Next month I look forward to a portfolio review with Ron Rosenstock, a very gifted landscape photographer, at the NANPA Summit (North American Nature Photographer’s Association). Doing my prep work, I have been studying his work, admiring many of his black and white images.
With just that ounce of inspiration, I found a recent photograph that I captured in Florida and decided to process it in black and white. My eye was attracted to this Anhinga bird because of its texture and feather pattern. (I also have taken dozens of photos of Anhingas, so they aren’t new to me. I will only take more photos if I think I can create a new look.)
I enjoy shooting Infrared landscape photographs, and processing them to create some high contrast black and white images. Here is one infrared photograph taken from the North Rim of the Bright Angel fault.
Shooting Infrared, you will get the best results in bright sunlight, so conditions were perfect on this sunny morning. Puffy clouds always add interest to the sky.
I use a separate Sony mirrorless digital camera for Infrared photography: one that has been converted for the “SuperColor” light range by Lifepixel.com.
“The Edge”is a new outdoor viewing platform, 100 stories high in midtown Manhattan (New York City). You can find this building in Hudson Yards, at the terminus of the Subway #7, right next to the iconic sculpture “The Vessel.”
In the morning with the sun rising over the East River, your best view is to the south: lower Manhattan. The Freedom Tower, the tallest building in the skyline, recently built on the World Trade Center site, dominates the view. In the distance, see the Verrazano Narrows bridge and the entrance to New York harbor. Locals will recognize many details in this tightly packed neighborhood of skyscrapers.
While this day featured a brilliant blue sky, the black and white photograph seemed to me the best way to focus on the shapes and detail of the skyline. This image can be printed as a large print: such as 40″ wide.
My first attempts to capture lightning in a photograph have met with success, thanks to some spectacular storms firing across the Canyon from my vantage point, and a sophisticated device that triggers my camera shutter in time to capture it.
It was after sunset last night, and the canyon below us was getting quite dark. Check out these lightning forks.
Back in the good old days, we rented a cottage on Cape Cod near this salt marsh. In those days, we biked the trails and spent our days on the beach and some evenings at the drive-in movie theatre. Returning to this land of great memories last week, I focused on a new aspect of the area — the quiet salt marsh at sunset.
In this stage of my life, I have devoted my time to landscape photography, and I’ve become intrigued with the artistic possibilities of Infrared photography. I drove past this marsh earlier in the day, only to be drawn back for a second look before the sun set.
Processing a digital infrared image requires experimentation. Once the image has been captured, it can be rendered in many different ways. I adjust the hue, saturation and lightness of each color one at a time and make several other technical changes — like channel swapping, levels and curve adjustments. Let’s just say that processing is a lot like cooking. The chef adjusts according to taste.
Green foliage, blue skies and bright sunlight are daily staples in southwest Florida, and all three of these elements combine to make strong infrared photographs. While the look of the final image and final print will vary with your processing style, green foliage can read as white, blue skies will go dark, and bright sunlight produces high contrast. If you like black and white prints, these qualities of an infrared photo will deliver greater contrast and drama than traditional film or digital photography.
Here is a recent infrared photograph that I captured at the Naples Botanical Garden on a sunny afternoon and processed to black and white, achieving the contrast I strive for.
As an artist, I’m inspired to experiment. And so on a sunny afternoon in South Florida, I captured this infrared photograph in a pine forest.
Infrared photography is a ripe medium for experimentation, as I find so many choices are available in processing. Shall I go black/white, blue/white, cyan/orange? To fully embrace infrared photography, which only captures invisible light above the red spectrum, you need to let go of reality as your eye defines it. Then, you are free to see the world in a brand new way.
A second floor sleeping porch, the perfect place to catch a breeze on a hot, muggy night might remind you of houses in Charleston or Savannah or New Orleans. But this picturesque home is found in Sewickley, Pennsylvania where I live.
Painted white with black shutters and shrouded with green trees, it seemed like a good subject for infrared photography — a medium that shows green foliage as white.
I have just started this week experimenting with Infared photography, having bought a Sony 6300 camera and having sent it to LifePixel to have it converted to “Super color” Infared. Stay tuned to this blog for more interesting results.
Looking through my archives for color photographs that would make a satisfying black and white image made me realize that “seeing in black and white” will make me a better photographer. Any consistently successful photographer will pre-visualize the image before image capture. For starters, one evaluates dynamic range, depth of field, light quality, composition, timing of the action and whether the subject is meaningful.
To choose a good subject for black and white photography there are more factors to evaluate: tonal range and contrast, simplicity, shape, texture, interest. I like my black and white images to be strong. The image has to be eye catching and hold the viewer’s interest without the help of color. I admit, I’m a photographer who loves color, so this challenge is fun for me!
This photograph of a mother Bison and her calf grazing on top of the hillside made the cut for a color to black and white candidate. In my judgement, it has simplicity, large repeating shapes, texture in the fur, wide tonal range and plenty of interest — from the unusual wildlife sighting to the eye contact and tongue in mid-air.