Behind the Scenes of the B&W Challenge

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Learning Through Challenges

I was recently challenged on Instagram by Natasha Riggs to post 7 B&W images of my life. No People. No Explanations.  It is not something I would normally readily agree to but I surprised myself as to how interesting the challenge became.  The first seven images in this post are those I selected for the challenge and I will remain true to it's concept and not give too many further details.  What I will say is I added a self imposed constraint to only use images that I had not previously produced in black and white.  The images, as chosen, spanned my life from some of my earliest conscious thoughts right through to my present outlook on life and time spent with my wife on Skye.

As a balance I have, in this post, included 7 further images for which I have given a little more detail.  A couple of them I have been asked by people, who know my work, why they weren't included.

I am currently undertaking a similar challenge by providing photographs from 1-15 of a rugby union team.  Again just going through an archive and re-visiting images with perhaps a new perspective has proved a rewarding and enjoyable experience.  I will no doubt post 'my team' after I have completed the challenge on Instagram.

Beinn Alligin is the mountain after which my Wife and I named our company and also the first big mountain we climbed together. It naturally therefore holds many special memories for me and it is a mountain I have many photographs of. This black and white image was first commissioned for a great friend and colleague who wanted something in black and white at a time when I did very little other than colour images. I have since used the same image in B&W as a Christmas Card and therefore by my own rules it was excluded from the challenge.
Looking across to snow covered mountains on the mainland at Morar. We regularly have seascapes viewable from the house which almost do not need converting into black and white as they are naturally monochrome. I have always loved the sense of wildness in this image and it transports me outdoors to the very many dark and windy days spend at one with nature.
Water - an image captured at "The Fairy Pools' on Skye is another that was commissioned by a great friend but it was also one of my first images that I captured in my mind in black and white. Water and mountains have played such a major part in my life it would have been good to have included but alas my self imposed rules excluded it from selection.

Three images representing travel, rugby and home could all have been included in the challenge but lost out as I tried to strike a balance with the limitation of only selecting 7 images.  It was the time spent making the trade offs that made the challenge for me. Looking back I remain comfortable with the choices I made but perhaps an 8 image challenge would have been easier!

Eilean Donan Castle is probably the most photographed castle in Scotland. It definitely is in the Highlands, Edinburgh Castle might run it close for the overall title. This image taken at night when the temperature was well below freezing is one that I love in colour and was surprised how well it converted to black and white. If I had been able to have had an eighth image it would probably have been included. Decisions, decisiosn but a great challenge so despite by initial reluctance, thank you Natasha.

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