My first love, photographically speaking, was black and white. When I first started in photography, color wasn't nearly as pervasive as it is today...I've thought about it and I can't remember my dad ever shooting with color film. He was my first influence...not just in photography, of course, but in most aspects of my life. My first photographer heroes were all known for their black and white work and many of them thought color was just a detraction from the art. Color is beautiful, glorious, true to life and has a vibrancy about it. Black and white?...well, black and white is art! Black and white is all about luminance, contrast and tonality...color is all about color. With the advent of digital photography, b&w is not so popular anymore but, truth be known, digital can open up new methods to continue the pursuit of the medium. In the old days, you had three opportunities for making the decisions that would define the image...exposure of the film, development of the film and printing. The old rule of thumb was expose for the shadows, develop for the highlights and print...well the printing stage was more or less the fine tuning of the process. Basically, the same rules apply today, especially the part about exposing for the shadows. You should always be careful not to underexpose the shadows. Once those details are gone, they're gone...forever. The highlights, though, are a different story...if they're a bit over-exposed, most of those details can be brought back in development...just don't get carried away, there ARE limits.. I could go on and on about this but I'll have mercy and shut up. I think I'll concentrate on black and white for a few days just to see what I can do...another old rule of thumb that still holds true: If you're a good black and white photographer, you'll be a good color photographer...almost by default...but the inverse is not necessarily true!