Black and White Photo Challenge

Perhaps you have seen people on Facebook recently accepting a five-day black and white photography challenge, and wondered what it was all about.  Since Facebook is a great place to share photos, the challenge is a way for people to post daily, and share their artistic black and white images.  I was challenged by two of my photography friends that I met on my Iceland trip last year, so I took the plunge.

Day one I posted this photo of the Space Needle during its 50 year anniversary celebration. I used Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro to play with the hues, and with their U Point technology I could selectively restore the color to highlight the gold.

Space Needle Gold

Space Needle Gold

Day two I posted a photo I took during a Rick Sammon Oregon Coast workshop I attended a couple of years ago.  We were heading out for the beach at 6 am when we came across this lake, saw the reflections, pulled over, and grabbed our cameras to get some shots before the sun came up.  It was magical.  Once again I used Silver Efex Pro.

Early Morning Reflections

Early Morning Reflections

Day three I posted a fun shot from the same workshop, after a foggy photo shoot on the beach in Bandon, Oregon.  This photo generated a number of comments, such as “the invasion of the Martians” and “a family of aliens out for a day on the beach.” I used Topaz Adjust to get this effect.

Tripods Walking

Tripods Walking

Day four I shared a photo from my many Camera Walking experiences on Whidbey Island. There is an old farmhouse in Freeland that is surrounded by a rustic fence, which I enjoy capturing in color, and in black and white.  I processed this with Silver Efex Pro, a part of the Nik Software suite.

Whidbey Island Fence

Whidbey Island Fence

Day five, and the final day of the challenge, I posted another photo from Bandon.  The entire time we were there it was hazy and clear shots were hard to get.  I came across this man and his dog, and thought it was a perfect moment to capture.  I again used Silver Efex Pro, and I added a border to give it more pop.

Best Friends

Best Friends

During the five-day challenge, I found that I was able to connect with my friends, most of whom accepted the challenge, and posted photos that brought back memories.  As one of my Facebook friends said, “I live for color, but I will accept the challenge.”  I too love to capture and post colorful photos, but this challenge gave me an opportunity to showcase the beauty of a black and white image.  It was a fun experience.

If you primarily take photos in color, as I do, consider challenging yourself to experiment with shots that can be transformed into black and white.  Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Shoot in color:  I know that sounds strange, but by shooting in color you have more options later when processing your photo, such as I did with my first photo of the Space Needle.

Think in black and white: Contrast, form, and shape are more important when you are shooting black and white images. My fence photo is a good example of that.

Use post processing software:  With the many options available in Lightroom, Photoshop, or with plugins, Topaz Labs and my favorite, Nik Software, you can transform your photo into a dramatic image.


Florence, Oregon Lighthouse

So grab your camera, and challenge yourself to a taking black and white photos for five days to spice up your walks.  As always, while out Camera Walking remember to walk briskly in between the stops you make to take your photos.  Let us know about your black and white Camera Walking experience by commenting below, posting on our Facebook page, or sending us an email at  We would love to hear from you!


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