Mangroves in Black and White (Film)

One thing I like about black-and-white photography is that it allows you to see reality in a different way. When stripped of color, the world turns into shapes, forms, and textures. There is more to see when there is less.

It also frees the image, allowing you to create a new reality. Such as upside down being right side up.

Which way is up?

It’s what pleases me, what I find more interesting. And there’s no color to distract.

But I will concede some realism to keep us grounded.

These images were made using film, I believe Ilford XP2, which is a black-and-white film processed in the lab like color negatives. It was then scanned using a Fuji SP-2000 scanner. 

This week’s Lens-artists challenge is hosted by Anne of Slow Shutter Speed, who gave examples of her great work in black-and-white, and generously shared her processing workflow. She invites us to do the same.

I shoot digitally nowadays, and, like many, shoot in color then process into black-and-white. I find this convenient and it works. But somehow I can’t replicate the effect of film such as in the images above. Maybe there’s something different in the way the light is captured, or maybe I approach it differently when I shoot. I’m not saying film is better, just different, specially with black-and-white. I do miss it sometimes. I have some rolls lying around, and I think my film cameras still work, so who knows?

(Images of a mangrove forest on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines.)


  1. I know there are tools that replicate the look of film when processing digital images, but I have found them to generally be of little success.
    I do recall reading a post just recently from someone who used a digital tool that emulated Kodachrome 64. I was impressed at how the skies in his image brought back my own memories of how that film reproduced the blue in the skies. I recognized the look immediately.
    Unfortunately, I read so many posts in a day, I can’t begin to remember who wrote the blog.

    Liked by 1 person

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