Category Archives: B&W Photography

Iconic Grand Tetons

Grand Tetons – Oxbow Bend

This is one of those “Iconic Views” of the Grand Tetons taken from Oxbow Bend of the Snake River.  I think every photographer who has visited the Tetons has taken an image from here.

In the early morning when I drove by this spot, the mountains were covered with clouds.  I came back in the early afternoon when the landscape was covered with mid day sun,  Even though the lighting was not the best, I saw tonality differences between the trees, river, mountains, and sky.  I thought B&W would work.

How Fragile Basalt Can Be

Columnar Basalt Remains – Yellowstone National Park

I think of basalt as a hard, stable volcanic rock created from lava flows.  Columnar basalt is formed when lava cools slowly.  It forms multi-sided vertical columns as it cools.  These columns are characterized by horizontal fractures.  When the columns are exposed to rushing water, the water carves out these fractures and the columns collapse. This image illustrates the vertical basalt columns as well as the collapsed column residuals.

Ansel Adams’ Grand Tetons

Grand Tetons and Snake River

Ansel Adams shot one of his great photographs from this spot.  His image showed much more of the Snake River.  The trees have grown significantly to block part of the view that Ansel witnessed.

I shot this in mid-afternoon in hard sunlight.  The colors in the scene were all washed out. Bus loads of people were wandering all about taking snapshots.  I had to wait until the busses loaded up to get to a good vantage point. I was in no hurry   I knew that I could still get a good black and white image, so I took my time.  I shot multiple exposures focusing on the sky, mountains, and foreground trees.  I blended the different exposures together to get this image. I am no Ansel, but I bet he did similar dodging and burning to create his image.

For reference, below is Ansel’s original print.

ANSEL ADAMS (1902-1984)
Grand Tetons and the Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, 1942
gelatin silver print, printed 1960s, flush-mounted on wood
30 5/8 x 45 1/8in. (77.8 x 114.5cm.)

According to current research, this is one of nine mural prints of this image in existence and one of only six in this size, with print dates ranging from 1952 to 1973. This magnificent, extraordinarily rare example was probably printed in the early 1960s.  In 2010, this photograph realized $338,500 in a Christie’s auction.

Grand Tetons: Mormon Barn, the Next Day

Grand Tetons –  Mormon Barn (60mm)

I told you, the Tetons were behind the barn.  The next day the clouds lifted revealing the brilliant mountains.  I shot multiple images with different focal lengths and lenses. I did not care for the results with a wide angle because it subjugated the Tetons behind the barn.  I did like the perspective of a larger telephoto which brought the mountains up for a dramatic perspective.

Mormon Barn (100mm)

It is amazing what a different feeling this perspective gives. The barn is now dwarfed by the grandeur of the Tetons.

I enjoy working a subject from different perspectives without being rushed to get to the next scene.  Sometimes it pays of, sometimes it doesn’t.

Yellowstone: The Edge

Upper Mammoth Hot Springs

Mist steamed from the hot spring water even though the ambient temperature was around 90 degrees,  The water flowed over a series of small cascades over the edges of the basin down to the valley below.  The cascades stood out from the mountains across the valley.

I converted this image to black and white to emphasize the water and the edge of the bluff.  It represents the feeling that I had when gazing over the edge.

Yellowstone: Grand Prismatic Spring – Lines 1

Grand Prismatic Spring -Mineral Flats

As the hot mineral water flows out of the spring, it creates a series of mineral flats.  This perspective  was a flat grey.  I decided to convert it  to black and white, add contrast, and apply a slight gradient across the image..

Water, Rocks, and Moss

Water, Rocks, and Moss

The textures and shapes of this little stream against moss-covered rocks caught my eye.  I blurred the flow of the water to capture the soft feeling of this little stream.  Color was not important, in fact, it detracted from the feeling I had.  Converting to black and white made the image for me.

Textures

The textures of the various plants, moss, and rock caught my eye.  The hardness of the rock, the softness of the moss, the glossy smoothness of the the blade-type plant coupled with the variegated shades of the three-leafed plant attracted me.  I converted to B&W to focus on the various tonalities and textures.  Just experimenting …

The Clouds Came In

Snow Mountain Ranch – Dark Cloud Starkness

As the afternoon progressed, dark clouds started to come in.  The atmosphere of the day changed from bright wildflowers to stark dead sagebrush.  It was a sign to start heading back to the trail head.  It was a very special day, a day of seeing, a day of reflecting.  I look forward to future visits.