Orange Is The New Black is a popular TV series.
But except for the phrasing of its name and the title of this story, the show has nothing to do with photography.
When photographers used film cameras they had to make an important decision before going on a “shoot”: Load the camera with color or black and white film?
But in the age of digital photography, the question of whether to take (or “print”) a photo in black and white instead of color is more or less moot: You can do both with a single image.
If you had choose between photographing “nature” in black and white or color, which would you prefer?
The following series of matching black and white and color versions of photographs I took this past May in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks lets you decide which bests fit the scene depicted.
This shot taken at the top of Moro Rock in Sequoia National Park incorporates a line of clouds intersecting the line of safety railings atop the rock, which itself is a line intersecting the ridge of mountains in the background. Color works fine for this shot, but black and white creates a more dramatic image.
The color shot of clouds gathering over the mountains in Kings Canyon National Park in the late afternoon is softer and conveys a better sense of time of day, white the black and white image suggests that a strong storm may be approaching.
Warm tones in the color version of this photo of water flowing rapidly over boulders in the Kings River tell the viewer that it’s a sunny day. But the black and white version better emphasizes the flow of the river from bottom left to upper right of the image.
John Muir allegedly sat on this rock along the edge of the Kings River near Road’s End in Kings Canyon National Park, and in a film shown in the park’s visitor center, an actor playing the role of Muir poses atop the rock.
The black and white version of the photo does a good job of replicating that pose, and leaves the viewer to ponder what the woman perched on the rock is thinking about as she gazes at the river flowing by. The color version diverts the viewer’s attention away from her and toward the rock and river.
The color shot of Blazing Star flowers blooming in Kings Canyon National Park as clouds accumulate over the mountains in the background wins out here. The black and white version does a better job of highlighting the clouds and mountains, but the flowers in the foreground need color to stand out.
(Click on an image to enlarge to full-size. Visit Budget Travelers Sandbox for more of this week’s Travel Photo Thursday shots. Click here for more about the recent visit to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks by Tales Told From The Road publisher, Dick Jordan.)