Roundtrip in Black and White

Old Tree - Black and White

This is a photo of a tree beside Route 120 near China Camp on the way to Yosemite. I shot the photo on a gray day, and underexposed by about 2 f-stops to exaggerate the dark feeling of the branches. Here’s the exposure data: 95mm, 1/800 of a second at f/14 and ISO 200, hand held.

My first step in processing this image was—somewhat paradoxically—to tease the colors out of the RAW file, with these results:

Old Tree

This is an interesting and unusual result in its own right. It pleased me next—and I could use the comparison in a current project I am working on—to “roundtrip” the image back to monochromatic.

I haven’t posted the RAW file as part of this story, but believe me it is far less inspiring than either processed version I am showing. As a matter of fact, I usually don’t show my RAW files—as opposed to my processed versions my original files are mostly a private matter.

Which do you like better, the color or the black and white version?

This entry was posted in Landscape, Monochrome, Photography.


  1. ADKJim March 19, 2011 at 8:29 am #

    I like the B&W better but then I’m an old time B&W guy.

  2. wjlovitt March 19, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

    Old oaks just seem to lend themselves to BW.

  3. Harold Davis March 19, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    The monochromatic version so far is preferred about three to one, but some really do fancy the color version; for example, this comment on Flickr: “I like much more this colour version because of the contrast between those fantastil blue and rose colous in the sky and the green colour in the tree and soil.”

One Trackback

  1. By Occulus on August 25, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    […] also prepared a monochromatic version of this HDR image (below). As with a recent image of a tree, sometimes I find it hard to choose between black & white and color. Digital means one can […]

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