Black & White Sunday: Shape (response to Guest challenge)



To quote today’s guest challenger Debbie Smyth:

“For me the most important point about monochrome is that by removing the distraction of colour, the photographer is able to direct the viewer to the key elements of the image.  Going monochrome is one of several tools we have as a photographer that allows us to provide focus.”

I’m going to show you three edits of the same photo I took recently. One is as shot which in this example looks very much like a sepia.

sibica dim as shot

The second one has added colours which is diverting the viewer’s eye from the shape of the subject.

sibica dim

And the third one is monochrome – pure black and white photo. I hope that these three examples illustrate what Debbie had in mind for this challenge.

smoke shape


Follow Debbie’s lead and think about the photos you have taken in colour and try to see what they would like in black & white. Leave links to your “Shape” post and I will display them both here and on Debbie’s Guest Post.



Here come great responses to this challenge. Please click on the titles bellow:

Shapes by Suzanne

Shape by Ese

A weekend tree

Shape by Klara

Tish’s response


72 Comments on “Black & White Sunday: Shape (response to Guest challenge)

    • Hello Tina, it seems that there are more than “just you” that have voted for sepia. I admire your work and your opinion matters. Thank you kindly for your input.


  1. I truly feel the shape of the match and especially the smoke is much more distinct in the sepia photo. But that’s just my eye. The color version is quite lovely as well.


    • 🙂 Hello Angeline. First of all let me tell you how happy I am when I see you on my blog. I am sorry I did not upload poll for this one. I think that each edit had approximately the same number of voters. This has been a very interesting challenge 🙂


  2. I think I’m going to stick my neck out on b&w Sunday, and prefer the sepia shot. Dare I? It’s almost monochrome and I’m a sucker for gold. However, the real point is the way you capture the shapes of the evanescent, the lazy whirls and whorls and coils and interweaving of smoke. And yes, the b&w does that best. Thank you for Sunday morning pleasure in a city far from home.


  3. What a terrific selection of photos – I agree with your analysis though I do like them all – the middle one is intriguing.


  4. I like them all very much but my favourite has to be the top sepia one. I wonder if I would have preferred the black and white one if I had looked at it first?


  5. I am really fascinated by the way you play with fire, Paula! 🙂 Fabulous photos…every single shade of them!
    Must admit, though black used to be my favourite colour, I am a fan of the mix of different vivid tones AND of the second photo here. That being said, in the monochrome my focus does…calm down a bit, making it possible to notice the tiny details of the match and movement of the smoke I hadn’ t before.


  6. This is such an interesting challenge. Your take, Paula, really makes us LOOK. And though it seems counter-intuitive in so many ways, the B & W version is certainly the most striking (excuse pun). 🙂


    • Ciao Anna 🙂 I was really interested to hear what everybody had to say. I can see that the votes are divided in almost equal parts between all three. Ti ringrazio 🙂


  7. Amazing what a difference colour makes. My favourite in this series is the second. I think the hints of colour brings a little more atmosphere into the photo, I think. Makes one think of hazy smoke.


  8. amazing photo and great edits. although each is beautiful in its own way, i guess my favorite would be the first one. simplicity of monochrome with a hint of gold.
    now this was “in-coordination” big time!!! I went this morning to feed friend’s cat – took my pocket camera -“au cas où” (one never knows 🙂 ). saw 3 incredibly bizarrely burnt candles on her table. took a few sloppy photos and returned home. than i checked sunday challenges and realized candles would make a great choice for todays theme. you don’t think i didn’t return? :-). with my nikkor 50mm.
    and i took your approach and presented in color with stronger contrast and graduated filter and some kind of BW.


    • Fantastic, Tish. Really fantastic. I am really drawn to each of them, but if I have to choose between a B&W and sepia here, I’ll go with B&W. Thank you for yet another great response. I hope that Debbie will stop by soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. the music matched the images and feel of the post P – well done – and truly beautiful.
    I also really like the quote from deb and the 3 images – and I am glad I came here when I had time to pause and enjoy – ❤


    • Finally someone who can’t decide which one works best. You know how much I appreciate your view, buddy Thank you 🙂


  10. One of the best posts on analytical examination on focus and filter/monochrome effects. Great job, Paula. You displayed this very well.


  11. Pingback: Black & White Sunday : Shape (Guest challenge by Debbie Smyth) | acbistro

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