Black and White Photography & Photoshop Use

Gnarled Tree in Lavafield in Oregon - This photo was taken this past summer 2006 with a digital Olympus c-7000.  I used a polarizing filter when shooting but have not altered the original image in any way.  The black and white contrast reminds me of what Ansel Adams was able to capture.  I hope you like it!
United States
January 22, 2007 5:13pm CST
I use a compact digital camera when shooting these days, but I prefer using an old school SLR with a tripod and good professional film. I was very pleased with it when I took it and it remains one of my finest photos taken digitally. I am strongly against altering an image with photoshop unless it is warranted (for example in the case of restoring antique images). I am interested in what you think of this image and also what you think about using photo programs such as photoshop. Indeed there is an art to photoshop, but is it as unigue and therefore as worty of merit as an original photograph?
7 people like this
17 responses
1 Feb 07
i always use something that is like photoshop, and i use it to change the colours - usually to sepia or black and white
1 person likes this
1 Feb 07
isn't that program "gimp" which i mentioned about. photoshop is a very powerful tool, so is gimp. (i haven't got gimp installed but i've seen people create amazing pictures with it) i also love black and white photos. ~Joey
23 Jan 07
I really like this photo. I think photographers show their real talent when taking simple black and white shots. Personally, I love the colourful nature that surrounds us, so I usually take photos that reflect the beautiful colours. However, I also like black and whites, but mainly for human subjects. I read this once: "Normal shots show the colour of your clothes, black and white shots show the colour of your soul." The real, most beautiful shots in my opinion are simple in nature. It shows what I like to think as "true talent". As for Photoshop... Yes and no. If you don't have a good photo from the start, it's very hard to turn it into anything worthwhile. Editing a photo is another talent. Taking a photo requires the right kind of light, exposure, angle, and many other things. To change the colours, or recut it, takes a different kind of mind. Because I like strong colours, I will sometimes change them to they're brighter... Sometimes I like to turn my photos black and white. Resizing and changing the frame is the most common thing I'll do in Photoshop. Although it may or may not add to the photo as a whole, it's certainly not the same thing as taking the shot in the first place. And anyway, it's so much cooler when you use a traditional camera. You feel so powerfully antique, old and original.
1 person likes this
23 Jan 07
I have to admit I love black and white photography but find it very expensive. Now of course with the age of digital cameras we can just make anything black and white and the results are still quite profound. I use psp paintshoppro. CorelPaint. I love my psp its like a virtual best friend. Lots of free filters out there as well that can add some really curious or strange things to your photo's.
• Australia
23 Jan 07
Yes the photo is very Ansel Adams style. I dont think there is anything wrong with using photoshop to enhance photos especially when it comes to digital photography. Sometimes a digital camera cannot capture things correctly, bypassing whatever skill you have as a photographer. I find its best to take photos in color then convert them to black and white in photoshop. NOT by using convert to grayscale mind you. There are several good methods of converting a photo to black and white in photoshop. Do you not think using photoshop is any different to using a darkroom? If you were manipulating objects in photoshop to make your photo look better than I would disapprove unless you were doing photo manipulation art. Otherwise I dont see anything wrong with changing tones, contrast etc with photoshop.
• United States
23 Jan 07
All very valid points and I hear you completely. I guess I'm just a purist when it comes to the satisfaction of producing an image - i like to have to work for it and get lucky from time to time, even if it is more costly and time consuming. Believe me, I use a digital camera all the time now (it's been over a year since I even touched my old school SLR - it comes with me on all backpack trips into the wild), but sometimes I really miss even setting up the tripod. Heck, one time at a festival at a local ranch, I set up a tripod, opened the shutter and left it there under a moonlit night for a good ten minutes while I boogied down to some good music. The eventual photograph was quite exceptional. I just don't make the time anymore, nor have I seen a digital camera on a tripod - I don't think I would not unless I went to photography school or knew someone who made a living off of photography. Thanks again for your input!
• Canada
23 Jan 07
The picture is a very nice one . I have just started getting into black and white pictures . I never liked them before but there is just something different I see in one now when I look at it . Can't really explain what I am trying to say but anyways I do enjoy the black and white photo's . I do use all the different photo programs out there and really enjoy using them . I was able to turn some of my colored photo's into a black and white and really liked the effect it made on the picture . Although it may be true that it not the original half the time if you don't tell someone they don't know the difference anyway .
1 person likes this
@pendragon (3354)
• United States
23 Jan 07
If i use an altering program on a photo it's usually something big, and distinctly visible as altered, I don't try to make realistic looking changes, i go all out and put colour all over everything,or add words, etc.I use a digital and never got used to handling 35 mm film, though I'd still love to learn!
1 person likes this
@amitavroy (4826)
• India
23 Jan 07
well i am also much interested in photography and i think bw pics have a relly nice effect. although they dnt have colos, but still they dnt look incomplete and that is so nie. the gray color give a nice dept to the pictires i think and with slrs life is so good.
1 person likes this
• Italy
23 Jan 07
I love black and white photos and I don t like to use photoshop...
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Jan 07
Well, don't have to alter the original and there things you can do with photoshop just to have fun. I guess I can't give you the url in the open where you can get daily free tutorials. So message me if you would like. I am not affiliated with the site at all, I just get there free tutorial and some of the full paid versions.
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Jan 07
Black and White is fun, but with color the way it is nowadays, who needs black and white.
1 person likes this
• India
23 Jan 07
yes originality is originality no doubt in that. eve i dont like altersing pictures only if its that needed and without it cant make it a classy then only i will go for the photoshop.
1 person likes this
@forfein (2509)
23 Jan 07
Hi Firstly your pic is very good!! There is nothing like a GOOD black and white pic! The details you can get is amazing! But........ it has to be GOOD! Photoshop.................... Lots of Photographers now use this programme, and of course, if you are fairly adept with PC's and are an "arty person", then most other users can use the programme as well! We use it a lot now-a-days, my wife was a Semi-Professiional model, and she got quite "In" to it, at the time!! Now she is fairly "Adept" with the thing, and the good thing about the progame is ..... if your pics are not quite what you expected, then with a little enhancement, they can be made to be quite decent!!!! In the right place, then photshop is an excellent tool!!! However, I have seen instances whereby the model is way to fat for the actual shot, and her figure has been re-done to standards that do NOT resemble the actual photo!!
• United States
23 Jan 07
i also have a digital camera and its ok. its not wonderful though. i use photoshop sometimes, but just to have fun. i always save a copy of the original photo. you can make some really cool effects with photoshop.
1 person likes this
@icequeen (2843)
• Canada
23 Jan 07
Good for you for being so creative. I think the picture is great and unique on it's own. However..such programs do have thier merit too..while working on other things. We also need a better program..because now as a writer..I find I am getting more jobs that may require it....posters, invitations..etc. I admire photographers..and I think it is a great creative endeavour.
1 person likes this
@jayperiod (870)
• United States
23 Jan 07
Cool photo. I love black and white photography. Contrast can many times tell more of a story than color. All that said, I only use my digital SLR now. Photoshop is God's gift to photography! You can do so much with Photoshop. I took some photos for stock photography of my daughter, but she had a scar on her arm. With Photoshop I was able to edit the scar out and the photo has sold many times. I don't think it would have if I hadn't altered it. I always think of photography as an art. I don't paint or even draw well, but I do have an eye for photography. It's my art. There are may artists in the past who have told great stories with their works, but they are not life-like or actual renditions of what they painted. They altered them to tell their story. A photographer using Photoshop is no different. I can take a picture, alter it, and tell an interesting story with it. I guess it all comes down to how you see it.
1 person likes this
@tomoe_spy (260)
• Philippines
23 Jan 07
Me too i'm using an old school camera for photography i'm currently using a canon ae-1 even though i have a canon eos 400d i still prefer to use most of the time the slr one, I think altering images using photoshop is not bad since you only use it for enhancing your photos colors, brightness etc... not altering the whole thing...
1 person likes this
@darkumer (63)
• Pakistan
23 Jan 07
This kind of pgotography is really cool and nice. the real stuff is in this photography. The coloured one is also good but not as that
1 person likes this
@rhinoboy (2129)
23 Jan 07
I love your picture! I visited the Ansel Adams gallery in yosemite village in 2003 and was completely dumbstruck. Since I only became interested in photography since getting a digital camera, I can't really relate to the purity of film and SLR. Personally, I don't like to alter my pictures very much, but I do crop and rotate and fiddle a bit with brightness and contrast to get them looking their best.
1 person likes this