Category Archives: B&W

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.


Lifetime images


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.

Braided River – New Zealand

Not too far from where my last blog image was made, I found this one. The sky was wonderful and the braided river offered a nice leading line.  


Dune Abstract

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.


Love Affair with the Dunes – Topaz B&W sale

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

Left Behind

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)



Dead Trees


I don’t know why, I am attracted to dead trees. Add to that some fog and I believe you have the potential for a photograph. (remember, clicking on the image makes it much bigger for better viewing)

Foggy morning

Skeleton trees

Heart races

Images appear

Repeated Opportunity


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.

EMP #2 B&W

In a recent post, a reader suggested that the Gehry EMP building would look great in B&W as well as color. I think his comment was in response to my saying something like, “some subjects demand to be color”. This is why I love feedback from readers. While I have played with B&W on another Gehry building in LA, I just felt the EMP (Experience Music Project) with all of its color worked better in color. I decided to take the reader to heart and have processed a few EMP images in B&W.  Guess what? He was right!


The Palouse does B&W – Lenses for sale




In the most recent issue of Lenswork, I was pleased to see a folio of work from the Palouse. It struck me as odd at first as I see the Palouse (with the exception of a few images) as a place that needs to be photographed in color (see color version below). But the images in the folio and a subsequent discussion with a few friends, inspired me to reconsider my position. So, back to our recent conversation about “why and when B&W.”  I said in that post, I tend to think about removing color when I want you to focus on the graphic nature of an image. I remove the distraction of color to reveal the essence of the subject. This image its all about graphic elements. The lines and texture in the barn, only shooting part of the barn, and then the shadow and light play in the wheat field. When I moved beyond my expectation that color is a must and analyzed this image, I realized indeed it does work in B&W. Now to be like Chuck and Cole and learn to see this in the field! 

If you missed my recent Topaz webinar, it is now live on YouTube here.    I will add a link on my Tutorial page too.

Its time to clean house as I am shooting primarily with my Fuji gear. I have a couple of lenses for sale.

Nikon 28-70 2.8 –  This is the predecessor to the current 24-70 2.8.  This is a SOLID lens in excellent condition.  It comes with the leather case.  $600.00 – SOLD!

Canon 180mm Macro in excellent condition.  The Canon macro lens to own. I honestly hate to get rid of this lens but its finally time. I thought I had the original box but can’t find it at the moment. Time to clean the basement and find it!  $900.00

I’ll pay shipping on either lens.