therefore, the highest achievement of the overall photo art, and of its affiliated crafts and technologies. Great photographs exist in color, of course, and more of these every year, every day. But if you want to see if your picture is REALLY great, make it into a b/w print that’s as powerful as the color print of same. If you can do it, then you’ll know for certain, you’ve got yourself a solid photograph. In this regard, b/w is the acid test of your content and composition and lighting. If it’s good enough, it might survive the transition. If it isn’t…? So b/w will always be among the photographer’s, and lab technician’s, greatest tools, in the digital age, even if the photo isn’t finally presented in b/w format to the public.

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