Monthly Archives: June 2017

Black and White Photography – Mood and Depth

I have shared on a number of my posts, my love of black and white photography. I have always been drawn to it for a variety of reasons, two of which I wanted to talk about today; mood and depth.

Eliminating color from a picture can create an entirely new more interesting image. Key word there is “can”. It doesn’t compliment or help create a visual story on every image, but on certain images it tells a better story to the viewer than leaving it color. Two of the elements that are impacted by using monochrome coloring are mood and depth.

Eliminating the visual busyness of color helps create a mood to a capture. Yes, it is typically more of a somber mood, but this can add flavor to the overall look the photographer is going for.

Black and white can also enhance contrast between visual elements highlighting depth to a particular capture.

I have attached three black and white photographs from my gallery that highlight both of these elements.

In this example, the subject matter presented in black and white helps create a somber rather subdued tone to this capture. The photograph was taken an a cold, cloudy winter day. The barren tree branches reinforce this element of season, but also due to the stark contrast from the background help build depth to the visual experience. It recreates what I felt on the day I took the shot…it was a rather gloomy day and I loved the element of this carriage house being tucked back from the main property.

In this capture the light centered on the walkway creates a brighter and more upbeat mood. That aspect is reinforced as there isn’t any competition with color which allows the shaft of light to take center stage. The element of depth is supported in a more subtle way with this shot. Your eye is pulled to the center of the frame due to the shaft of light, but then meanders around the curve of the walkway back into the picture realizing there is more going on further into the picture under those hanging tree branches. The various shapes and contrasting darkness over lighter backgrounds create this depth.

The black and white aspect to this last capture creates a very neutral mood in that this could have been taken on a bright sunny day or a cloudy day. The biggest impact for this is depth. The dark tree branches frame an ocean coastline and reinforce the point of view as being high above the pounding surf. The foreground of craggy tree branches as the darkest element create the starting point to depth. Your eye is then pulled into the frame across the surf to the bluff across the way…distance and depth.  Thoughts?

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Bedrock in Fauvism – Featured Art Prints

This is a follow-up to a post I did in October of 2015 (The Flintstones Town of Bedrock). I shared excerpts from a photo shoot I had done of a tourist attraction south of the Grand Canyon which is a recreation of the town of Bedrock made famous by the Flintstones cartoon characters. That post starts with this quote: “This post is a fun one for me….I haven’t a clue what I will ever do with any of these shots, but I had a great time taking them.” 

I truly didn’t think I would do anything with those shots, but middle of last year I came across them again and decided I would see what they would look like presented in a more abstract manner by using the fauvism technique I work with on other prints. The final result is the five art prints I have attached.

I like the bright surreal colors of this style along with the abstract interpretation of the subject matter. Considering the surreal look of the structures, it all seemed to come together as an appropriate marriage. Thoughts?

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LA Hills – Excerpts From a Photo Shoot

In Last Weeks Post (The Jacaranda Tree), I mentioned that we were in Los Angeles for Memorial Day weekend visiting our daughter and son-in-law, but more importantly our first grandchild (just hit the 6 month mark). I had also mentioned that I volunteered to do the daily stroller outing into the neighborhood each day while we were there (she loves to be outdoors enjoying the fresh air, sights, birds, etc.). I was always wandering up into the hills with her as the climbing was good exercise for grandpa and the views were spectacular for both of us. At that point last week I talked about the Jacaranda Trees, but also mentioned I would come back to the views of that daily outing. This week I have attached 10 shots I took during that daily venture.

LA Hills 1

This capture gives you an idea of the typical hillside neighborhoods that dot the Los Angeles hills. The streets are narrow, windy and go up and down quit dramatically. On one side of the street you have the height of the home facing the street and the other side, just the top portion of that home with it’s height going down the backside of the house.

LA Hills 2

The homes represent a variety of architecture and mix in size. Interesting architecture and look as the next shot shows the same house from around the bend and down the other side….

LA Hills 3

Every few steps the scene is totally different.

LA Hills 4

Because land is so precious, there isn’t any space wasted as you notice the garages actually start just feet from the road.

LA Hills 5

Love the variety of architectural elements and color in the homes.

LA Hills 6

Creativity is necessary as the hillsides are quite steep.

LA Hills 7

As I alluded to earlier, the views between the homes (the views they actually have over each other) that you can see from the street are spectacular. This view looks southeast over Glendale, California towards the San Gabriel Mountains.

L.A. Hills 8

This view is looking in the same general direction as the capture above (you can barely see this facility in the far right portion of that view).

LA Hills 9

This is a capture of downtown Glendale, California which is located northeast of downtown Los Angeles and south of Burbank.

LA Hills 10

Then to the south of this location behind another set of hills is downtown Los Angeles. The final approach pattern to LAX takes planes just south of downtown and with the air traffic coming into LAX, not surprising that I captured a plane in this shot.  Thoughts?

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The Jacaranda Tree – Excerpts From a Photo Shoot

We were in Los Angeles for Memorial Day weekend (weekend before last) visiting our daughter and son-in-law, but more importantly our first grandchild (just hit the 6 month mark). We try and go as often as we can for obvious reasons. I volunteered to do the daily stroller outing into the neighborhood each day while we were there (she loves to be outdoors enjoying the fresh air, sights, birds, etc.). I always wandered up into the hills with her as the climbing was good exercise for grandpa and the views were spectacular for both of us (more on that next week in my post). One of the things I particularly enjoyed was the Jacaranda trees in full bloom.

If you’re not familiar with Jacaranda trees, they are native to subtropical regions of Mexico, Central America, South America, Cuba, Jamaica and the Bahamas. Having said that, this particular species of the Jacaranda family has been widely planted across the globe and regions well known for them now include South Africa, Australia and in the US, Florida, Phoenix, San Diego and Los Angeles. I love this time of year when they are in full bloom. I have seen pockets of neighborhoods across Southern California where they have been planted in abundance and this time of year you have a sea of purple.

I have attached five shots I took on one of our outings giving you an idea of the beauty of these trees in bloom.

Jacaranda One

You can see how they add a dramatic touch of color and of course you have the mess of dropped petals to contend with (well worth it to me…we had one at the end of our driveway in San Diego and the concrete was always covered in purple as the petals dropped).

Jacaranda Two

This shot shows two next to a driveway on our walk through the hillsides.

Jacaranda Three

The trees are scattered throughout these hillside neighborhoods and give you that pop of color.

Jacaranda Four

This gives you a close up look at the blooms…

Jacaranda Five

as does this final shot. Thoughts?

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