Have you ever wondered why is so easy to get drawn to black and white landscapes? There are at least three pretty obvious reasons why these excel at being compelling when compared to color landscapes.
The first, and more obvious too is that we human beings can’t see in black and white, therefore it ends up being surreal or just different to what reality can offer to us. Secondly, we have the fact that color do distracts our mind, therefore monochrome versions of reality are more efficient when conveying a message to our brain, resulting in a more pleasing aesthetic experience. And last but not least, b&w landscapes simply feel quite timeless to our eyes.
These reasons might be enough for moving people into shooting black and white landscape pictures. But there are some deeper layers beyond knowing what you should do when taking a black and white photograph. And that’s what we want to share with you in this brief list of things you need to know in order to understand black and white landscape photography at a more profound way.
1. Timeless Legacy Quality
From famous to modern black and white landscape photographers, they all share a deep passion for how light and nature behave together when captured in monochrome mediums. Nowadays we have sensors, and back in the days of film we got emulsions. They all render reality in a special way that makes it quite hard for the human brain to pinpoint it in a specific moment in time. This results in a timeless feature that nurtures the aesthetic experience of a photograph in ways we still don’t fully understand.
We could even draw an anthropological hypothesis here. Since photography’s first subjects were still scenes, primly landscapes, there might be a traceable likeness towards black and white scenery pictures at our human behavior level. Therefore, this type of nature photography has a strong visual legacy for us human beings, and we should still take advantage of it, especially when it comes to fine art photography.
2. “Bad” Weather is Extremely Desirable
This is quite a wise fact that you might not find elsewhere when looking for black and white tips. When it comes to weather, heavy overcast days are way better than those with crisp blue skies. Why? Simple, blue skies are boring. Clouds make everything more dramatic, and there is a high chance that bad weather might come in bundle with those dark and stormy clouds.
Technically speaking, light gets better distributed when the skies are covered with heavy drain clouds, making everything more subtle and interestingly looking. Modern cameras just keep on getting better and better, and weather sealed equipment is easier to access than a couple of years ago. So don’t worry about getting your camera a bit wet as long as it is weather sealed. Nevertheless, it is also wise for you to get some cover.
Bad weather will give you the most unpredictable and dramatic results, making every single frame worthy of the hassle. Getting around weather will of course require from you some weather knowledge, and here is where photography starts getting thrilling. But please, whatever you do, keep yourself safe at all moments. Everything is possible when risk is measured beforehand.
3. Gear Beyond Cameras
Cameras are important of course, but they are not the fundamental element of on point landscape photographs. ND Filters and Tripods are a most, and is important that you understand why. Otherwise, you’ll just be mimicking the pros without truly knowing why this is so important for landscape photography.
Neutral Density or ND filters give us the power of considerably reducing the amount of light that gets through our camera, enabling us to shoot at extremely slow shutter speeds. But that is just one part of the equation, you also need to be able to keep you camera absolutely still while performing shots with slow shutter speeds. That’s when a tripod will become your best friend.
This combination of elements is quintessential for capturing nature in a way we simply can’t see with our human eyes. Everything from moving clouds to water and even distant stars will appear as moving flows that give landscape photography the needed punch for triggering such significant experiences in the audience viewing our shots.
4. More Walking and Less Shooting
As one starts developing a more profound relationship with photography, the clicks start to decent. That rule generally applies to every genre in photography, but landscape takes things even further; it demands physical exhaustion. As you start getting more and more engaged with it, you’ll start developing a deeper fascination towards nature, and scouting will start becoming a more disciplined task of your creative workflow.
There is one rough thing that you need to understand about landscape photography. Scenes simply won’t be waiting for you to shoot them, you’ll have to go out there and wait for them to unravel to you. It is also important for you to know that while scouting and planning for the perfect shot, you simply won’t be even pulling your camera out of your bag. Therefore, you need to be willing to shoot less and walk more; way more.
5. The Complete Workflow
Digital photography is a true wonder of our times, but sadly it has also impacted in one of the best things in photography, prints. You simply can’t have a meaningful relationship with your photographs unless you materialize them. Printing is the forgotten step in the workflow, and you should invest in high quality prints of your best shots. This will give you a closer engagement with your own creations, and that is an experience social media and websites simply can’t deliver. Your love for your photographs won’t be the same until you get your images printed out in the best way your money can buy.