On colour

Sigfrid Lundberg's Stuff 2012-05-14

Bookmark and Share

R0013726.jpeg by Sigfrid Lundberg, on Flickr

There is a story connected to this photo, shown here in both colour and black and white. I visited the opening of a new exhibition at Martin Bryder Gallery. While having a good time, I saw the dog and that this child started to climb the stair. I pulled the camera and shot this image. The whole process is more or less automatic. I didn't even realize that she were all clad in red until I did the processing.

The story is both related to how I shoot and the workings of my camera.

R0013726.tif by Sigfrid Lundberg, on Flickr

I have some standard settings, actually one per lens I use regularly. The Ricoh GXR allows me to store them as named configurations. So when I switch on my camera, it set on ISO 400. For every shot it stores a raw file (in colour) and one JPG in B&W. The camera is set on aperture preset (A). The focus ring should be turned to infinity and the aperture set on 5.6.

When I switch on the camera, everything is predictable.

The things I see and think of are related to timing, such as actions and juxtapositions and composition. That is geometry, pull-in lines, point of view and perspective. Then there are surfaces and texture, reflections and shadows and depth of field. These are the basics of photography, still difficult to master.

Note that colours just don't enter my photography. I don't see them in my viewfinder, nor in live view. I saw the dog and the girl before pulling the camera, still I don't remember that she was a young lady in red.

Colours are just too complicated.

I don't understand them. And I have no time to think about them while shooting.

By the way. Of the few comments I got on this one on Flickr, all of those who mentioned the colour problem found that the B&W was the one they like the most.


R0013060.tif by Sigfrid Lundberg, on Flickr

In landscape photography you have plenty of time. I do often shoot landscape in colour. In particular when it is fog, rain or snow. I.e., good photo weather.

R0013060.JPG by Sigfrid Lundberg, on Flickr

But snow is often increasing the contrast, and that can accentuated by making black & white. As in this example.


R0013720.tif by Sigfrid Lundberg, on Flickr

The comments in Flickr about these two versions of the same flower shots two said that they liked the black and white better than the colour one.

A general rule

When a subject contains vidid colours, I invariably transform the photo to black and white. If there are few I usually preserve colour. Unless there is special conditions that make me feel that the colours are important. For instance, when the subject contains vivid colours.


Subscribe to Stuff from Sigfrid LundbergSubscribe to my stuff

stuff by category || year


My name is Sigfrid Lundberg. The stuff I publish here may, or may not, be of interest for anyone else.

On this site there is material on photography, music, literature and other stuff I enjoy in life. However, most of it is related to my profession as an Internet programmer and software developer within the area of digital libraries. I have been that at the Royal Danish Library, Copenhagen (Denmark) and, before that, Lund university library (Sweden).

The content here does not reflect the views of my employers. They are now all past employers, since I retired 1 May 2023.

Creative Commons License
This entry (On colour) within Sigfrid Lundberg's Stuff, by Sigfrid Lundberg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.