Simply B&W Tutorial #1 - Using coloured filters by James Moore

Simply B&W Colored Filters

Simply B&W has recently received a (long overdue) update in the App Store. For many of you who have used the app before, you may already know about the coloured digital filters available to manipulate your images. It's long been standard practice for many Black and White photographers to shoot with coloured filters over the end of the lens. This may seem odd to those of you new to the idea of adding a coloured filter when shooting in Black and White. However such filters can dramatically change or enhance an image as the filtration has effect on certain parts of the image, and the filters too generally are dependent on the subject being photographed.

Within Simply B&W there are simulations of such filters, without the need to process film so you can instantly see how the various colours can have an effect on your images. It's a great way to experiment and find the best filter effect that suits the tone you wish to create. Dependent on subject the variation can be quite dramatic, as can be seen in the image as shown above.

Original image showing vivid colours and texture.
Original image showing vivid colours and texture.

For detail in this particular tutorial, I will use a simple image shot much closer to home here in Scotland. Simple in composition, the palette is limited but there is a variety of textures which will serve well to illustrate the effects of the coloured filters. Shot on a sunny day it has hight contrast, vivid colour with striking white jetstream clouds in the sky.

Yellow filter applied
Yellow filter applied
Orange filter applied
Orange filter applied

Yellow and orange filters

The primary filter of choice when shooting in black and white as it is generally useful for darkening skies and emphasising clouds with increased contrast. Whilst yellow filters darken blues, they will lighten greens, yellows, red and oranges. Orange filters render similar visual effects although slightly stronger yet not as bold and dramatic as those given by a red filter.

Red filter applied
Red filter applied

Red filters

A red filter will markedly increase contrast between certain colours such as blues and greens in relation to lighter tones and highlights. Blue skies will be rendered almost in black with bright white clouds, adding instant drama to skies and landscape images. This increased contrast emphasises texture and detail in buildings and undulating surfaces where there is a degree of tonal variation. Reds too are lightened significantly, so interesting effects can be achieved when photographing strongly red coloured objects such as post boxes here in the UK or red flowers, making them appear lighter in tone.

Green filter applied
Green filter applied

Green filters

Green filters are great for capturing detail in foliage, as they lighten the overall scene and enhance surface details. This is particularly useful for example, on organic structures such as buds and leaves. They make great enhancers to macro photographs picking out subjects such as insects from a natural green backdrop. Portraits too make good subjects for the use of green filters. Blemishes and skin tones are flattened out making for more flattering images.

Blue filter applied
Blue filter applied

Blue filters

Limited in application, blue filters can be used to inverse effect of red and yellow/orange filters. Lightening skies and darkening natural tones they can be used to effect to separate layers of water, sky and foliage in complex landscapes. The darkening effect too can vividly increase contrast in certain scenes or add an interesting effect to a portrait.


There is no right or wrong; and while there are recommendations for application above, there are no hard and fast rules on where you should use coloured filters. Don't be afraid to try the range of colours on your images and decide for yourself which enhances to the atmosphere of your image.

The option to create presets or 'Bookmarked Edits' which allow you to enhance images with one-touch has been added, so you can try out a range of tonal manipulations in conjunction to the filters to experiment with interesting effects.

Of course filtration alone won't automatically make a poorly composed photograph better, but the awareness of how light reacts in varying conditions will help you to see shade, texture and tone in a new light (pun intended).  In upcoming posts we can look at ideas for shooting with black and white photography; and essentially explore the ways we can use tone and shape to define our images.

Great points of reference for Black and White photography, where I have drawn inspiration from include the works of  Ansel AdamsHenri Cartier-Bresson, Diane ArbusMan Ray, Don McCullin, Harry Benson, Helmut Newton although there are many more on Magnum Photos

SimplyB&W is FREE on the App Store for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.


BerryCam Express is now available. Get it for your Raspberry Pi on Github. by James Moore

BerryCam Express

BerryCam Express for Raspberry Pi is now available. This initial release allows you to control the camera on your Pi directly from any networked device including iOS, Android, Windows Mobile or your desktop or laptop PC. Timelapse functionality will follow shortly which means you can control your time-lapse tin can cam and we're exploring adhoc network connectivity so you can use it anywhere.

Pop over to for more information and to download the source code from the Github repo.

Coming Soon… BerryCam Express – control your Raspberry Pi camera from ANY Device. by James Moore

BerryCam with themes on iPad and Android

It's been amazing to see what everybody has been doing with BerryCam and I am absolutely delighted with the support and enthusiasm everybody has shown for the app itself. But there was always one thing missing and that was support for all platforms including Android, Windows Mobile or even just your average desktop or laptop. And it wasn't truly open. For new features, they needed to be asked for. And with limited time I was finding it difficult to implement them all...

Nexus 7 running BerryCam Express

So I came to a decision; one that was quite easy to make. End the development lifecycle of the current BerryCam iOS App, refactor the code into a super slim HTML/KnockoutJS web app hosted directly on the Pi and give everybody the chance to run it on any device they wish.

BerryCam TimelapseAnd at the same time, introduce a whole new pile of improvements including timelapse support with time-window capture and user definable capture intervals.  Essentially it's BerryCam and the time-lapse  script merged into one app; with the same easy-to-use front end.

What this does mean, is that inevitably support for the native iOS app will be ended, and in turn the app will be withdrawn from the App Store in a few weeks. But this new version will be so much more easy to set up and use on any device you wish.

And for all you hackers out there; it will be fully open source. So you can continue to enjoy Pi Photography and customise it to your own needs.

Talking of customisation; there's also a pile of new themes that allow you to skin up your app the way you like it. Again, there are no limits to what you can do here and I look forward to seeing pimped-up or super sleek UIs for the app in the future! All the LESS source is part of the app package which will be put up onto the repo soon.

Again, thanks everybody for the support. I'll post an update with the repo links and instructions once it's all finalised! -- Jim

Introducing LEDBorg Express by James Moore


One of the most common questions related to my Raspberry Pi projects is whether or not there is planned availability for Android devices. I'm now looking at doing this from now on for any Pi projects using a more flexible Python-driven web-application base. Starting off with the original LEDBorg app, I have now pushed a web version to the repo. This application lives on the Pi and can be accessed from any device on the same network. This includes any desktop or laptop, smartphone or tablet and as long as it has internet connectivity and a decent browser it will work.

In the coming weeks I'll be doing the same for BerryCam combining its functionality with the Timelapse Camera ensuring that it continues to develop as the various operating systems evolve and extending the app's reach to our friends using Android, Blackberry and Windows Mobile.

You can get the full build of LEDBorg Express on the Repo at