This is the beach below where we live, Black Rock Beach, at dawn and at low tide. We are looking South West here down the coast to Penhalt Cliff, Millook Haven and The Dizzard.
Apart from the early morning the sun is usually behind the black rock from most viewpoints, placing it in silhouette with its east face in shadow, and the rock does indeed appear black; see, for example, the sunset shot here: Black Rock Beach, Widemouth Bay.
Something of the damage … hmmm, probably not the right word … ‘changes’ that have occurred to our beaches due to the Atlantic storms this winter can be seen here. All the foreground rock has been exposed. It is bright orange (you can see that in the before/after slider below), which is the colour of freshly exposed Culm sandstone; it weathers very quickly to grey once uncovered. The beaches are now starting to get some of their sand back though I think it could be a couple of years before they look like they did at the beginning of the autumn.
I didn’t take this image with any great hopes for it; I was actually out to test a new firmware upgrade on the E-M1, more of which soon. When I got home I found the lines in the composition quite pleasing so decided to post it as a black and white conversion.
Black Rock Beach, Bude, Cornwall, UK
Camera: Olympus E-M1
Lens: Olympus M 12-40 mm f/2.8
Focal Length: 12mm
Shutter Speed: 1/200s
It may seem counterintuitive but I find that much of the work in a monochrome conversion occurs in colour. Without getting good colour separation and contrast in RGB and LAB first it is difficult to get the subtle tonal gradations that one looks for in a black and white image. A fair amount of tweaking of the colour in LAB, with Color Efex Pro and Viveza was done before the black and white conversion took place in Alien Skin Exposure. This was based on a Kodak T-Max 100, with a green filter, orthochromatic colour sensitivity, some contrast changes via a curve, and creamy highlights toning.