Category Archives: Black and White Photography

Photo Shoot – Admiralty Head Lighthouse

I thought it might be interesting to see the process I typically go through on a photo shoot. I start with the fact that most of my photo shoots are spontaneous and not necessarily pre-planned. Having said that I do take my 35mm camera with me as a “just in case” on most “outings”. A great example of this was done last month when my wife and I asked our oldest daughter if she wanted to go over to Whidbey Island for the day! Whidbey is right across the sound from where we live and is accessible via ferry from Mukilteo (10 minutes from our home) or via a long bridge on the north end of the island (about an hour drive from our home). We did the bridge going over and then drove the length of the island taking the ferry home. One of the stops we made was Fort Casey (more info here) which is a fort constructed in the late 1800’s and used during WW1 and WW2. Within the park is Admiralty Head Lighthouse, which our daughter had never seen. I did a photo shoot of it years ago and thought I would do another one to see if I got anything different or better than the prior shoot. Having said all of that, I thought it would be interesting to see how I handle spontaneous shoots. I have attached 6 captures highlighting the process.

The first capture is looking across the field from the fort towards the lighthouse.

Admiralty Head 1

The next picture shows the same capture, but edited to straighten the shot up and focus on the subject matter.

Admiralty Head 2

I wanted to replace the current black and white capture I had of this lighthouse on my gallery website, so the next image is the same cropped shot in black and white.

Admiralty Head 3

So you can see how I compensate for “crooked shots” and other aspects to arrive at the final product.

Another great example is the next set of shots. I had done a series of captures walking around the lighthouse and thought the next set would be a unique framing of the lighthouse.

Admiralty Head 4

Apparently I stand crooked and you can see my wife and daughter patiently waiting for me. The next shot is the cropped version.

Admiralty Head 5

And then the B&W version:

Admiralty Head 6

Thoughts? As I have said before, everyone reacts to visual art techniques and looks differently, so I am not in the least offended by opinions. 

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Griffith Observatory and Downtown Los Angeles

As a follow up to a post I did on January 4, 2015, I am celebrating my all time top selling print which is the Griffith Park Observatory with downtown Los Angeles in the background. On the original post, I was asking for input (Griffith Park Observatory in Black and White) on which prints were favored so I could narrow it down to a few to post in my art gallery. I featured six captures I had narrowed down from a series of them. The three captures I ended up posting in my gallery were #1, #4 & #6 now known as Griffith Observatory and Downtown Los Angeles, Open For The Telescope and Observatory In Art Deco. I thought it would be interesting to see what the vote was from the original post. Number 1 received the most votes with #4 coming in second. #6 didn’t receive votes, but it struck me as a nice compliment to the other two to finish out the series. All in all, all three of the ones I picked have done well, but #1 has blown the roof off.

Griffith Observatory And Downtown Los Angeles
Open For The Telescope
Observatory In Art Deco

Thoughts?

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Downtown Seattle High-Rises in Three Formats

In most cases, my artwork starts out as a photograph that I then play with digitally to see if I like the same subject in completely different formats. An example of this are the three different presentations of two captures of high-rise office buildings in downtown Seattle. It started with the original captures below:

Seattle High-Rise 1

Seattle High-Rise 2

The first aspect that I used was to turn these captures into black and white photographs as shown below:

Heads Up
The Tall Three

Then also like a very subtle

For the next two presentations, I used a detail drawing technique and a subtle watercolor to highlight the details and color of the buildings. To highlight the details of the buildings, I used an abstract approach to the sky resulting in keeping that aspect simple.

Up The Building

Halo Effect

For the next two presentations, I went in a completely different direction. For these two presentations I used a more abstract drawing technique to create the buildings and then filled it with bursts of watercolor on and surrounding the structures. This approach creates a completely different visual for high-rise office buildings.

The Soaring Building

Sketched Towers

Thoughts?

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The Longest Pier on the Western United States Coastline

Today I’m featuring a photo shoot I did a couple of weeks ago. The subject matter is the Oceanside Pier in Southern California. I had not been to the pier for a few years, but remembered it well. It is the longest pier along the western US coastline at 1954 feet (596m). The current pier was built in 1987 replacing a number of prior piers lost to stormy weather. For more information: Wikipedia. The town of Oceanside is located in northern San Diego County just south of Camp Pendleton (which lies along the coast between San Diego County and Orange County to the north).

I had a couple of hours of free time (I was a car pool buddy for my wife coming and going from Northern Los Angeles to a bridal shower for my niece at my sisters home in San Diego) during the afternoon and had decided to do this photo shoot. The pier is very impressive and I had just viewed another photographers photoshoot of a pier and was reminded how impressive the architectural structure of these larger piers were. I also chose to do the shoot in black and white as I like the architectural detail that is highlighted in a monochromatic shoot such as this. For some reason I have always been drawn to shots under the structure of piers, thus the number of those on this shoot. At the end of the pier was a restaurant (prior to Covid), which we had frequented. I’m assuming a new tenant will be found as it is a great location.

I open the shoot with a shot I took walking from my parking spot to the beach area underneath the pier for the next few shots.

Oceanside, California Pier

Next up are the shots I took of the under structure in the order I took them.

The Support Of The Pier
Pier 3
Pier 4
Pier 5

Coming out from underneath on the other side of the pier which gives you another appreciation of how far out it goes with the restaurant building on the end.

Pier 6

I was walking out to the end and stepped off on one of the “pop outs” you see in this photo.

Pier 7

Passing the tower structures on each side as in seen above, I took this shot approaching the restaurant structure on the end.

Pier 8

And on the other side of the pier with all of the people fishing.

Fishing Off The End Of The Pier

The last capture is from the end of the pier next to the former restaurant looking back towards the coastline. You can see just how far out the pier goes from this perspective as well as from the shore looking out to this point.

Pier 10

In case you were wondering why three of these shots have names under them, those are the ones I added to my galleries. It always amazes me how many shots I take and how I whittle them down to just a few favorites. If any of those I hadn’t named strike you as “gallery worthy” let me know!! Thanks!!

Thoughts?

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Good Old Iowa Barns

I was going through some old stock the other day and came across a photo shoot I did in Eastern Iowa circa 2013. The timeframe was February…no snow, but trees were obviously leafless. I love certain subjects in black and white and older architecture is one of them. I converted the original captures into black and white and the following are the results which I just added to my gallery.

The photo shoot was in and around the Amana Colonies ( Wikipedia) settled in 1856 and comprise 7 villages that sit on 26,000 acres of farm land near Iowa City.

Twin Barns In Black And White
Amana Colony Barn
The Stables

Thoughts?

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The Rock, Lighthouse and a Rose in Black and White

For those of you that have been following me, this post won’t be a surprise. I periodically post different captures from my black and white photography gallery with the reasons I think they stand out more using the black and white motif.

We’ll start with “The Rock”. I love this shot and showing it this way allows the detail of the rock itself to be highlighted.  The scene is unique unto itself with this huge rock structure, but it also emphasizes the white surf of the waves coming ashore.

Next is “Admiralty Head Lighthouse 2” which is located north of Seattle, Washington. By showing this in black and white, the architectural details stand out as the center of focus. The subtle lines along the lower level of the first and second floor become more obvious along with the same type of lines along the top of the tower and second floor. The window framing actually pops because it contrasts with the white stucco of the building itself, as does the roof and top of the lighthouse itself.

Admiralty Head Lighthouse 2

“The Unfolding Of Petals” is a perfect example of detail that “pops” out with the absence of color. The color photograph of this rose is stunning and no getting away from the brilliance of the color. Having said that,  I did this in black and white because the amount of detail that pops with the petals is intense,  from the actual shaping of the petals to the veining that shows on each petal.

Thoughts?

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Black and White Photography – Urban Architecture

I have attached three new prints that I added to my Black and White Photography Gallery this week. The shots come from a photoshoot I did throughout downtown Denver last July (top picks from the shoot were featured in a blog post on August 2nd). Two of these were in that blog. Fast forward to a project I was working on for a client recently around “urban architecture”. Working on that project surfaced shots I took of the train platform behind Union Station that was opened in 2014. The clean sleek lines of the architecture screamed “black and white photography” to me, so I began playing with that and after whittling it down, the attached were the final result. If you are curious to see the difference between the same capture in color vs. black & white…..on the Aug.2 post “Denver 13” is “Denver Urban Transit Center” on this post and “Denver 14” is “Denver Light Rail Platform At Union Station” .

Thoughts?

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Seattle Great Wheel – B&W Simplicity

Anyone that has been following me knows I love black and white photography for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons being that you can focus on the subject when there isn’t a variety of colors grabbing your attention.

Today I am featuring two photographs from a shoot of the Seattle Great Wheel I did a few years back. It’s located at the end of one of the many piers lining the waterfront and has become an icon in the Seattle skyline. It is the largest observation wheel on the west coast standing 175 feet tall. The wheel has 42 fully enclosed gondolas with a special VIP gondola sporting leather bucket seats and a glass bottom floor.

I took a number of shots including a series of close ups to focus on the simplicity and beauty of the gondolas taking passengers up and around the giant ferris wheel. I presented these captures in black and white to allow the focus to be on the shape and arrangement of the gondolas on the wheel. The composition of both captures was to create a more artistic photograph versus just a snap shot of the entire ferris wheel.

“Three Gondolas “

Gondolas 8-11

Thoughts?

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Sepia Tone or Black and White?

When you go with a monochrome presentation of a picture, you are presenting a scene, structure or object in tones of a singular color. I use black and white presentations usually to create a mood. In a sepia tone presentation it usually creates a “vintage” look since we associate that color tone to old-fashioned pictures. To illustrate this, I chose three shots of a subject that I have done in black and white and sepia tone.

The first picture is of Cape Blanco Lighthouse along the Oregon coastline.

The second capture is of an adobe located on the grounds of the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas.

And the third shot is of a barn nestled in a valley in Iowa.

Thoughts?

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Set The Mood – Black and White Photography

After the last few posts of fall colors, I’m doing a 180 with something I’ve talked about before and wanted to revisit with a couple of great examples in “setting the mood” with black and white photography.

I’ve attached a shot I call “Farm Water Pump”. The subject matter of the pump is not the first thing you see, but does pull your eye into the photo of an old fashion water pump on a farm just in front of some stables. The lack of color sets a subdued mood that works well with this type of composition.

I have also attached a shot I call ” Heritage Hill Mansion in Black and White”. The subject matter in this particular shot fills the field of vision with old Victorian architecture. Seeing this same shot in color focuses the eye on the intricacies of the architecture like a ginger bread house. By presenting this same composition in black and white, the visual mood created is an almost “haunting” look to this structure.

Not everyone is a fan of black and white photography, but don’t discount it in presenting certain types of compositions as it does create a mood. Thoughts?

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