Black and White in Colour


I have been enjoying photography for many years. I used to shoot a lot of black and white in the early days, mainly because it was cheaper than colour. Then colour processing became cheaper than B&W processing so colour was the way forward. And I love colour! Indeed. But in this world of Flickr and Instagram there are millions of excellent colour photos which, quite frankly, make my job of satisfying my perfectionism all that more difficult. No, impossible!

B&W was my early life. It is becoming my new life. Sure, there are still millions of excellent B&W images out there and I have even contributed one or two. If I may include myself in that company.

B&W to me is art. Colour can be too, of course, but B&W is more subtle, more emotional. IMHO.

So I have been thinking about getting a monochrome camera, like the Leica Monochrom, if I could pretend just for a moment that I could afford it! Even a monochrome Fuji for considerably less. But I am lucky to have a Leica Q, which is my absolute joy, and which produces delightfully detailed colour photographs which can be converted to B&W in Lightroom or Photoshop or DXO PhotoLab. And I ask myself, “why would I want to buy a dedicated monochrome camera?”

I don’t. Because I think colour has a very good place in a B&W photograph. It adds another dimension. Take “Old boat and chains. Lerwick, Shetland Isles 2016. Leica Q/Lightroom” shown above. Bringing the rusty chains up in colour adds value. Not to say that the “black and white in colour” images are necessarily better than pure B&W, just that they can add a different perspective to the picture.

Some more examples:

Leica D-Lux 6/Lightroom
With a little colour.

The B&W image is detailed, clear and crisp, but I wanted to highlight the fruit. Adding slight colouring brings them into the viewer’s focus, separating them from the other objects in the image.

Edinburgh. Leica Q/Lightroom

I wanted the viewer to be drawn to the windows and door, so adding a little colour achieved that. Perhaps.

Lerwick. Shetland Isles. Leica Q/Lightroom

The boat in the harbour would be lost without a touch of colour.

Lake Como. Leica Q/Lightroom
And with a little colour.

This is much more subjective. The B&W image is probably better but the coloured version draws the viewer more towards the person in the image.

Bellagio, Lake Como. Leica Q/Lightroom
With a splash of colour.

I believe the B&W image here is better. However, adding a touch of colour gives a bit more depth to the image. Or it might not. Personal taste.

Travels with my Q – Outback road trip

Road trip to Townsville in June/July 2019. From Victoria through Broken Hill in outback New South Wales through Bourke, Longreach and Cloncurry to Mount Isa in outback Queensland, then across to Townsville. Back to Victoria partly down the coast then midland on and around the Newell Highway. 9,500 kilometres. Below …

Travels with my Q – Bali

Roaming with my Leica Q in Bali from Kuta to Ubud in April 2019. Never been before, never really been interested, mainly because of the apparent reputation of Kuta Beach and the bogan culture. So we spent a day in Kuta then went inland to see the (perhaps) real Bali. …

Travels with my Q – India in shades

Travel photography in India October 2018 with my Leica Q. Converted to mono using Silver Efex Pro 2 (through Photoshop with initial developing in DxO PhotoLab 2). Some cropping because it helps to tell the story. All shooting in RAW. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves, but… IMHO the …