How to Shoot… Black & White – Landscapes, Symmetry and Pattern
The quickest and easiest way to add mood to a landscape image is to convert it to black & white. The need to rely on the shape, form and texture of an image is also good training for any landscape shot. You need a strong foreground interest, leading lines and plenty of detail all through the shot. A mono landscape is easier to push to extremes too, using dodging and burning to darken skies and lighten foreground where needed.
A long exposure shot of Hammersmith Bridge in London. Shot on a Nikon D50, 46sec at f/18
A dark and brooding sky with a solitary figure in the distance. Shot on a Canon EOS 350D, 1/200sec at f/11
Symmetry and pattern
The starkness of black & white often lends itself well to graphical images. Use this to your advantage by finding lines, shapes or repeating patterns. A simple telegraph pole can create an almost abstract being, if shot from the right angle. Symmetry is another great subject; look for reflections or naturally occurring shapes that mirror themselves and place the divide right across the middle of the frame.
The texture from the bark of a tree can make an interesting mono subject. Canon G11, 1/160sec at f/4.5