Category Archives: B&W
Last year my friend and tremendous Cape Cod photographer, Betty Wiley, told me about Grey’s Beach on the Cape. This year I decided to take a look, glad I did.
I am often reminding students, and myself, that it’s important to look at other perspectives. In this case getting low creates a very different image than standing up (see image below). To my eye, the image made while standing up is static when compared to the more dynamic version where I put the camera on the boardwalk.
- Perspective matters. Get high, get low. Try them both and everything in between. I know, I know, it is not as easy to get up after getting down! This is a good reason to have a swivel LCD screen.
- This image was made at 2PM. Stop thinking there is a best time to make photographs. There is just light, it is up to you to figure out what to do with it. I think, so called “harsh light” worked pretty well here don’t you?
- Be patient. My first capture was made with a bald blue sky. As I stayed to explore, I noticed clouds building. When one wandered into the perfect spot, I was there to make the capture.
Last year while on the Cape (Cod), I was introduced to the wonderful work of Michael Kahn and purchased one of his books. This year, the Focus Gallery in Chatham, had more of his work on display and a new book. Inspired by Michaels work, I readjusted my vision to think more in B&W this year. Below are two favorites with more to come. Remember to click the images to view them much bigger.
A note on the bottom image. Carla, one of our participants has been influenced by the great Chuck Kimmerle. She attended our Death Valley/Valley of Fire tour where Chuck was a special guest. As we were walking out to photograph Stage Harbor Light, Carla spotted this scene. A small group stopped and we worked the scene for forty five minutes. We never made it to the lighthouse! A couple of lessons.
1. Be open to what turns your head. Yes, we had a mission to get to the lighthouse, but, this was great right now!
2. Without Chuck’s great images and inspiration, Carla would probably never have seen the potential in this type of scene.
By the way, the poles in the water are part of the nets used for Weir Fishing.
I mentioned in my last postthat I was distracted on my way to the “Lifetime Image,” This was what distracted me. I loved the sky, fresh snow on the mountains and the mossy foreground with the big rock. I chose to make the mossy foreground look like snow in the conversion as I felt it added the contrast necessary to make it pop. Remember to click on the image to make it bigger.
Ansel Adams said, “Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.” Look, I understand Ansel was using a big honkin’ (I believe that was the brand) camera with huge sheets of expensive film (whatever that was) so he probably didn’t pull the shutter unless it was pretty good. We on the other hand have endless free pixels to burn and thus are a bit more liberal in our shooting and create a lot more lousy images. You might think our “hit” or “keeper” ratio would be higher, I’m not sure. I wonder though, is Ansel’s number of 12 significant images per year still valid. I guess it would depend on what you consider significant? I’m of the mind that 12 is still a pretty good number, at least for me. I mean images that rise to the level of significant.
I consider today’s image to be one of my 12 for this year. Something I now refer to as a lifetime image. An image that rises above the ordinary and that might be part of a book of lifetime images at some point.
The image was made in the Mount Cook area of New Zealand at a Glacial Lake. I almost didn’t go to this spot. I was distracted by another scene (coming soon) and leery about climbing down the loose rocks to the lake area. And then someone said, “you really should take a look.” I’m sure glad I decided to give it a look!
I should note that I used a Singh-Ray 5 stop Mor-Slo filter so I could achieve a 10 second exposure to smooth out the water. For you mirrorless shooters, I have purchased a Lee Seven5 filter system for use with square or rectangular filters. I have been hand holding my split grad filters and finally decided to be more careful about it. With the Seven5 built for smaller mirrorless cameras, I can now use my split grad and a Mor-Slo together to achieve the looks I want in a small portable package. What I love about Singh-Ray is, not only do they make great filters, they will and did make a custom size just for me! For the Lee system I needed 75mm wide filters and wanted them to be square or almost square. I called Sing-Ray and they happily cut them to size at no extra charge. Remember you can save 10% on Singh-Ray filters by using the code Barclay10 at checkout.
Another favorite abstract from Mesquite Flat Dunes. If you’d like to see more of my Death Valley work, check out my dedicated folio here.
I’ll admit, I have a love affair with the dunes. On our recent tour, we took the group out twice. A few of us found this particular scene and knew it would be a winner. (click to enlarge)
If you’re interested in this type of dune photography, I would suggest you bring a long lens. For this I used my Nikon 70-200 and 1.7x teleconverter. Next time, I hope to have the new Fuji super zoom which will give me even more reach. If you have a 100-400 or something similar, that would be a great choice.
Starting tomorrow, Topaz will be offering a $20 discount on their excellent B&W Effects. For the rest of the month it will be just $39.99. Click this link and use the code MARBW
During our scouting for tours, we drive roads just to see what else might be available. On this particular journey, we happened upon an abandoned hotel. Chuck Kimmerle went to look inside and I decided to follow. I couldn’t stand the thought of what might be. Chuck and I made an image of this abandoned wheelchair. The composition seemed obvious and thus I suspect our images look very much the same. Sorry Chuck…. (click to make bigger)
Repeated opportunity is a good thing. Going back to a place that you are drawn to is a good idea. Awhile back, I posted a shot from Owl Creek Pass that is similar to today’s image. That image was taken during our scouting time before the group arrived. After that wonderful moment I said to Dan (tour partner),”too bad the group was not here for this! The odds of that happening in a few days when they arrive are slim.” Then on the day we took the group, THIS HAPPENED! It was as good or better! So glad we went back. I know I’ll go back again on my next visit, I want to see what else might happen!
If you’ve not read Chuck Kimmerle’s recent thought provoking blog post, you can and should read it here. After you read it, come back and share your thoughts about this image. Is it cliche? Does it matter? I’m interested in your thoughts.