Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Black and Whites of 2016

Shadows on the snow

For me photography is a journey. It began with a Kodak Brownie camera my father gave me. And except for college classes I have been largely self taught. I constantly give myself challenges designed to improve my images. And in the last couple of years I have worked at doing better black and white photographs.

It is a two fold process. First there is the taking of the photograph. And second the post processing of it. I thought that would be easier than loading in black and white film and ruining it. Those college classes were centered on black and white but we didn't turn it over to Walmart. We developed it in a dark room. When I no longer had a dark room I loathed my results with black and white. Digital cameras and dry darkrooms seemed a good opportunity to be able to do both as in college.

Dark Woods

And something not color or black and white like the above image. Yes there is a hint of gold in the grasses at the bottom of the dark woods. And the snowy woods below. I call it sneaking up on black and white by reducing the saturation of the digital image. These two images of a dark woods I have printed and matted and framed. They are hanging at Enchanted Circle Brewing in Angel Fire. They are two of my favorites of all the photographs I took this last year.

Snowy woods

But I have also decided to not be a coward and just go totally black and white instantly. I find I do it when the color gets in the way of the image like in the original of the pots below. It is a decision not made when I load film in a camera or when I set out with my DSLR in search of the perfect black and white image. I make it in the computer contrary to what the best photography books say about that. 

Indian Pots

 But even in color photography I often look toward the monochromatic scene. I loved the Blue Ridge Mountains for that. But even though it is a very different color I love the canyon lands for that too. Not blues but oranges. And the pots above were in earth tones. Except for the wall.

And the ravens below were black against grey ice on an overcast day.

A Venue of Ravens

And the trees below were clouded in fog.

Foggy Woods

Key to black and white for me is it first has to be a good composition. The photograph must have merit as a photograph. And it must look better without color. Often the color is a distraction.

Still Life in Silver

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