What to shoot in Black & White
infrared if you’ve an infrared filter or a camera that’s been converted to record infrared light, black & white photography is your ally. colour infrared photography can be difficult to do well, so most people remove the colour casts by converting to mono to create illuminant black & white landscapes. it’s a technique to try during spring and summer when you can shoot in full sun and include green foliage or grass, with plenty of sky and cloud. any greens are rendered chalky white, whilst blue water and sky appears practically black.
long exposures if black & white landscapes are about capturing mood rather than reality, coastlines are perfect. their natural minimalism is ideal for the simplicity of monochrome and the scope for artistic treatment is huge. filters are well placed, especially neutral density types, for lengthening exposures and reducing the sea to a smooth blur or mist. you could also fill a third of the frame with sky to capture the streaks of passing clouds. some nd filters do tinge an image with a cast, which is one more reason to develop your black & white skills.
Minimalist snowy scenes and backlit landscapes each have potential for strong, graphic mono images due to their high contrast and muted colour. sometimes you’ll need to help your camera to expose correctly by using positive or negative exposure compensation to retain this contrast. for instance, to avoid a snowy scene looking grey, add a stop of positive compensation – it will have the benefit of making stark trees almost silhouette. for backlit scenes, however, where you want a silhouette, let the camera do the work and use multi- zone metering.
HDR Black & white isn't usually affiliated with HDR as much as colour, but it should be. Bracketing exposures and blending them in Photoshop, or dedicated HDR software, like Aurora HDR or Photomatix, is a brilliant way of expanding dynamic range to reveal detail and achieve better contrast. Set your camera to shoot bracketed exposures (- 1EV, 0, + 1EV) or you can create a multiple exposure from a single Raw file by saving an adjusted version of the same file, before merging into a HDR image and converting to black & white.