Be Colorblind

So I’ve been processing some pics lately from a recent trip to Colorado and am finding I prefer many of them in BW (Black & White). However–I wasn’t necessarily seeing the image in black and white when I made the photograph.
Shooting BW is very different than color. Instead of greens, yellows, reds and blues, one sees grey, black, white, middle gray, off-white, etc. It’s all about tones. I’m finding the more I process images in BW, the better I’m able to “see” in BW when I’m out shooting. Try taking some of your favorite color images and processing them for BW–I think you’ll be suprised how much you like the BW version as well. Don’t be afraid to get creative with dodging and burning-you’re goal is to represent what you saw through the lens. When converting to BW, you most often lose a great deal of contrast in the image. Much of it can be brought back with a quick levels and curves adjustment, but search the image further for subtle nuances that would benefit from a slight darkening or lightening. Storm clouds are perfect examples. Also–be aware of any elements in the scene that may be distracting to the viewer. Perhaps you’ve got hot spots that pull the viewer’s eye from the main subject (or point of interest)–with some local dodging and burning, you’ll be amazed how balanced and “perfect” you can make that perfect scene you saw throught the lens.

Taylor Canyon Meadow w Tree BW.jpg

Oquirrh Mtns. Cloudburst BW.jpg

Just Drive

Wow! Been way too long since I’ve blogged! Lately, I’ve benefitted greatly (photographically) from just getting in the car and driving. You never know what you’ll find, and most of the time, you’re likely to discover something that will look good in front of the lens.

I recently returned from a business trip to Colorado. I spent a couple days in Crested Butte, and while the snow wasn’t anything to write home about, that place definitely holds its own with its vistas. Near the end of my trip I just decided to get in the car and drive. I didn’t really know where I was going, but had a general direction in mind. Passing old barns and brown farm fields waiting for Spring’s warm weather to green them up again, I decided to head up Taylor Canyon. What a beautiful place! There were numerous screeching stops accompanied by panicked tripod gathering, setting up and clicking of the shutter–just in time to catch the spotty, cloud-diffused light at its best.

At the top of the canyon I was greeted by an enormous reservoir, frozen solid in front of numerous 13,000 ft. peaks. While I wasn’t loving the mid-day light, I was at least appeased by the numerous clouds, lending well to some 3D effect and at least providing something to work with compositionally. While mid-day light isn’t necessarily the greatest, I’ve found that if there are spotty clouds, you can at least find moments of greatness here and there. Don’t forget that Grad ND filter to dramatize the sky! Another thing to remember–don’t go for the obvious point-and-shoot image. Spend some time looking for areas of interest for foreground elements. Observe the lighting and use it to differentiate between FG, MG and BG. The image below was taken while kneeling on the ground (with a tripod– use it!) near a scenic overlook. While I’m sure there have been many images shot from this location, I doubt there have been too many shot like this one. Whether it’s a winner or not is still up in the air–but at least it’s different! I’ll post more photos from the afternoon soon–but none of these would have been shot had I not jumped in the car and gotten out of Dodge. If you’re stuck home, hit the trails! No car necessary!

Taylor Park w Mountains Shallow.jpg