Category Archives: Black-and-White

One From the Cutting Room Floor

Curtains of virga and clouds over Canyonlands National Park, Utah.

The final edits for my new book, “Expressive Nature Photography” are finished, and this ‘baby’ didn’t make it! Hard to accept, as we all love our children, right?! But you just can’t fit all your ‘babies’ into one book, ever. This was from a short section on black and white nature photography, and it’s worthy, there were just too many to select from. I guess that’s a good thing, to have more good pics than not enough, eh?!

In the movies, in film days, the reels were cut/spliced to remove unwanted bits and segments. The phrase ‘cutting room floor’ referred to all the little bits of film that were left there after the production people got finished! Actors and actresses alike had to accept that some of what they thought were their best moments might get cut. Essentially the same thing happened – some of my faves just didn’t work into the final flow of ideas/pictures. Sigh, but then maybe they’ll be right for the next book!!

Now I can get on to other projects; I’ll be hitting the road to Arizona this weekend, for some Spring photography, and teaching for MISA at Tanque Verde.

Note: This new book is being published by Monacelli Press and will be released in August 2017, and available through your favorite bookstore(s). 

All best, and thanks for visiting,

 
 

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A Reason to Convert to Monochrome

Just because we can doesn’t mean we should convert our color images to black and white. Not every picture works as a straight conversiosn, that’s for sure. With my ages-old training and development as a photographer being in black-and-white, I learned to to see what might make a strong monochromatic image while looking at a color scene. In this image on right, the tonal contrast is sure there – which can make a black and white image ‘pop’ – but there are too many colors and distractions of color in this image – the red shirt on the man in background, the green tree, the brown pigeon, (there always has to be one different bird, right?!) – these all subtly pull the eye to other areas of the picture, away from the moment of the man feeding the birds with the crumbs dropping from his hand.  By converting it to black and white – I was able to eliminate those other distractions, and tonally the picture just worked so much better for me. I haven’t completely worked this black and white image.

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Storm Light in Utah’s Desert Lands

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Mid-April provided some very interesting light and clouds in central Utah this year. I had been to speak at the Moab Photography Symposium, and had to drive to Salt Lake to leave my car and fly to northeast Ohio to teach a workshop before rejoining my car and continuing my road trip. I took Highway 6 off Interstate 70, and diagonally veered towards Salt Lake, through a dry desert area of basin and range topography with buttes, benches, and washes. Continue reading »

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Rockin’ around the rocks in Namibia

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I love geology, and when I travel to places with weird rock formations, I get excited. Nature’s processes to shape our world never cease to amaze me. I’m also amazed at the transformation an image can have, when it’s converted to monochrome. The image above has the drama that I was envisioning for this area in Namibia called the Giant’s Playground – a region filled with odd-shaped boulders of dolorite. It reminds me of our own southwest USA, yet the rocks have more blocky shapes than our Arizona/Utah area. And, this “playground” has quiver trees, also unique to that area.

After we photographed sunrise in the quiver forest, we went off nearby to explore this rocky playground as the sky was getting more interesting with clouds, and we thought we could make some cool black and white pictures with the contrast of mid-morning light. The reddish rocks looked nice in contrast to the blue sky, but the light was really strong. It’s funny how we accept the strong light in black and white, but not in color always! To find images that would work in black and white,  I switched on the black and white ‘filter’ in my eyes, looking for tonality differences, textures, and shapes to put against the sky. I knew I wanted to bring out the texture of these rocks, too, and it was just a matter of finding things at the appropriate angle to the light to make that happen. A polarizer helped to increase the contrast in the sky. We had a lot of fun scampering around on the rocks making pictures. This was one of my favorites – it looks like a huge earthenware jar with a lid on it.

Thanks for visiting!

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P.S. We are going back to Namibia in 2016. Deposits are being taken and we have 3 spaces sold at this time. Please consider joining in the fun! It’s a terrific country with such diverse landscape opportunities combined with the adventure of wildlife and culture.

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