I received this beautiful gift yesterday morning. The combination of a brilliant sunrise reflecting off beautiful lenticular clouds … I couldn’t ask for a better way to start the day. It inspired me to get out and spend several hours walking around my yard taking remnants of the fall colors with my macro lens. It was a wonderful morning, full of discovery and exploration!
Part of what intrigues me with Black and White long exposure photography is the ability to really work with tones to create different moods. I shot this image underexposed to present a deep calm mood. In post-processing a dodged the sky slightly around the center sea stack and burned the corners of the frame slightly.
When an unique opportunity presents itself to me, I try to drop whatever I am focused on and create an image from that special gift. This evening, I was practicing Black and White, long exposure photography. I was struggling with the waning light. As the sun dropped below the horizon, this wonderful gift appeared before my eyes. I immediately pulled off my 15-stop neutral density filter, refocused, reset my exposure and was able to capture and create this special moment. This wonderful light lasted for just a few seconds.
Lesson Learned: Always be ready to immediately step back and take advantage of the wonderful gifts that are presented to me
I took a special trip to the Washington Coast to experiment and practice long exposure photography. My first day of practice resulted in a disappointing set of images with many, many, pure white and pure black frames. I am thankful tor digital photography! I knew the steps I needed to take. However, my excitement took over and I made multiple mistakes. Toward the end I started to engrain the process into my sequence of shooting. The next morning, I slowed down and did much better. This image is from that morning. I have a lot more of experimenting and practicing to do.
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.
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?
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.
Nature is magical! It renews itself. Out of a devastated landscape, life emerges. I wish I had taken photographs when Karen and I visited the devastated mountain twenty plus yeas ago. Everything was grey and brown, mud and ash. It reminded me of what I thought the moon’s landscape was like.
Now, life is emerging everywhere. The reds, oranges, yellows, and purples of the wildflowers scattered about breathe life into the landscape. The greens below are young trees that have sprouted from seeds that have been brought to the surface by the small ground animals that survived the blast underground and from returning birds dropping seeds from above. Life is a miracle! My spirits lifted as I looked down over the valley below. My imagination looked forward to picture a natural forest that will return in the centuries to come.