Expert Critique: Reviewing B&W Landscapes

"Basalt Columns, Ohira Bay, Chatham Islands" by Judi Lapsley Miller

Let's start with the things that are done beautifully in this photograph. The composition is well balanced making it very pleasing to the eye. The highlights in the sky are not blown out which shows a good dynamic range and last but not least, the whole image is in focus which means that the aperture used was specifically chosen for that purpose.

Now onto the things that could be improved...

Black and White Filter

Black and white filters in landscape photography aren’t as popular as colour ones but they can look fantastic when used properly. The problem with the filter here is that there are so many fine details like the rocks and the sea that when the colour is stripped away from the photo, it looks hard in the areas further from the camera. If there was colour, the photo would have been more “legible” since it would be separated not only by tones but also hues. A good way to try and mitigate this when wanting to use a black and white filter is to shoot a longer exposure to smooth out the sea and relieve pressure from the image.


Another thing that is immediately noticed when looking at this photo is the harsh shadows. There’s nothing wrong with darker shadows but here they “pollute” the photo and carry no important information. Lighter shadows might soften up the image a bit and make it more pleasing to look at.


A great capture with no technical flaws regarding the image settings used. The post-processing has some areas that could be improved but all in all, a very stunning shot.

© Excio