What Am I Seeing? Three Very Different Black and White Photographs

This week I wanted to take a look at three very different black and white photographs and tell you what I see.

As I have mentioned in my posts, I shoot everything in Raw format which means I shoot digitally capturing tremendous detail. It does take up memory and believe me my portfolio and archives have their own hard drive because of it. The reason I shoot with that much definition is that it allows me to “play’ with the end picture more.

The first picture is a cityscape of downtown Seattle with the Space Needle featured front and center. What do I see? I see the downtown towers and Space Needle sharply defined…very bold straight edges. I see the architecture dominating the capture because of that factor. As an additional element, I see the sharp contrast of the cloud formations from the high level clouds to the puffy cumulous in the background.  I see an architectural statement of Seattle with the subtle element of weather which Seattle is known for.

From a cityscape to a farm. What do I see? I see a mood created from an abandoned farm highlighted by showing it in black and white. I see barren tree branches and collapsing buildings that have a lonely element with no life. The black and white presentation allows this mood to be front and center without getting distracted by pops of color.

From the farm to Old Point Loma Lighthouse sitting on the entrance to San Diego Bay in Cabrillo National Monument. What do I see? I see the top of a lighthouse where the simple architecture of the structure points your eye upward to the light. I see what is a deep blue sky not taking center stage because the presentation in black and white makes it a supporting gray backdrop to the white structure and the intricate architecture of the top of the lighthouse.

Thoughts?

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25 thoughts on “What Am I Seeing? Three Very Different Black and White Photographs

  1. saymber

    These are really interesting in the black and white Kirt. Lots of depth and “mood” than if there is a lot of color. The first one is my favorite – could be on a cover to advertise the city I think! Well done!

    Reply
    1. Kirt D Tisdale Post author

      Thank you very much….I started photography way back in college with black and white. I’ve always had an interest in b&w due to the reasons you stated…depth..texture…mood. To me b&w really tells a story!

      Reply
      1. saymber

        I’ve become so lazy in the era of digital photography lol. I can remember using a Canon that I had to learn to use the light meter on. We are so spoiled these days lol! You probably used much the same and with your work may still even have cameras like that. You do fine work!

    1. Kirt D Tisdale Post author

      I’m a visual thinker and that helps when I am looking for shots. The nuance in the details usually surfaces for me after the shots (oh now I get why that grabbed my eye) and I’m reviewing them. I toss a great number of them and only keep the ones that talk to me. Thanks for the feedback Brad and for stopping by!

      Reply
  2. Dan Antion

    These are great images, Kirt. I like that you know what you’re looking for and what you have to work with. I am impressed that, for you, the image you capture with your camera, is a starting point. I’m almost always impressed with the results.

    I love the first image. I have been to that park on many occasions, including once when Mt. Rainier was visible.

    Reply
    1. Kirt D Tisdale Post author

      Thanks for the feedback Dan. I started all of this way back in College with film. Since it was a “wait and see” game to develop the film it forced me to really look long and hard at framing a shot to capture what I was looking at. Digital sure made it quicker and easier to see the results, but by then I pretty much framed the shots the way I was visualizing them in my head. With the black and whites I see things differently in the same shot done in color. The subtle contrast and texture that doesn’t jump out in color! As always…thanks for stopping by!!

      Reply
  3. Diane Henders

    You’re right, the black and white really allows me to pay attention to the details of the photo. That’s a very interesting observation, Kirt – thank you for pointing it out. I learn something new every day! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Kirt D Tisdale Post author

      Thanks Diane…B&W does create a different visual experience and enhances certain captures…not all captures, but certain ones. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  4. Sue Slaght

    Kirt I really appreciated how you explained in detail what you see in the black and white format. I have to agree as I imagined bright blue sky even I who loves color could see how that would steal the show so to speak. Not only great images here but an easy to understand appreciation for the art of black and white.

    Reply
    1. Kirt D Tisdale Post author

      Every time I post my black and whites I think of you:) I actually have the Point Loma b&w print hanging in my home office….it is just a different look at things and certain subjects actually “pop” in b&w because of the reasons I mentioned. Back to the Point Loma Lighthouse…the original color print is beautiful without a doubt but is dominated by all of the deep blue sky…nothing wrong with that but does present more of a focus on the architecture in the b&w!! Again thanks for stopping by and for your input!!

      Reply
  5. Teagan R. Geneviene

    Hi Kirt. I very much enjoyed reading about what you see in each photo — about your thought process. I particularly liked the Seattle image. The clouds added a lot to it for me — added to the way it reminded me of what I was reading about “atom punk” this week. Something about the sky made me imagine retro/futuristic airships zooming across that sky.
    Another delightful collection of images. Thanks so much for sharing this with us. Hugs.

    Reply
    1. Kirt D Tisdale Post author

      Thank you for the feedback….of all three shots, the Seattle one was the only shot where I highlighted the contrast and pulled out the detail to emphasize the clouds in the sky. As I always do…much appreciate your feedback and for stopping by!! Have a great week!!

      Reply
  6. America On Coffee

    A very peaceful perspective. I have never visited Seattle but I understand it is a rainy wet city. I can appreciate b/w photograpy, it allows me to use my own imagination. Nice.

    Reply
    1. Kirt D Tisdale Post author

      The entire Northwest does get its fair share of rain which is why it’s so lush and green there. Beautiful country because of that and when it’s sunny….breath taking!! The b&w fits the mood of the rainy days back to back!! Thank you for taking the time to comment and for stopping by!!

      Reply
  7. gillmorris

    Brilliant B&W pics Kirt, I like black and white photos, they always seems so dramatic to me. If I have taken a photo which I don’t think it particularly good, I change it too b&w and it gives it more edge 🙂

    Reply

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