Life in black and white

New Mexico Pano small

As I have continued my life’s journey into photography, I have come to realize a couple of important things. One is that I will never be a great portrait photographer, and two is that I am heading towards being a really good landscape photographer. Other photography styles such as photo-journalism, still life, studio and etc. I have not really tried yet.

This realization led to some interesting experiments during the last week. I had just returned from New Mexico visiting my parents and travelling around the state in which I took about 1,600 photographs.  Some of these were for mom and dad’s 50th wedding anniversary (CONGRATS!) and others were family events.

However, some of the photos were just for me (like the one above). I shot most of these with a color image in mind. However, something amazing happened when I returned. This came in the form of a class taught by Moose Peterson.  During this class, he was in Monument Valley and was taking a series of images. He was talking about what he was looking at as he pressed the shutter and how he intended to present the final image.  This caused me to take a look at a few of the images I had captured during the last week.

I was simply stunned by the difference that made.  I guess black and white will be part of my bag in the future.


New Mexico SkiesNew Mexico Desert

As you can see from this example… There is nothing wrong with the color image at all. But it is rather boring. When converted to black and white, wow!  I love the image… It gives the sense of desolation that you feel when standing there.

Character Tre Character tree B&W1a

Another example of converting to black and white is seen above. I really like the image on the left as it was something I spent 20 minutes setting up. However, the one on the right gives me a better sense of the drama of the skies… WOW!  Who would of thought black and white can make such a difference.. Same shot, but very different feeling.


With all of this in mind, I expect I will be looking at the scene in my viewfinder with a very different set of thoughts in the future.

A happy accident

Sometimes in photography, as in life, you can plan for things to happen. You can give yourself every chance to succeed. You can dot all the I’s and cross all the t’s but life just wont coöperate. During those times, you can give up or you can continue what you are doing out of the sheer joy of living!

Tonight was one of those times for me. Ruth left early this evening to attend a ladies event she is part of. This left me with a couple of hours alone with the camera. As it had raided all day (and was drizzling on and off now) I decided not to wander too far from my house. Grabbing the camera I noticed that the day lilies outside our back door were looking rather interesting with the rain drops sitting on the petals.

I set the camera for the settings I wanted (ISO 400, Aperture F4.0, and let the camera choose the shutter speed) and pressed the shutter button. However, I noticed just as I pressed that the photo just did not look right. Displaying the photo again on the view screen, I noticed that it was really fuzzy (see below).

Happy Accident 2


It was then that I noticed that the camera lens had fogged up, caused by the difference in humidity and temperature between the house and outside. I could not keep it clean. Every time I cleaned the lens, within seconds it would fog over again. I know from experience if I had waited for 10 minutes or so that the problem would correct itself. However, as it was threatening rain again, I chose to keep trying to clean the lens.

I was happy with one shot where I seemed to keep the lens clear.

Happy Accident 1

This image captures the petals with the rain drops that I was looking for. However, as clear as it is, it is still soft. Most folks would wonder if it was out of focus due to the blur in the center of the image.

All was not lost though, I shot about 30 frames while cleaning the lens between every 2-4 images.

Once I got back to the computer to pull the images up, this one surprised me!

Happy Accident

This one combines the softness of focus with just enough that is clear to make it a pleasing image. Also, the background blur caused by the condensation picked up the color of the flowers around it and lent itself to a much more pleasing image.  All things considered, I am very happy with this accident!