Category Archives: B&W

Cape May – B&W

I was thinking about one of my favorite b&w photographers and friend, Chuck Kimmerle the other day. How his eyes must be in pain from all of the oversaturated color in my last few posts. I hope his monitor is okay after he threw his mouse at it. I decided, I must get my monochrome on. So, here ya go Chuck.

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FUD or Fears Uncertainties and Doubts

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In one of my lectures, I speak about FUD which stands for fears, uncertainties and doubts. I first learned about the concept of FUD in a sales seminar 30 years ago. In that context, FUD applied to what a potential customer might be feeling about making buying decision. About four years ago, when I was developing a new lecture, it dawned on me that FUD applied to me as a photographer. I don’t know about you, but, I have FUD a lot! I remember a specific time when a friend invited me to photograph the Klotz Silk Mill in Lonaconing MD. That first trip years ago was in January. It was cold, dark inside and it smelled moldy and musty. I was paralyzed. Where do I start? What on earth do I take a picture of? I have no idea what makes a good picture in this type of environment. What lens do I choose? Do I shoot wide or details? Am I smart enough to find good pictures here? Rather than pull out a camera, I wandered around aimlessly and uninspired. I had no idea what to do. I finally put on a wide angle lens as it is what I am most comfortable with, and began to try and find something worthy to photograph. For the first hour or so, I made a lot of terrible pictures. It was not until I reached the 3rd floor where there was a bit more light, it was warmer, and it did not stink quite as much, that I began to find my rhythm. A key moment to finding that rhythm, was finding a calendar that was left behind from 1957 hanging above a desk. This created a connection, as I was born in 1957. I made a photograph of that scene and it made my heart sing. With a bit more confidence, I was able to find more worthy images and even developed a desire to return. I have now returned six times, including a recent visit with some friends.

I would be interested in hearing about your experience with FUD and how you overcome it.

The blog image was inspired by a friend who was shooting this scene. B&W oft times seems to be the right answer at the Silk Mill. Shallow DOF was also a purposeful choice for this image. Remember you may click on the image to make it bigger.

John Barclay Photography, Images that make your heart sing.

Also posted in Silk Mill Tagged , , , , , , , |

Smoke in the Smokies

One of my favorite places in The Great Smoky Mountains is the Foothills Parkway for sunrise. When our group arrived early at “the” spot we were greeted by 65 others who love this spot too! Unfortunately the fog was too thick this day. After a long wait, folks were itchy for breakfast, so most left without getting much. After breakfast, a few of us wandered back to see what might be there and were given a gift. I love the subtle crepuscular rays, the strong white fog near the hill tops and light on the land.

 

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Barclay Photography – Encouraging you to make images that make your heart sing.

Also posted in Smoky Mountains, Tour, Workshop Tagged , , , , |

A few more from the Disney Concert Hall

Just a few more from the 2010 shoot at the Disney Concert Hall. So glad I went back with a fresh perspective to look at these files. One technical note, I did notice the ability to process the older Canon 5D files was not nearly as good as my current Fuji files. And yes, sometimes a black sky is still best. 


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Also posted in Abstract Tagged , , , , , , |

Out with the new and in with the old

What?  Out with the new and in with the old? What is he talking about? Is he sick? Is he delusional? Chuck Kimmerle that is not an invitation for comment….. You too Sniffin. Well, yes, I have been battling a lousy cold for a few weeks. You know the kind. The kind that keeps you feeling blah. Not real bad, but, just drags you down. Its been a struggle to create anything, never mind write a blog post.  And then yesterday, I was looking through my archived files for one specific image and ended up having a blast. I stumbled upon a number of images I never thought to process. Images I had completely forgotten about.  Once again, I was reminded why you don’t throw away images. I can take my new processing knowledge and tools and unearth worthy, even great images. And our knowledge of what is good or bad changes as we mature as a photographer. These images are great examples that make my point. Up until recently, I was committed to and convinced that a sky in a black and white image must be dark or close to black. I just did not see the potential of a white sky. And then I processed this image from L.A. and fell in love with a white sky. And then I found the composition from the Disney Gehry building below. Paradigm shift…..  Gotta run now, I’ve got OLD images to process. 

Also posted in Abstract, Gehry Building Tagged , , , , |

Waves work in B&W

I was challenged to post a wave in B&W. An easy challenge as I had already made a conversion and loved it. Here ya go!

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Also posted in Hawaii Tagged , , |

Perspective

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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.

Lessons:

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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.

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Also posted in Cape Cod Tagged , , , |

Cape Cod #2

untitled-0507-EditmattedLast 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.

 


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New Zealand – MT Cook

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.

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Also posted in New Zealand Tagged , , , |

Lifetime images

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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.

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