Photography: colour or monochrome?

(The photographs below are repeated in the post but I wanted a way of displaying them so they could all be seen at a glance.)

I have recently found Leanne Cole‘s ‘Monochrome Madness’ posts and been entering photographs. (The first two below).

Now when I learnt to take photographs at about age six or seven with a box camera it was monochrome (‘black and white’) or nothing.

I remember when colour film came in and my father saying that anyone could take photographs in colour that taking a good photograph in black and white required more skill. He switched to taking colour photographs however and I have spent my adult life doing the same.

When I had the money I bought a SLR which was smaller and lighter than some and gave amazing photographs. (It had to be replaced when a spring broke and I never loved the new camera as much).

I resisted the move to digital but eventually realised that film was a thing of the past and having been lent my son’s bridge camera had come to appreciate the advantages of digital. One of which was no longer being at the mercy of film processors who seemed to get worse and worse. (I would think longingly of the days when it was easy to delvelop and print one’s own photographs. (The days of black and white!)

At first I intended to buy a digital SLR but the one that seemed to give me what I wanted was so much heavier than my much loved Konica and I am not getting any younger. So persuaded by my brother I bought a Lumix LX5 and I have been very happy with it. It gives me the control of apperture and speed I wanted and is good for macro and low light without flash. I know a DSLR would be even better but the portability and weight make up for it. So many cameras seem to be made to fit men’s hands. The Lumix is very comfortable to hold.

So much for biography!

I discovered that the camera has three black and white film settings as well as six colour ones. This reignited my interest in black and white photography so I have started taking pictures in black and white from time to time.

There was this one when I was in Spain.

Fountain in Avila

and this one in Boars Hill.


I also took this at Boars Hill and it seemed very strange I wasn’t sure if it made a good photograph or not.

Pine cone

What do you think?

However since then I have been looking at converting some of my colour photographs to monochrome and noting the differences.

This was one of my favourite Avila photographs but I actually think it works even better in monochrome.

Fountain - colour

More drama!

Fountain - monochrome

This photographis virtually monochrome already!

Heart - colour

As you can see. (With a little sharpening.)

Heart - monochrome

I notice that I take a lot of square photographs these days. That is one of the things I appreciate on the Lumix. I have a choice of 1:1, 4:3. 3:2 and 16:9 so I rarely need to crop to get what I want.

Maybe it seems strange that a ‘Rainbow Junkie’ should  take an interest in monochrome photography but as you can see from the piece at the beginning, as far as photography goes, it is where I began.

12 thoughts on “Photography: colour or monochrome?

  1. Definitely Love the Monochrome setting for the lovely fountain.. it gives a nostalgic feeling to it.. In my opinion, i think for nature wise.. is great to add in the colours.. as one would like to see the colours of the clouds.., the sky.. the pine fruits.. but for venues.. or buildings.. i like it in monochromes.. maybe let’s see what others have to say.. ;D


  2. I agree with your Dad it takes skill to take a good black and white picture. I love the one you sharpened up. Bleak is always better in black and white. Personally I always took better colour pictures. Enjoy the learning curve.


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