The Cool Photographers’ Club

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I momentarily considered posting this image as black and white but then worried everyone would like it better!

I should be the perfect candidate to enjoy black and white (B&W) photography.

After all, I started out taking B&W photos as a kid and thot it was normal. That’s not entirely surprising since back in those prehistoric days, the whole world was black and white. I remember arguing with my dad that our TV was colour and then, to my amazement, couldn’t find the colours on the screen. My powers of visualization clearly trumped my observation prowess.

_T6C8544Why would I try to like B&W images later in life? All the cool and knowledgeable photographers seemed to ohh and ahh over them. I read and listened to their explanations of why they chose to use colour or not. They would talk about how B&W photos can simplify high contrast scenes and a lot of other reasons that weren’t interesting enough to remember. I didn’t appreciate any of it but figured I was missing something.

For reasons that now escape me, I wanted to appear like a cool photographer. So I genuinely tried to like B&W photos and faked it for a while. I even entered B&W photo contests at my camera club. Among the many issues with those photos was the elephant in the room – I didn’t like any of them. At some point I gave up trying. What was the point? This was supposed to be fun.

So my secret is out. I will never be part of the cool photographers’ club. I must say it comes with a measure of relief!

Perhaps my colour bias is all about personal taste or, more likely, I can trace it back to my excitement at finally being able to take colour photos! I’ve never fully recovered from that sense of wonder. Why retreat? It’s probably why I find it hard to get excited about going back to the future with Instagram filters that make images look like the dreadfully poor quality of colour photos that was the best I could do in those early days.

Bad memories don’t make appealing photos.

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This photo brings back memories of encountering bears around Banff last spring. That is a good memory.

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Latest Comments

  1. doriswamyganesh says:

    Dear Lyle, Simply fantastic ! i felt as if the bears were walking right on to me for a moment,Beautiful indeed is tour work.It should fetch you awaards in plenty for wild life photography.Regards, Ganesh.

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  2. gabbie20132013 says:

    Reblogged this on Gabbie Blog.

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  3. dda53 says:

    Your color photo has a “black” bear, what gives?:-) That’s a “cool” capture.

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  4. artsifrtsy says:

    Black and white is much tougher to get right IMO – and I miss the color of life when it is used for wildlife shots. I think digital B&W is never as nice looking as film. The tonality is just wrong. I do feel a sense of accomplishment when I get a B&W image right though.

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    • Lyle Krahn says:

      What you say about tonality makes a lot of sense. I will happily leave those issues for you. I’ve got enough challenges getting the colours somewhere close.

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  5. melodylowes says:

    A photographer with opinions? Hmmm…. 🙂 Love those bear shots. I got one of a ruffed grouse this weekend – a lot of fun to capture a breathing subject after all those flowers…

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    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Ruffled grouse would be fun – the more alive the better. Does this mean you bought a camera?

      Yes there’s no shortage of opinions around these parts. Some of them might even be good ones. I keep waiting for someone to disagree.

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      • melodylowes says:

        I got a deal on a Nikon P series so I went with it for now. A nice little compromise. So far I’m happy with what I’m getting. Next one will be the real deal…. 🙂 I keep waiting for an opinion of yours I can argue with! hehe

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  6. dweezer19 says:

    Hi, I love all of your animal shots. While I feel there is definitely a place where black and white can outline a mood more precisely, as in still life and street photography, I too am mystified at the near obsession some have with its use. But I am also mystified with the use of so many editing tools to enhance what I think is an amazing moment in photography all by itself before the HD stuff. My 24 year old son assures me it is an art form so therefore i appreciate. It sometimes causes me to feel inadequate but I still feel thrilled that I got to see rare birds and capture them with my camera-even if you can’t count the feathers in their tails! Keep doing what you do. It’s perfect.

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    • Lyle Krahn says:

      I am regularly mystified by the actions of others but we all approach things with our biases and dreams. Being thrilled by watching and photographing wildlife is my reward. That’s what keeps me doing it so your approach makes perfect sense to me. I’m so glad you enjoy my animal shots

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  7. Mary says:

    Beautiful photography – color suits these scenes quite well!

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  8. Stefano says:

    Magnificent opening shot. Did you take these in Orr? Great job.

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  9. vanbraman says:

    You make me think with this post. I wonder how much a picture specifically taken as black and white can differ from the same picture taken as color and turned into black and white.

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  10. Gunta says:

    How nice to discover I’m not the only person on the planet mystified at the fad to turn everything b&w. Thank you so much for this post….. not to mention the great color images.

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    • Lyle Krahn says:

      It’s funny how often we think we’re the only ones or badly out numbered only to discover their are others. Mystified is a great word – should have used that when writing the post.

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  11. Mike Powell says:

    Your preferred subject matter just doesn’t lend itself to black and white shots, in my view. I like being able to see all of the colors in your wildlife shots, like the pops of yellow in your final shot of the beautiful bear, for example. Black and white can be effective for certain abstract shots, architectural shots, or portraits, but most of the time most of us prefer color.

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  12. Victor Rakmil says:

    Superb photographs. B&W is more work now that it is just a filter than when it was film.

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    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Thanks – it sure was exciting to take those bear photos. I am amazed at how much work some photographers put into their B&W photos. Definitely a lot more work then film.

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  13. Michelle at The Green Study says:

    I like photos of people’s faces in black and white, but prefer nature and animal photos in color. I never understood Ansel Adams’ approach, finding color to be distracting, but to each, his or her own.

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    • Lyle Krahn says:

      I can find a lot of things distracting but I agree that colour has never been one of them. It really does come down to personal preferences and the biases we have brought with us on our journey.

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  14. Deb W. Trotter says:

    I’m with you on this one. We live in a colored world, so why not reproduce it that way in photos now that we can?!

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  15. Guy Runco says:

    I tend to agree Lyle – once in a while I’ll try a b&w shot, but I’m mostly a color guy. I’m obviously not a member of the cool club either.

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  16. Katherine says:

    Amazing to see these pictures.I am ignorant about techniques and so I just do what I fee like…Your photos are always very high quality

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  17. DMgirl says:

    I very much enjoy your colorful world! Your pictures just wouldn’t be the same in black and white.

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  18. caleephotography says:

    Colour is Cool. 😉 I think colour or b&w preference depends a lot on the subject and type of photography. I’m glad you didn’t shoot these in b&w!

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