Walking by the Tweed on Sunday afternoon, hazy cloud muted the colours of the landscape, turning a riverside view into an image which might have come from a faded, 1960s postcard.


Converting the photo to black and white makes the image timeless but in shades of grey the similar tones of stone and grass lose definition.

Jude’s 2020 Photo Challenge #34 asks us to take a picture in colour, then convert it to black and white and compare the two. ‘Show both images for comparison. Which is best? Does the image rely on colour for impact?’

There’s not much to choose between these two images but on balance I think the original is more successful than the black and white version.


This view, taken a little further upstream on a brighter day, converts more successfully.  The main subject is the row of water worn wooden posts which have a sculptural quality, not dependant on colour. Even so, the colour in the original photo helps to make sense of the distant landscape so yes, to me that one looks best.


In spring and autumn colour is an essential element of a woodland view.  Late summer green doesn’t have the zing of spring or the richness of autumn so is it essential to this image?


Another take it or leave it image.  The original is almost monochrome so doesn’t lose anything in conversion to black and white.  Is it improved? I’m not sure.


This misty image doesn’t have much colour in it but does lose something in conversion to black and white.  The warm brown of the twig, the hazy colour in the background and the tiny red point of the bud all add life to the picture.


I had to look back two years to find an image that was definitely improved by conversion to black and white.  The yellow line distracts from the interlocking pattern of the shadows and the image is better without it.


And looking back to summer 2016 in the Jardin du Luxembourg, the young girl’s pink dress and hat made an eye-catching focal point to this picture but the algal green of the pond water was a distraction.  The black and white version is more restful on the eye.

Much as I admire the classic quality of a skillful black and white image, my own pictures seem mostly to rely on colour.

Click on an image for a closer view.