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Scotland in Black and White

Black and white photography can be immensely fulfilling, but in my experience is that not all photographs are suitable for such a conversion. My trips around the west coast of Scotland over the last several years have given me ample opportunity to ground truth my decision making on this.

In my experience, a black and white photograph should not be overly complex; too much detail can divert attention away from the effect of the mono conversion. The objective is to use the black and white conversion to accentuate the contrast between shadows and highlights. Simple images, bereft of detail, are ideal for this. Further, such simple and uncluttered compositions can often spur the imagination and allow a person wistfully reminisce. Black and whites aid this by adding a timeless quality to the image. This is why black and white photographs have prevailed in an era where high quality digital photography should have consigned such methods to history.

Some of the images that I took on the west coast fit the category nicely. This includes a pair images taken from Fionnphort in the Isle of Mull, looking out across the sounds to the Isle of Iona. While these images contain a little more detail than I would normally tolerate in such a black and white, the contrasting tones were powerful enough that it made the conversion work.


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