Tutorial: Black and White Possibilities Evolve

Traditionally, our black and white photography was tonally driven by the evolving sensitively of light recording film and paper. 

The patina of a Daguerreotype, the delicacy of the ambrotype, the orthochromatic films (blind to red) of the mid-nineteenth century yielding white skies from blue, modern panchromatic films more sensitive to the human spectrum. Those images were, of course, then exaggerated by the use of red filters to darken those same blue skies, and careful use of the Zone System to further drive black and white tonality into the user's taste for drama. 

Of course, modern photogaphy also offered black and white infrared, which was strange and beautiful with its white glowing green trees, dark skies and black eyes..

We now find ourselves in yet another new era of black and white, subjective and powerful tonal translation from color to BW with such tools as the Black and White Adjustment Layer in Photoshop. With multiple conversion layers, each masking a differ area of the image, a selective and user adjustable BW translation is now easily possible with wild and sometime wonderful results.

I say wonderful, fully aware of my conservative use of color for realism and subtly, while seeing the seduction of the unreal BW renderings of photography now free to became even more interpretive.

We don't see in BW anyway, so why not play, and it's a perfect opportunity to tell the viewer what you did while taking them on a magical mystery tour.