Category Archives: B&W Photography

Sometimes I Just Need to Play

Bandon Beach

I just got a new B&W conversion SW plug-in (Macphun Tonality).  I picked out some photos of the beach near Bandon, Oregon to work on.  I played around to explore some of the secondary features.  After converting to B&W I added a “misty/dreamy” look.  I then added a paper texture and a vignette.  Sometimes I just need to play to get my creative juices flowing.

“Beartooth”

Beartooth Peak

The sharp peak is “Beartooth.”  It does look like a sharp tooth. I can imagine the size of the bear that would have this peak as a tooth!

As I observe the wonder of nature that surrounds me, I like to let my imagination run loose. Here, I tried to place myself in the footsteps of our Native Americans and the lore that they created to attempt to explain the life around them.  I could spend hours just sitting, seeing, and letting my mind explore.  When I do so, I tend to drive the people around me a little crazy.  Most of my creative work is done when I am by myself.

Experimenting with Moods

Pilot Peak

I am focusing on trying to create various moods with my black and white images.  This image of Pilot Peak was shot in midday light.  I added contrast along with dodging and burning to get this “late evening” mood.

The image below is processed with a B&W conversion with just a little contrast and brightness adjustment.  It captures more of the detail, but lacks feeling (my perspective).

What is your preference?

Symmetry

Beartooth Lake

One of the most beautiful scenic drives that I have been on is the Beartooth Highway from Cook City, Wyoming to Red Lodge, Montana. On the way up to the summit, I saw a small opening through the trees with a beautiful lake peeking between them.  I found a turnout and walked a short distance to see this beautiful scene.  The lake was smooth as glass, the sky was blue, and the snow beamed out its radiance.  Symmetry of the bluff reflecting in the lake was perfect.  It was mid-day, so the colors were muted.  But is was perfect for black and white.

Someday, I will be back for an early morning or late afternoon shot of the warm sun reflecting off the bluff into the lake.

Looking Up The Throat

Mt. St. Helens – North Face

This is the devastated north face of Mt. St. Helens, 37 years after it exploded on May 18, 1980.  The beautiful white symmetric Mountain cone is gone.  The evolution of our earth continues.  The last time I was up to see the mountain was five years after it erupted.  At that time, we saw the start of life returning.  How much it has changed in the 32 subsequent years.  In my next several posts, I will try to convey the changing life that has transpired.

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.