Category Archives: B&W Photography

There’s a Story Somewhere

Old Schoolhouse Window, Yakima Valley, WA

I love to drive around without any specific destination.  I am amazed what I have missed over the years as I have just driven from point A to point B thinking about how long it will take me to reach my destination.  This day a few weeks ago, I was just driving backroads where I had not been before … just driving along.  I saw this old school house somewhere north of Zillah (I think), I really did not where I was.  I stopped and just gazed for a while, contemplating what stories this old building amongst farm lands had to tell.  How long had it been since the last student walked through its doors?  Was it a grade school, high school, or an all inclusive country school?  After a while of just looking at it, I got out of my car and walked around with my camera.  

Many stories, many questions … time for a little research to satisfy my curiosity.

Yakima Wine Country

Yakima Valley Wine Country near Zillah, WA

On a clear day, Mt Adams prominently displays its beauty on the horizon.  Well this was not a clear day, but the rows of the various vineyards were on display against a light dusting of snow. In a couple of weeks, the Yakima Valley wine country will be bustling during the February Red Wine and Chocolate festival.  It will be a good weekend to take a break from eating wisely and indulge in the wine and chocolate. 

Winter Trees

Roadside Near Prosser, WA

Bare branches against a winter sky always catch my eye. Last week I was driving along the Interstate when I saw an interesting pattern on the Horse Heaven Hills.  I took an exit to explore with my camera.  After a little walk, I looked up and saw these tree branches against the sky.  It gave me a cold, gloomy feeling.  I couldn’t resist the opportunity.

What the ?????

“Out My Bedroom Window”

I was enjoying my morning cup of coffee, looked out the window, and saw this weird cloud formation.  I dropped everything and rushed to get my camera.  Luckily I had the right lens and was able to get a quick photo of this cloud spiral before it dissipated.  A few seconds later it was gone.  I have never seen such a cloud phenomenon.  I have no clue what could have caused it here in Eastern Washington.  I wonder if it was a mini cyclone??? 

The mysteries of nature engulf my imagination.  The more I stop to contemplate what is going around me, the more wonder I see and feel.  I feel grateful to witness such events and even more lucky if I have a camera near by.  It is time to celebrate the wonderful world around me.

History in My Backyard

Selah – Naches Irrigation Flume

A few days ago we had a light snow.  I gazed our from my kitchen window and became fixated on the wonderful piece of history in my backyard.  The snow provided a nice contrast between the irrigation flume’s wood structure and the sagebrush speckled background.

This piece of history was built in 1892 to provide irrigation water to the Selah Valley.  Over the years, much of the canal has been upgraded and the wooden flumes torn down.  I am lucky to have one of the few remaining sections above my home.  I currently get my irrigation water directly from this flume.  Sadly, it won’t be for too many additional years.  Plans are to replace this section with an underground pipe.  So until funds are available, I will enjoy what remains of our little bit of history.

Winding Walk

Gravel Walkway – Yakima Arboretum, WA

A straight line is not always the best way to get from point A to point B.  The path’s gentle bends direct my interest in multiple directions:  a beech grove to the right, a crabapple grove to the left, and a Japanese garden forward.  Each bend encourages a little side trip off the path for further exploration.

My Focus for 2019

Mighty Oak, Yakima Arboretum, WA

Over the years, I have taken multiple courses and attended many workshops to help me improve my photography skills.  I have practiced, practiced, and practiced.  I have experimented with many different techniques and processing methods.  Many times my images are only examples of different techniques and processes.  Many lack feeling or meaning.

This year, my focus will be to purposefully attempt to create the feeling/story that I am experiencing when I click the shutter.  I will attempt to use the different techniques and processes that I have learned in the past to achieve the desired end result.  I will think hard each time I click the shutter on what I am trying to accomplish.  I will continue to play and experiment in order to see what works and what doesn’t for a specific image.  I will continue to create sketch images to explore and find interesting ways to portray what is in front of my eyes.  The difference will be that I will attempt to do the above in a much more purposeful way than I have previously.

The above image is from a walk I took on a brisk winter day in the Yakima Arboretum.  My friend and I had the arboretum almost to ourselves.  Walking along the oak alley, I wanted to record an image depicting the strength, shape, character and size of the oak trees.  I took images of the grove from a distance.  I took images of individual oak trees showing their overall size and shape.  I took close ups of the sun shining on the bark and leaves.  Then I looked directly above me and saw everything come together into a single image:  a strong trunk, the remnant leaves on the lower branches, the delicate branches extending upward to the sky.  I snuggled up to the trunk and shot upward with a wide angle lens setting. I was thinking black and white to match the brisk cool temperature of a winter afternoon.