COLOUR is wonderful in a photograph. It adds warmth and flesh and tone. But black and white photographs have their own power, too. Leach away all the many shades of the rainbow, and you are left with something that is starker and more austere. It emphasises form and pattern and structure, but also mood and atmosphere.

When we challenged Press Camera Club members to take black and white photographs for their November competition, we wondered whether some would simply take colour photos without the colour.

We needn't have worried. The entries which flooded in demonstrated that club members were fully aware of the potential of the format.

We think the seven finalists here are a good representation of that. The shadows in Sue Walker's Shadowland wouldn't have been as threatening in colour: and Brian Laughton's photograph of an abandoned shed - all subtle light and shade - would likewise have lost much of its atmosphere. We loved the structure and pattern in Sue Gabbatiss' and Barney Sharratt's photos, while Paul Anthony White's cat is pure alley.

Our runner-up spot went to Sue Oliver's abstract close-up of an 'ammunition chain' - a perfect example of the way black and white photography emphasises form.

But our winner just had to be Annette Varley's 'I'm ready and waiting...'. The black and white format emphasises the grain of the wooden fence behind, and the classic composition of the picture. But it is the dog's eager expression that really makes it. You can hear him (or her?) talking to you... Wonderful stuff, Annette.

Stephen Lewis