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After working on a few of my images, I confirmed what I already suspected. Yosemite looks better in black and white. The reason for this, as Mr. Adams clearly knew, is that you can make much larger image adjustments without destroying the image. The color image below was enhanced as much as I can stand. Adjusting things further would result in an obviously manipulated image.

This color version looks ok, right?

Wondering what I mean by obviously manipulated? Have a look at this wacky example. (If, on the other hand, you think it’s sorta cool, you can see more of Stephen Wilkes’s work here.)

Now, the black and white version.

Much better, right?

You can see the difference in the sky immediately. I made a few more adjustments to the contrast and some shadow detail here and there. These things were not really possible in the color image.

Yosemite looks better in black and white than it does in reality. The view from the highway just before the tunnel.
Beauty in black and white.

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