Quotidian Subjects in B&W vs. Color

My previous post, and this one as well, were based on a post of Ming Thein’s, as well as current discussions on the web about B&W vs. color. 

Discussions about why some prefer monochrome vs. color are always non conclusive in that it depends upon the subject and the background, age, etc. of the photographer.  In my opinion, those that prefer monochrome images are usually (not all of the time) the older photographers who were brought up in an age when all of the great photographs were monochrome since color pictures were too expensive, or too difficult to make.  This is a subject that could be debated all night without arriving at a conclusive, definitive answer, but I have other thoughts and questions.

Why do many (not all, not exclusively), regardless of age, seem to revert to monochrome when making images of quotidian subjects?  In my opinion it is because they are trying to show them differently, trying to make them at least appear to be like “works of art” even though they are images of everyday, common things around them. 

But, that just brings up other issues like: what are works of art, how do you define “art”?  Can photographs be considered art even when they are infinitely reproducible?

In my final thoughts on the subjects, I always revert to whatever process I think works best at the time for whatever I’m trying to show.  In the above image I like a very subdued color best, but either works.  It is a very common view when it isn’t foggy, but in this case the fog helps a lot for the image of Plum Creek flowing from under Plum Tree Lane from which I recorded a raw view in August of 2017. 

Why Process?

It use to be that I mostly made pictures just to spend the time processing them in different ways.  It was something I liked to do, enjoyed doing it, and even claimed that was my primary reason for having photography as my hobby … an enjoyable way to fill my time while retired.  Now, I’m having different thoughts.

I still need a way to spend my time, but maybe doing something different.  The more I have processed, some say manipulated, my images, the more I have drifted towards a particular, simpler technique.  I am finding that I really prefer to just make B&W, or color, jpeg images in the native camera style, especially with my current Olympus cameras.  The problem with doing that is that I am limited to choosing either monochrome or color before I record the image, and I often prefer something different after the fact.  For these reasons, I am still recording raw files in order to retain maximum flexibility in case I change my mind later, but minimizing the processing.

The lighting was very flat since yesterday was very overcast when I recorded the above test images.  I wanted to use the PEN F camera with the 14mm lens and only use F2.5 aperture to see how the images would look using no processing other than LR’s profile for converting raw files to camera monochrome images.  My purpose was to see how that setup rendered shadows, tones, etc.  The answer is that I like them, prefer them, under these conditions.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI did end up with one image that definitely works better in color.  Dandelions are rare here at Homewood due to all of the chemicals that they use, but finding one in the middle of January is even rarer.

My current thinking is that I would like to make more images in this manner and that I would like to use such images to tell stories rather than to just make “pretty” pictures.  My challenge is, stories about what? 

Don’t Like


By late afternoon yesterday it had cleared off.  Soon after I took this picture the winds roared in and the snow started blowing and the temperature dropping.  By this morning it was only 13 degrees F.

I don’t like the cold and wind.  I do like the lighting in this picture.  I don’t like having nothing to write about other than the weather.  I have tried to figure out how to stop making posts like this one; i.e. stop giving weather reports, etc. for here at Homewood at Plum Creek.

The only way to not keep posting images and posts like this one that I have thought of so far, is to stop posting anything.  I don’t like that either.