The B&W Challenge

For the last five days I’ve been having a some fun with my friends on Instagram participating in a five day black and white photo challenge. Lots of us are doing it, so it’s exciting to see how we all transform our shots into black and white.

I have to admit that when I began on Instagram this year, I did it very sceptically, sort of thinking that it would just be an experiment but I’m sure I’d hate it. More social media, no thanks. The truth is that I’m having loads of fun connecting with friends with it, plus I think it’s helping to understand more about photography and colours. Yeah, gasp!

Anyway, I was tagged to do the challenged by my lovely friend Farianti. Ok, I cheated. She was having a blast and uploading beautiful pictures so I basically asked her to tag me. Today we’ve decided that we’ll bend the rules and just continue to make more black and white photos whenever we feel like it. That’s how it should be, right?

When I was in LA this year and I met my friend, super talented photographer Patty, she gave me a piece of advice that I’ll never forget. She told that we all have very personal ways of projecting our photos into black and white, and it’s easier to make a photo into our personal black and white style from a colour photo than from an already black and white photo. Since then I’ve experimented with this, and she’s right. Since then I only take colour photos and then I edit them.

I also realised that not all photos are adequate to turn into black and white. I attempted a few and they just didn’t work. I think the best ones are the ones with sharp contrasts of dark and light colours.

Here are my five photos from the challenge. All of the photos were taken during this weekend.

Atocha train station

It all started on Friday afternoon when the weekend was formally starting and I was at Atocha train station in Madrid to catch the train back to Barcelona. I think that this part of Atocha is splendorous, though I also think I’ve never been able to capture in photo how I see it when I’m there. Still, I try sometimes when I’m there.

Trying my arbequina olives

I couldn’t stand the wait and opened one of my jars of arbequina olives, the ones with thyme. As I always feel so rushed during weekdays, I think the weekends are moments where I should take a little extra care in enjoying my food. As if I didn’t eat well most of the time… Eating your own homemade seasoned olives is supposed to be a treat. The truth is that they are still a tad bitter and should be just right in about a month or two.

Chilling at the beach

One of the great things about living in Barcelona is that you’re next to the beach. So when you’re lucky to get a sunny weekend, you can chill out for a moment at the beach.

Plazas of Barcelona

Another great thing about Barcelona are the beautiful plazas with lovely cafés. It’s too cold for my liking to sit outside now in the evening, but other brave and resistant people do it.

Through the tunnel

Lastly, and pardon the dirty windscreen, I think weekends are great for doing some sports, like those cyclists were doing. My sporty moment this weekend was swimming laps in the pool. Another thing I love about living here, or in Spain in general, is all the ancient roman architecture and ruins that surround you. Coming across ancient murals that would have once been part of fortifications with arches like this are quite common.

Thank you for reading!

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  1. Patty Nguyen 2014-11-18 at 22:10

    Ahh I love this, Sofia! I’m glad my gibberish made sense to you. Hehe! And you’re so right–some photos are gorgeous in b&w while others look terrible. I can’t wait to see more of your work! 😘

    1. Sofia 2014-11-18 at 22:16

      It made loads of sense Patty, and I still think your the best teacher in the world 🙂 Today I posted a photo of an airplane in Instagram, I tried to put that into b&w,… it did not work, except for the cloud, the rest of the photo just looked like a dark grey blur, as if you couldn’t properly make out the plane from the sky! Yep, that one was terrible! Thanks, I can’t wait to see what you come up with after your macros mondays 😉

      1. Patty Nguyen 2014-11-18 at 22:51

        You’re too kind, Sofia! Don’t you hate when a b&w conversion doesn’t work? I tried to do one with a rose today and the same thing happened. Ugly grey…bleagh!!

        1. Sofia 2014-11-18 at 23:32

          Oh phew, I thought it was just me that couldn’t work it out 😛

  2. Guillermina Stover 2014-11-18 at 22:17

    Oh. My. Goodness. Lovely, beautiful photography, Sofia. I so ADORE black and white photography (brings to mind the genius that was Ansel Adams) and here you showed such gorgeous scenes. The depth in B&W is just so amazing. And to top it all off, you exhibited photos of Spain…sob, I could just cry reminiscing of my lush, fabulous life there. Thanks from the bottom of my heart! Great job!

    1. Sofia 2014-11-18 at 22:25

      Oh well at least I got you reminiscing of Spain… xx

  3. Guillermina Stover 2014-11-18 at 22:18

    No need to apologize for the dirty windscreen. Part of life, warts and all!

    1. Sofia 2014-11-18 at 22:24

      You make me laugh Guillermina 🙂

  4. Sue 2014-11-18 at 23:19

    I think I like the Barcelona cafe photo the best but as I was scrolling through I noticed there were cool details in all of them. Food is usually better in color though!

    1. Sofia 2014-11-18 at 23:31

      Oh I agree with that, food is better in colour! xx

  5. Sunny 2014-11-19 at 01:17

    I love your IG! That photo of you on the beach made me very, VERY jealous 🙂

    1. Sofia 2014-11-19 at 09:12

      I must be quite ignorant because I just had to look up what IG is , lol. Thanks! Oh yeah, I’m sure “inland” habitants would like to be on the beach 🙂

  6. Bunny Eats Design 2014-11-19 at 04:11

    I love black and white photos in general…except for food. I guess it’s because colour is such an important part, but when you take away colour, you’re forced to look at composition, texture, light.

    One thing designers do to become better designers is to work in black and white first. Once your composition is strong, you can add colour and it will be even stronger.

    1. Sofia 2014-11-19 at 09:15

      Yeah, I think food needs its colours. I’ve posted a few dishes in b&w but it was because I was using an old camera, a night photo, the lighting was so bad and yellow there was no way. I won’t do that now because I wouldn’t even bother photographing in the first place if the conditions are too bad!
      Thats really interesting about the designers! I didn’t know! But you wouldnt need to do that now, would you? I mean you don’t do that with all the designs now?? Is that something thats part of the training at the beginning? xx

      1. Bunny Eats Design 2014-11-20 at 00:27

        I still work in black and white for logos until I nail it. But for things like brochures or posters, I would work in colour.

        I have a few party photos series taken in low lighting that just look so much better in black and white. People look great in black and white.

  7. mysimpledelights 2014-11-19 at 09:28

    Yaay! Lets bend the rules! Can’t wait to see more of your stunning black & white shots!💛

    1. Sofia 2014-11-19 at 11:47

      And I can’t wait to see yours <3

  8. dedy oktavianus pardede 2014-11-19 at 13:47

    nice shoot Sofia….
    made me tempting to take mine,
    i wonder this is my color-blind friend daily views all day long…

    1. Sofia 2014-11-21 at 18:57

      color-blind friendly… you’re too funny! 🙂

  9. Karen 2014-11-19 at 19:12

    I agree with you that some photo subject make better B & W shots than others. I think I like your outdoor cafe photo the best…makes me wish I was sitting there.

    1. Sofia 2014-11-21 at 18:56

      If you knew how cold it was you would only wish to be passing by or sitting inside the cafe instead! 😉

  10. miwa theresa 2014-11-20 at 22:54

    Lovely photos, Sofia! Black and white photography is so appealing, and so difficult too! If done wrong it can be dull, but if done right, it can be so much more dramatic than color. Your photos are making me want to do another B&W post myself 😉

    1. Sofia 2014-11-21 at 18:55

      Oh yes, please make another post, I adore your b&w photos!

  11. Dalo 2013 2014-11-23 at 12:34

    Great series of photos ~ you are really taking some excellent shots. The 1st and 3rd shots were great, both giving a great view and then were great as they are almost complete contrasts from each other as well. You have a great eye ~ look forward to seeing some more shot!

    1. Sofia 2014-11-23 at 19:59

      Am going over to your blog now because I saw you posted something this morning but your posts ALWAYS merit a look on the computer screen (not on the tiny mobile phone screen)… Do you mean the 1st shot the one at the train station? That part of Atocha train station is quite cool but I feel like I never photograph it right. The rest of the station is one of those typical confusing ugly train stations that, as one of my aunties onces quoted: they must have asked the architect to make the most confusing building to find your train in ever, and so he did.

      1. Dalo 2013 2014-11-25 at 05:00

        Yes, the first shot ~ and funny with your auntie’s quote, as I have a great skill of always getting lost (choosing the wrong platform) when it comes to finding the correct train.

        1. Sofia 2014-11-25 at 08:52

          Oh gosh when it’s a train station I’m not familiar with, me neither! I suppose that means we would be awful train companions?

  12. Indah Susanti 2014-11-23 at 23:02

    Nice photo series in black and white 😉 I like taking pictures in monochrome once a while. Now I try to make it as weekly assignment – Monday Monochrome (you can do it too if you wish 😉 ). Additionally Leanne Cole has famous weekly post as well called Monochrome Madness every Wednesday and opens for everyone to submit the bw photos.

    1. Sofia 2014-11-24 at 23:23

      Hi! Sometimes I do Macro Monday (you can too) but Monday Monochrome also sounds great. I can do that when I don’t have a macro photo, lol. I’ll check out this Monochrome Madness for Wednesdays too. Thanks for letting me know! 🙂

      1. Indah Susanti 2014-11-24 at 23:33

        🙂 Thanks – Macro Monday sounds interesting, usually I have macro underwater pics for diving posts only..will consider it. cheers!

        1. Sofia 2014-11-24 at 23:35

          macro underwater pics must be so beautiful! I’ll watch out for them. Where do you dive?

          1. Indah Susanti 2014-11-24 at 23:42

            Anywhere that has tropical seawater 😀 My next diving will be in the end of Dec so I am afraid no diving post until then..but if you are interested, you can take a look at this monthly post – (just when you have time 😉 ) Great to know you! I will check your blog regularly 😉 lots of food recipes and beautiful food photography!

            1. Sofia 2014-11-24 at 23:54

              Oh!. I’m half Indonesian in case you didnt know 😉 and I did a diving course here (in Spain). After diving in Indonesia I refuse to dive anymore in Spain just to see one brown fish… I’ll look put for your monthly post

              1. Indah Susanti 2014-11-25 at 00:18

                Oh I see. How nice 😉 Do you often visit Indonesia? Yup..diving in Indonesia is special and unique. Where did you dive? I visited Raja Ampat in June this year and it was spectacular. I love diving in Komodo and Lembeh Strait as well.

  13. Nihar Pradhan 2014-12-03 at 07:20

    Lovely black and white pictures…it is a beautiful post…


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