Monochrome Sunset Silhouette on the Somerset Levels.

Another B&W image.  Something has happened to my visual senses.  I’m starting to see more and more of my images which seem to yield a little more, or maybe just some different appeal, when rendered in monochrome, and I am enjoying it.

Having said that, I have just come home from a Camera Club monochrome competition, where 3 of my images, which I thought had some appeal, failed miserably to impress the judge, and one, which I only put in to complete my entry quota of 4, achieved a ‘highly commended’ from him.  My judgement ain’t that great.

Significant influences on my, perhaps temporary, leaning towards mono are Adrian Lewis, blogger at FATman Photos and Andy Beel, who gave a talk at our club last February.  I say ‘perhaps temporary’ because I still have a love of colour, but undeniably I am appreciating B&W to an increasing degree.  I’m still not seeing the images in B&W at the shutter pressing stage, though maybe I am becoming aware that lighting conditions could favour it.

I expect I will bore a few, who have often expressed a preference for colour images.  I apologise and please stick with me.  There will still be a lot of colour on this blog.  I am, however, likely to post quite a few B&W images in the future as well.

This is the first one.  It was originally posted quite recently in a gallery in After the Storms.

I liked that image, but I now think that I like this one more.  I fiddled around in Lightroom quite a bit before choosing this treatment.  I think that rendering it as a B&W silhouette, has enhanced the detail in the sky and its reflections in the flood water.  It has also improved the definition of the tree trunk, ivy and lower branches, where the sun was previously burning this detail out a little.

wpid-20140111-_1110067-2.jpgThe original is shown below, and I expect a few people will disagree with what I have said above.  Some may mourn the loss of the golden light on the reed bed.  Maybe I do a little.  As always, comments are most welcome and will help me to improve.wpid-20140111-_1110067.jpg


9 thoughts on “Monochrome Sunset Silhouette on the Somerset Levels.

  1. The mono shot here is a great picture, Dave, I love it! It does of course depict the Levels so I’m biased to start with, but this shot has tremendous beauty, mood and power. I find the colour version insipid by comparison – I do like the reed bed’s colour but, other than that, the mono version beats it every time.

    THANKS for giving me a plug, they’re always welcome! 🙂

    One thing annoys me here though, and you really must get out of this mindset. Its where you are gloomy about your lack of success in your camera club’s competition – the judge only rated one of your four – and then you say “My judgement ain’t that great”. Oooohhhhh, I may have to come down to Yeovil and sort you out!

    The judge has his/her sense of visual aesthetics and you have your’s and neither is better than the other, and neither is right or wrong. So £$%%^&&^% what the judge thinks, my friend, you just do your thing and go for it – what did I read in AP this week – something like “There’s more to art than winning a camera club competition with a perfect sunset” – to which my American safari clients would have answered “Gee, great British understatement!”.

    And don’t worry about not seeing things in mono pre-capture – I frequently don’t – more often than not, its ferretting around post-capture that finds the mono shots. Just stick with full colour, high bit, Raw files, as they’re good for everything – colour and mono.

    I’ve rambled on, Dave, hope its useful! Adrian 🙂


    • Thanks for your ramblings Adrian. They are always useful. And I’m glad you liked this photo.

      Actually, I do have a high regard for many (even most) club judges, though they do sometimes ‘miss the point’. This one wasn’t actually unkind about my other images and the overall standard of the competition was very good, so I was pleased with my one HC. I was just a bit surprised at which of my images did best. I’ve since come to appreciate it a bit more.

      I’m pretty sure that I will be finding more images to try in B&W. Let’s hope I pick the right ones. I may well post the one from the competition again. It was part of a previous post, but I ‘tweeked’ it a bit for the competition.

      Thanks again for the valuable comments Adrian. Dave. 🙂


  2. I very much prefer the monochrome version in this comparison. It captures a moodiness and atmosphere which strikes me more than the colour version. The colour version is lovely but there is possibly too much for me to focus my eyes on.

    I also agree with Adrian with regard to photographic judges and competitions. My advice would be to steer clear of all that jazz 🙂 You will only get despondent as you try to please them rather than yourself.

    You need to listen to your own inner voice and just keep taking photos and posting and adapting to your own artistic tastes.


    • Thanks M. That’s 2 out of 3 so far. That’s comforting. I think that your comments echo the way I saw it.

      On the subject of competitions and judges, I quite enjoy the challenge. I don’t take it too seriously, and I don’t get despondent when I fail. I also do like to support the Club. Thanks for your concern though. It would be good advice for some people.

      I like your reference to ‘my own artistic tastes’. I’m still trying to decide what ‘flavours’ I like best. 🙂


  3. Hi dave. Moody mono absolutely. It’s a photographer thing, liking monos, and it comes from becoming more discerning about what an image delivers. Colour has its place but too often it confuses the issue. Winning competitions is all about impact and mood, and your mono has both.


    • Thank you John. You are very kind. I am finding myself drifting more and more towards trying some of my images in mono, and I think it often helps me to focus on their ‘structure’. Not sure whether structure is the right word, but hopefully you will know what I mean. Dave.


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