Foray Into Black & White

Many, the adepts at the Black and White arts. Photographers, that is. Powerful, their photos often be, evoking primal emotions and contemplations, oft mirroring one’s imagined deep connection with the simplicity of opinion and certainty of facts. 

Mirroring the illusion of simplicity and certainty about one’s life and place in the Universe, the reality of these photographs is not as the name implies . . . they are, in fact, grayscale photos; they range from white to black and all shades in between. 

Whatever they are, I seldom achieve the impact of many of the practitioners of the B&W arts. By far, it’s the vistas, the landscapes, that give me the most trouble, as in above. 

I’m sure I can — and have — make that look good in full-color mode. But, take away my virtual crayons and substitute pencils and charcoal, and I falter. 

Understand, I’ve saved many settings I thought were — you know — passable . . . or so I thought at the time that I saved them. Now . . . 

. . . I don’t know; it seems as if I should be able to do better. 

Oh, crap! I’ve done it again! Here I am, using sarcasm and humor and sure as monochromatic effluent, readers will take me seriously, giving me encouraging advice and virtual pats on the back as they murmur “there, there; they’re not that bad.”

Of course they’re not bad; they wouldn’t be here if they were. Mind you, I’m not talking Ansel Adams, but I like these. I tried different processing with each one of these, and these are the ones I liked the best. 

Still, landscapes are tricky. I should study what the greats in the field did, but I have a feeling they processed their photos a whole lot more than I’m wanting to do. Actually, it’s more than a feeling; I know, straight out of their own mouth (written words). 

Now, I’m not afraid to try my hand at B&W landscapes . . . the clouds alone will make the shot interesting. However, I seldom use B&W when looking closer in, like, say, a mountainside across the way from a deep chasm.

I’m cheating a bit . . . I’m including a bit of sky, like an emotional pacifier of sorts. Let me zoom in a bit more. 

See, that’s a limitation of B&W . . . it removes some of the visual cues. I bet most readers failed to notice there are two lakes in the shot. Of course, had it been a color photo, the water would be evident anywhere in the shot. 

I suppose I could showcase the water itself (not the same body of water as the above) . . . 

Sure, it might look better if I hadn’t violated the Rule of Thirds. Never, never, almost never have the horizon split the photo in half. 

Unless, maybe, you’re trying to show some kind of symmetry. But, even then, kind of boring, no?

OK, so water in the shot helps . . . what about if it’s just rocks?

Well, in color, this shot is “made” by the green moss, delicate flowers, green leaves, and rusty rocks . . . none of which show up in the above photo. The texture might capture some people, but most will barely look at the shot. 

What about if I add an animal?

OK, the Pica’s protective coloring helps it avoid predators, but it does squat to add drama to a photo. It practically blends in and disappears, for FSM sake!

Sure, you can click on the photo and the animal stands out a bit more in the larger version. Or, you could go HERE to the SmugMug gallery and look at the Originals, but if you rather just sit here, you’re out of luck. 

I suppose I could have taken better care of my framing so as to make the animal’s presence more noticeable. You know, like I did with this next one.

Of course, it could just be the processing. Besides, if I focus on the animal, it’s no longer a landscape shot now, is it?

Crap . . . WordPress done made the above shot ugly. Too bad; it’s a nice shot. Or, at least, I think so. 

Oh well, I’ll just keep working on it. Wait . . . architecture! Any fool can do right shooting architecture in B&W, right? Don’t answer that; I guess we’ll see. 

Here’s the gallery of the above:


That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
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11 Responses to Foray Into Black & White

  1. Margie says:

    These pics are good emilio. ..just as they were before color came to the pics.


  2. AnnMarie says:

    Each of the above shots provides a lot of contrast to me, and this morning I find that too much visually, so I settled for looking and pondering (with a good amount of ease and pleasure) at the ‘bird on the rock’ photo . . . it’s exactly what I needed to provide balance . . . the high contrast of the textured rock and bird versus the low contrast of the sky/water area (could be both, not sure which).


  3. Theres something about B&W photo’s that draws me in, I particularly like the train, just wish it was a steam loco rather than a pair of Diesels.


  4. I enjoy B&W photos! Even tho’ I enjoy color photos…sometimes I get lost in the colors and don’t focus on the entire photo. And in B&W photos I think textures are cooler, too!

    These are great photos, Emilio! I especially like the cloud/ reflection ones, and the birds! As I look at them, I think about how they might have been taken 50 years ago, or yesterday, and the person looking at them wouldn’t know unless there was a date on them. I like that.

    Of course if they were 50 years old, YOU couldn’t have taken them since you are only 39. :-)

    HUGS and Happy Whee-kend to you and Melisa!!! :-)


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