Sunday Stills: Your Best #Black-and-White Photos

Inked hummer

Black and white photography is not at the top of my list of favorite photography techniques. I prefer color photography, but I enjoy seeing others’ black and white images and I recognize the special eye and techniques it takes to create just the right image.

“Black and white photography removes any distraction of color and helps the viewer focus on other aspects of the photo, such as the subject, the textures, shapes and patterns, and the composition.”

David Kindervater

As I challenge myself with this theme, I start by sharing two images of people, which in my opinion, especially lend themselves to black and white photography. I cannot take credit for the images, but they are two of my favorites.

This was taken by my husband’s brother-in-law. He caught this image of my husband lighting a cigar. Not only does the light balance work here, but the smoke curls in contrast to the dark background. His expression shows the anticipation of the first inhale as he lights the cigar. This would be the kind of black and white photography to which I would aspire.

man smoking cigar

We recently celebrated my mother-in-law’s life with a family memorial service. Aside from other wonderful images of her, my sister-in-law took this one of Hella for her high school photography class in 1974.

Hella Schrandt

Again, NOT one of my images, but she captured her mother’s joy and zest for life in this now eternal moment.

A Black and White Gallery

I dug into my archives for these images shown in the gallery. *Note–the black sand beach was actually black and white…cheating?

Birds in Black and White

Any subject can be finished in black and white. In the example below, I have the same image of one of my backyard hummingbirds (incidentally all puffed up from a spring rain shower and a good example of next week’s theme “spring green”). I feel that the color image really pops compared to the black and white image I created. Here is how they look side-by-side.

Fluffed up hummingbirdall fluffed up in BW

Since I was not thrilled with the B&W version, I also used a black and white filter (Painnt app) as seen below to enhance what should remain a wonderful color image but doesn’t lend itself to black and white.

Inked hummer

What do you think?

While we are on the subject of birds, I happened to have an oldie-but-goodie image of a Pacifica shorebird in sepia format, taken on the beaches of San Diego. Shared for Lisa’s BirdWeekly.

sepia shore bird

Whatever your own techniques for creating beautiful B&W images, please share a little about your process.

Looking for Black and White Photo Challenges?

I love coincidence! This photo was taken for Cees Black and White Photo challenge in 2015 (when I was newer to blogging and photography). Why coincidence? I am resubmitting this same image for Cee’s B&W challenge for kitchen objects (started this week!) again 6 years later! This was one of my first attempts to focus a color into a black and white image. I know it’s lacking, but we all start somewhere. Cee offers her black and white photo challenge weekly.

blackand white kitchen

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

porch light

If we were having coffee this week, I would happily tell you that we may be within two weeks of moving into the house! I hope I haven’t jinxed it…but the manufactured home company told us that carpet was installed this weekend, and I’ve had assurances that the septic system goes in this week. Above is the cute porch light recently installed. So much happened at lightning speed over the last three weeks, almost as if to make up for the lo-o-ong wait for just electricity last month. A few more small items to check before the final walk-through. And just in time for spring-like weather. For those who observe daylight saving time, did you spring your clocks forward last night?

Please join Natalie’s Weekend Coffee Share each week and see what other bloggers are up to!

Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders

  • Please create a new post for the theme or link a recent one.
  • Title your blog post a little differently than mine.
  • Don’t forget to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be posted all week.
  • Use hashtag #SundayStills for sharing on social media.

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Each week I will share the links from the previous post so you can continue to meet and support each other. And with that…please visit our…

Rainy Day People

I truly admire folks who can capture lovely images in black and white, so this week, the challenge is YOURS!

Camera graphic

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130 thoughts on “Sunday Stills: Your Best #Black-and-White Photos

  1. Terri, awesome display this week. It is hard to pick a favorite, but I am fond of the color pop. Also, loved your use of the slider. Your MIL’s captured expression is surely a treasure. P.S. I updated my link to this post, so you should have received a pingback request. Have a great week.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome black & white. I love your sepia of the shorebird. Fancy little sketch from your hummingbird. You should add a link to this after I post on Friday so you get in on Bird Weekly coming up unless you have something for Spring Green. This week is black and white/sepia birds (your choice). I’m going to have a separate post for this one because I have a lot of favorite b&w photos besides birds. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Lisa! I could link again, but I will play around with another image compare , goodness knows I have enough green images to sink a ship! I like the challenge of changing to black and white. I had fun with that Painnt app. I may send that one out for a canvas print for my new home 🙂 Looking forward to your post!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No doubt! I hope it is too. This house may or may not be. It has been in Frank’s family since he was a kid & it was built. Eventually we want to sell it, buy something to travel in and buy something smaller. Not sure how that will work out. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Terri,
    Black and White is certainly not my forte and I don’t have an image that is challenge-worthy. The photograph below is Ernest Hemingway’s writing studio. I took it during a trip to Key West last winter. I don’t do it often, but it seemed appropriate to shoot Papa’s place in Black and White. Great news about progress on your home . Please send invite to the house-warming ;-). Joe

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Seems to be the consensus about b&w photography, so far Joe! Nice shot of the Hemingway room. I finally have learned how to share an image in comments! We are definitely getting closer to getting moved in. If all goes well this week, there should be no more delays. Have a wonderful week!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m a big fan of black and white photography, Terri. Probably because I always think I look better in black and white. However, I have some lovely images I shared way back when I was tagged in a Black & White photography challenge. I’ve long since deleted those posts, so the photos I took and used will make up my Wordless Wednesday post this week.

    Your photos certainly show up all those hidden gems when photos are in colour.

    Great news about how the work has speeded up on your new home. Don’t get those new carpets dirty while it’s still wet and muddy outside.

    We’ve two more weeks to go before daylight saving hours spring forward. So you’re an hour closer for the next two weeks.

    Have a great week.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Many thanks for all those encouraging words, Hugh! I’m not always happy with how I look in b&w, I think I look older, LOL! Question…have you explored the new stories feature WP just launched? I’m doing one tomorrow and later in the week. Maybe not ready for iphones yet, but OK in android (for a change!). I also finally shared an image in a comment. yay! Looking forward to your WW post!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I saw details about it, Terri. However, I’m going to wait until it’s available on desktops and laptops (later in the year). I can’t get on with blogging on phones or tablets. So I’ll be looking forward to seeing your post tomorrow so I can see it working firsthand. I’ve not seen anyone else use the stories feature yet.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m starting to do more in black and white recently, usually edits of images originally taken in colour, like your hummingbird. But it doesn’t work well for every subject, I find – you need to be selective. So I agree with you, your bird works better in colour (although the sketch effect is quite fun!) But I really like some of your other B&W shots like the sunflower and black sand beach 🙂

    Anyway, here’s my effort for this week: https://www.toonsarah-travels.blog/seeing-the-world-in-black-and-white/ Hope you like it!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m not a smoker, but I love the curling smoke picture. It reminds me of 50s TV shows and movies. Everyone smoked back then. The photo of your MIL is wonderful. She looks so friendly and fun. Did you do the sketch of the hummingbird in the header, or is that photoshop of the picture you shared. It is way cool. 🙂 Here’s my post for today – actually tomorrow now. https://tchistorygal.net/2021/03/15/cbwc-sunday-stills-whats-in-our-italian-american-kitchen/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Marsha, that is so true about the smoking. I wish I had gotten to meet my MIL before her memory began to fade. The hummer sketch was done with the Painnt app. I adjusted the contrast and cropped in PicMonkey.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Terri you are so mega talented! I’m reading Liesbet’s book right now. Have you read it? She reminds me of you a little, in how talented she is, Such a little adventurer. I finally got a new Kindle. I couldn’t find mine and I’ve been trying to read books off my computer. No es bueno! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You are too kind, my friend. Have you looked in the mirror lately? And yes, I finished Liesbet’s book a couple of weeks ago. What a fascinating story, and I knew of her adventures from her blog posts. But to read the memoir with her writing style, I know this book will be very successful. You know she and I have met IRL. In fact they stayed with us in Sacramento a few years ago in between house sits. She could write a whole other book n those adventures alone. Enjoy your new kindle!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thanks, I loved our chat this morning. And your carpeting is perfect in my eyes. You are getting so close. So you know I’m going to visit you at some point. Get my room ready! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I did too. Another similarity we share. My first job was handpainting black and white aerial photos with photo oils. then photo mapping with huge farm aerial photos so I think I got hooked back then. Many years later I did another community course in developing and printing bw film. I have some of this photos which I intend to scan so I can add to my life stories. I have to say digital photography is more manageable these days ( if only I could limit the times I click that shutter button)

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  7. Hi Terri, loved your take on the B&W prompt for this week. I’ve come to prefer black and white photos for portraits rather than colour. My son was recently married and we have a combination of both colour and B&W, The Black and White look so sophisticated and the emotion of the day shines through. So exciting about your house. Fingers crossed for you. Thanks for hosting #SundayStills and I’ve contributed again this week. Life isn’t always black and white, but….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Sue! I loved your black and white images and quotes this week. It certainly is a challenge! I would agree that wedding photos in B&W must be stunning as well as memorial! And speaking of, I am most tired of living in the gray area of waiting, so we are thrilled to be much closer to moving in!

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  8. I am with you on preference of colour over black and white. However, I deliberately challenged myself last weekend to look for images etc that may look better in b & w. Images in B& W seem to lend themselves to nostalgia too. Loved yours of the people.

    I saw Jo reminded me to link up! By the time we get to Sunday Stills it’s Monday and the day of my link up here in Australia…so glad to remember.

    Denyse

    https://www.denysewhelan.com.au/denyse-blogs/photos-in-wyong-from-colour-to-black-white-sundaystills-11-32-2021/

    What an exciting (fingers crossed) update about the house.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Denyse! I appreciate my Aussie friends and others across the world being diligent with linking and sharing for Sunday Stills. I always see your emails and am sure to read before you link 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the black and white challenge!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Those are entrancing, Terri. You have photography talent deep in your family tree, I can see. I like B&W but especially like your coffee pot, at the end, where you revert to B&W and then paint back some of the color. Photoshop makes that easy while still being dramatic.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Terri, I’m glad to read you also find black and white not your preferred photography choice but like me, you accepted your own challenge and have featured some of your favourites. A great gallery and I also like the slider – very cool. Your house update is encouraging, fingers crossed for you. I love a pop of colour and sneakily added a few into my post 🙂
    https://debs-world.com/2021/03/14/its-not-always-black-and-white-sundaystills/

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Terri, You’ve got a wonderful collection of B&W photos here. I really like your flower and bird photos. It’s challenging to take photos of people and capture their expressions naturally. The photos of your husband and MIL achieved that very well. Great news on the progress of your new home and perfect timing with Spring arrival. I’m excited for you. Thank you for linking up with #WeekendCoffeeShare.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m glad to read that you can almost move into your long-anticipated dream house, Terri. And what an interesting feature to be able to slide through and over two photos. I’m not a fan of B&W photography either, but some people are really good at it. 🙂

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  13. That’s great news, Terri! I’m almost holding my breath for you 🙂 🙂 Lovely shot of your mother-in-law and I like your gallery. I don’t often play with black and white but once in a while it’s fun so I may well join you later in the week. I have a feeling I’ll be tired of green by the time we get there. And yes, your Hummer’s better for a pop of colour. Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Stevie, I remember stopping to take the photo of the fence posts in the late afternoon sun while out walking the dogs. I had never seen the pic of my MIL, but everyone comments on that photo of her and that was her vivacious personality. I regret not knowing her in her younger years.

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  14. I enjoy black and white photography, Terri, but not for all subjects (I think). I do like it for portraits and often for nature photos because of the way it brings out texture and contrast. Not that I can do it, but I love looking at it. Ha ha. I enjoyed your thoughts and photos.

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  15. I can’t seem to ever “reply” to posts….so weird, maybe because I don’t have wordpress…I was trying to say that I agree with abstract…I’m not always a fan, but I think this one could work as a small accent print.

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    1. Thank you, Graham, it sure is a relief to see things move so quickly now. Things happen for a reason, and all things considered, it would have been challenging moving in the snow and ice conditions, especially moving the trailer onto the property. Everything is dry and graded now although rainy weather is approaching. I felt like the black sand beach was cheating, but it made a striking image. Glad you liked the painnted hummer. Just fun! Thanks!

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  16. Hi, Terri – Once again, I have learned a great deal from your post. I have two further questions for you.
    1) How did you use the slider technique on your side-by-side bird photo. I saw someone else use that technique before on WP but could not figure out how they did it.
    2) How did you highlight just one colour in your kitchen shot?
    I enjoyed all photos above and loved that you also shared photographs taken by others.
    Congratulations on everything going so well with your move. Good luck, and please keep us posted!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Donna! To answer your questions, 1, is the image compare in the WP block editor. The key to that one is to use the same sized image. The directions are straightforward. Did you notice my other block…the list in a column format? I struggled a little with it, but I originally saw it used on Becky B’s blog.
      #2, I use PicMonkey and it’s called Focal B&W, and you can reverse the process all done on a color image. But any photoeditor should have something similar although named differently. I’m attempting to show you an image in the comments…

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  17. Fun challenge Terri – honestly hadn’t thought of that, it’s a great subject to explore. Sadly our challenges don’t sync very well this week but maybe next? Great news about the house, fingers crossed for you! Spring has sprung here on Kiawah and we are SO happy about it. Hoping summer hold off for another month or two! Have a great week.

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    1. Thank you, Tina! I suppose I have to challenge myself when I can, LOL! Spring has sprung early here in the north, with warm days and cold nights, but I will take this gift of sun! I bet spring on Kiawah is amazing and we shall see loads of beautiful images from you soon. We’re tickled about the house and chomping at the bit!

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  18. Hi Terri, Loved your photos…I think the bird in the painnt app is cool looking. I too, am not so much into creating black and white but I do like black and white photos. I was trying to edit mine in Lightroom but I couldn’t get it to open so I just had to do it in my Photos on my Mac..I do like playing with adjustments til I get what I think I like. I also like the ones in your gallery and the coffee pot one is kind of cool too.

    Here are my contributions.

    https://troyerslovinglife.blogspot.com/2021/03/taking-in-life-around_14.html

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Kirstin, so glad you enjoyed my foray into the realm of B&W photography. Bummer about your LightRoom! I think the Painnted hummer heads toward abstract, which is a genre I enjoy in small doses!

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