PlainSky, Nebraskans Bales and Storm: Color or Black and White?

I’ll be honest. I’m shocked about the response to Bales and Storm: The photograph had laid ignored in a folder, and I skipped over it several times, saying, “Meh, it’s nothing anyone will find interesting.” Clearly, I should be “taken out back of the barn and shot.”

Yesterday, after raving about how much she liked the Bales and Storm black and white image, someone talked with me about whether or not I had the image in color; I said no, since my landscapes in the PlainSky, Nebraskans project have been exclusively black and white images. But, in the interest of discussion, I prepped a color version, and am posting the two images here for comparison. Tell me what you think.

Bales and Storm (Color)

Bales and Storm (Color)

Bales and Storm (Black and White)

Bales and Storm (Black and White)


  1. Brett,
    This probably won’t come as a surprise to you, given what you’ve seen of my work and what I like about yours, but I don’t like the color version. Nope. Not one bit. The hole in the clouds that I like in the B&W version is distracting in the color one – that patch of blue seems wrong. The round bales pop more in the B&W, too.


  2. Brett,

    Black and white give me a better sense of space. I’m able to follow the bales to the horizon, when I try to do the same in the color version I get distracted by the highlights on the distant clouds. The shadows are more interesting in black and white as well. You’ve certainly set a standard for your project and your landscape work is immediately recognizable to me in black white, I get a distinct ‘Brett Erickson’ impression. When I look at them side by side I realize the color doesn’t work for me because it was never meant to be color. It was meant to be a Brett Erickson black and white impression of the landscape and should remain as such. Just my thoughts.


  3. This is a tough choice. As much as I love the B&W…..I think the color wins it for me. I love the color of the hay fields as a grounding point for the photo. The shading/shadows seem more distinct in the color shot too. And I love the spot o’ blue in the sky. It always signals “hope” to me!
    I just plain love Nebraska. Heading to Omaha for Thanksgiving! 😉

    1. Judy, thanks for the help. I think I’ll end up offering a very small number of the color, compared to a larger number for the black and white. Maybe. I’m not the least bit indecisive. Or am I? I can’t make up my mind. 🙂

    1. Thanks, my friend- I agree. Ansel Adams was one of my inspirations, and I always seem to be drawn to the black and white print as a result.

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