How do you see the world? In full colour or black and white?
As a Photographer, ‘colour’ naturally plays a vital role in my work. From bold, colourful hues to moody, monochrome tones, I find that landscape photography is a great way to experiment with such effects.
In fact, I have a real penchant for landscape photography and capturing striking views in black and white, although as you’ll see from the images below, full colour certainly has its place.
Sheep on Burley Moor, Ilkley
This is one of my favourite images - for two - albeit subtle reasons. Firstly, I thought I was alone but in the distance, to the top left of the picture, someone is visible. Secondly, the penultimate sheep is looking over its shoulder to see where the last sheep is - perhaps waiting for it to catch up.
By capturing this scene in black and white, the richness of the textures among the hills, rocks, grass and heather, really leap out. It also gives the sheep the limelight as they form such a contrast against their black and white surroundings.
Photographed using black and white film, I used a yellow filter - as I typically do for all landscapes - to tonally adjust the greens and help bring out the clouds. Although it was raining, which is why the sky is quite flat. In this case, the absence of clouds worked well though as the hills have an almost 3D-esque feel to them.
A Contrast in Colours
Allow me to transport you from Ilkley to Switzerland - the Seealpsee Lake in the Alpstein range of the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden - to be exact.
As previously mentioned, there is certainly a place for colour landscape photography. A casing point being the image below.
Seealpsee Lake, Switzerland
From a personal perspective, I feel that this landscape works better in colour as the green and blue shades of the trees, boat and sky are, you could argue, part of the split complementary colour scheme on the colour wheel. The other colour being the red-orange that the path and rocks carry.
I framed the image in such a way, that the eye can easily flow from left to right. Plus, the eye is always drawn to the brightest thing in the image, that being the sky in this image, so a diagonal is created from the foreground to the background. The other pattern for the eye to follow is the contrasting colours next to each other - the path and grass, the grass and water, the mountains and sky, the middle-distance mountains and hills, and of course the jetty into the water and the reflections.
For this landscape, the bright colours work well as it creates interest, whereas the black and white version has a different, almost sombre feel to it. What’s more, the various elements of the view are not enhanced in the black and white version.
So, which out of the two pictures do you prefer? What’s your take on landscape photography and the colour medium used? I’d welcome your comments and thoughts! You can view further examples of my landscape work here and here.
Alan Carmichael, owner of Capricorn Photography, specialises in corporate photography for small and medium enterprises. If you would like a landscape image commissioning for your office(s), brochure(s) or leaflet(s), please contact Alan on 07828 834731 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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