Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Black & White Photography

One of my earliest influences in getting into photography as a kid was Ansel Adams. His iconic black & white photos were amazing, I still think of him as one of the best photographic artists of all time. I started out shooting black & white film then graduated to color negative and transparency film as I got older. It has been only in the last couple of years that I long for the beauty that black & white captures in so many subjects. Although I shoot in digital, I really enjoy the challenge of creating a visually pleasing black & white photograph. These are a few examples of my work.

This was taken at the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls, MA. It is a walking bridge that displays hundreds of blossoms from spring to fall, the variety of flowers is breathtaking. I captured the bee using a Sigma macro lens mounted to my Nikon D80 at about 3 inches away.

Here is an infrared image of the Quabbin Tower situated in the Quabbin Park in Ware, MA. It sits at the southern end of the Quabbin Reservoir, the largest man-made body of water in the state. It provides drinking water to the suburbs of Boston and is a protected wildlife area with restrictions on fishing, boating and trail use.

On a recent visit I captured both images above of the Quabbin Tower. There is no charge to climb the tower for fantastic views of the Quabbin. On a clear day it is said you can see views of 5 states. My trip was really to photograph the tower and create a black and white image. I had seen many photos of the tower but none of them seemed appealing to my eye. This view, taken from ground level, I felt best shows not only the detail in the stone structure but the scale as well. For the final image I added a bit of grain to give it a more nostalgic feel.

"Shipwrecked", that's the name I gave this image. I came across this large rusted and crustacean covered piece of iron a few years ago on Salisbury Beach, MA in the State Park. Here's the story: around the turn of the century a cargo ship ran aground in a horrendous storm just off the southeastern coast of NH, the ship broke apart in shallow water and many pieces ended up ashore. This is the only remaining piece of the ship that remains on the beach. It has been left there as a memorial to the many crew members that perished. At least that's my story. It was fun thinking about how it really got there and what it was. But I felt the image needed a story. After converting the image into black and white I added some texture and adjusted the contrast a bit.

One of my goals is to start to photograph subjects on black and white film. I bought a vintage Nikon 35mm for just this reason. Soon I will begin to experiment with film and post processing to hopefully create stunning images to sell.

Stay tuned...there is more to come.