Once again we revisit one of my favorite subjects, Motorsports in black and white. His time we will look at subject matter. Which of the photos you have taken will look compelling in black and white. When you look at black and white photos of the past, shot by some of the greatest photographers such as Ansel Adams, Gordon Parks, and Walker Evans, you can’t help but think that the subject matter seems to have been made for the medium in which it was shot. After all color film had been around for some time, and these photographers could well have afforded to use it if they were so inclined.
Landscape, portrait, and street photography are some mediums that benefit most from black and white. Motorsports is quite a different matter. Just any old shot shot from anywhere trackside will not translate well into black and white.
When I go through shots from an event, I look for certain criteria to determine if I can produce a compelling black and white image with it. The first, and most important is how many, or few distracting elements are in the foreground, but mostly in the background. Second, is it a dynamic shot that will draw peoples attention. Or will it just look like a car on a track. Third is the color, and livery on the car or bike. Wild multicolor liveries will just turn into a mess leaving the viewers eye wandering looking for a focal point which they will likely not find. So I tend to avoid these. Every so often I will look at a shot on the the cameras screen and know right away that I will convert it to black and white.
As with most things about photography, it’s all up to the eye, and taste of the person who presses the shutter. I can only offer my own personal views and options.