How to Prepare Your Landscapes Photo for Black and White

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Fog and Other Gradual Transitions

Not only do high-contrast settings provide the perfect environment for a black and white image, but smooth, gradient tones work especially well in this format. When working with landscapes, fog can create a surreal atmosphere that is simply not as effective in color.

Bivouac à Saint-Auban

As you can see, the fog here creates a mysterious feeling to this image that is only amplified by the black and white. If this was in color, with greens and blues prominent throughout, you would lose the effectiveness of the fog and how it gradually changes from light to dark – black and white strips any distracting color from an image and allows you to focus solely on the tones. If you’re working in foggy conditions, try to exploit that in post process by editing your image as a black and white.

Long exposure landscapes are often done in black and white – especially those that involve water – as they have gradual transitions of tones much like those found in foggy conditions. The glass-like appearance of otherwise choppy waters can create a moody and surreal environment.

Newport Bridge
This long exposure created stunning gradual tones in the water, broken up nicely by the strong shadows of the bridge. If you enjoy long exposure images, I’d suggest exploring the coastline for your black and white photography.

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