To See in Black-and-White

Near Lukla, the trailhead of the Everest Base Camp Trek, Nepal

In monochrome photography, everyone is saying that we should learn to see in grayscale and to practice as often as possible. But how? Such advice is a little too vague to me and it is easier said than done. Nobody can really train someone else’s vision, so I guess this must be self-taught. And it is frustrating because how can I judge whether I have finally acquired this visual skill or not? I do not even know whether I have been practicing correctly.

However, during a recent hiking trip to Mount Everest, there was an instant when I suddenly felt that my eyes could visualize the final image in black-and-white! Or at least I thought so. This photo is that significant moment of realization.

Perhaps it is like learning to ride a bicycle. Suddenly you are cycling! Once learned, never forgotten.

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9 thoughts on “To See in Black-and-White

  1. Helen C

    Great photo, Jeremy!
    >> I suddenly felt that my eyes could visualize the final image in black-and-white!
    Now that you know how, would you be kind to share the secret? ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Have a great day.

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    1. Jeremy Post author

      Thanks, Helen! Whenever I have a few minutes of free time, I would pick a random scene in my daily life and consciously imagine how it would look like in black-and-white. It is a mental practice and I do not even use the camera. It doesn’t matter much whether my imaginations are correct because over time I would realize that most scenes are in shades of middle grey and would not look good. After getting used to such dull grey scenes in my surroundings, I can recognize a high-contrast scene if I see one, and this is will be ideal for black-and-white photography. Mid-day is a good time to practice because of the hard shadows. This is as best as I can explain ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. Amy

    This image is making a mark on my memory. You are right, “Nobody can really train someone elseโ€™s vision.”
    But, you give us a chance to appreciate this materpiece!

    Like

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  3. Sreejith Nair

    Beautiful image, just loved the pay of light and shadows…

    Images in monochrome looks great when there are numerous shades involved, right?

    In monochrome images, there are less distractions and we can truly appreciate the use of light.

    Thank you for sharing and have a beautiful day ๐Ÿ™‚

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    Reply

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