Everything Is Black & White

23Mar22

I love winter imagery in black & white. Early in the season my dream was to create a bigger collection of monochrome photos, but after looking back have only a modest offering. There were several trials that when viewed objectively, looked best in color. Black & white can be tricky and only a small percentage of images work to my satisfaction. If I don’t see something special in an image, whatever it might be, I prefer to keep them to myself, or better yet, toss them! The images below range from the first dramatic scenes, to the more intimate, such as the slope-side tree surrounded by trails from descending snowballs. And last are some even more intimate nature studies, shot earlier in the season when there was only a dusting of snow. I hope you enjoy seeing everything here in black & white!

A mountain spire reaches to the heavens dressed in a new coat of snow.

‘Winter Steeple’ © Denise Bush

Clouds clear after a snow storm, leaving the mountains a brilliant white.

‘Clearing Over Coated Peaks’ © Denise Bush

Last light appears on a mountain peak above spruce, aspen and snow.

‘Winter’s Last Light’ © Denise Bush

A tree on a steep slope is surrounded by trails from descending snowballs.

‘Slope-side Slide’ © Denise Bush

A light snow coats some pine cones and sticks for an intimate nature study in black and white.

‘Pine Cones & Sticks One’ © Denise Bush

A light snow coats some pine cones and sticks for an intimate nature study in black and white.

‘Pine Cones & Sticks Two’ © Denise Bush

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40 Responses to “Everything Is Black & White”

  1. 1 Deb

    Beautiful! I think my favorite B&W subject is trees!! That is the image that draws my attention!

  2. It seems like one needs good contrast for monochrome, you must have an eye for it. I also admire your ability to assess and toss! I expect experience strengthens your resolve. I got to get better at that. 😉
    My favorite here is ‘Slope-side Slide’ and the sticks and pine cones dusted with snow are intriguing. At first I thought they were sedum, which are structurally similar. Nice set, Denise!

    • Thank you Eliza. Most of the time I just have to convert and see if I like it. Using colored filters in Photoshop to change the contrast often works well to enhance the image.

  3. The texture is stunning!

  4. Winter Steeple and Slope-side Slide are my faves. And the abstracts are fun, too! All great photos as usual, Denise!

  5. Well… now you have outdone yourself! Exquisite images! “Slope-side slide” is my favorite! Bravo!

  6. 11 bcplimpton

    Oh WOW, These are amazing. I think you should change your first name to Ansel.

    • Hi Barry! That one seems to be the crowd favorite. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I am always on the lookout for appealing lone trees. 🙂

  7. Do you have a sense of what it is in black and white conversions that appeals to you? That may be hard to put into words. Have you done a lot of experimenting with the many ways that Photoshop and other programs let you convert to black and white?

    • Yes and yes. I started out in the B&W darkroom in art college and continued working in B&W after college. I took additional classes before going digital in 2003. I like B&W because it is more graphic and not the way we see. It feels more like fine art to me. I am a faithful fan of DxO’s Silver Efex (fka Nik). I subscribe to two B&W magazines, (B&W and the UK B+W), plus Lenswork which is primarily monochrome. I think it’s a good idea to study exceptional monochrome photography. Some of the awards I have won are for my B&W images which I have always printed myself. Recently one of my B&W images was featured in B&W’s Single Image Issue. How about you?

      • Congratulations. You’ve accomplished what you wanted. I used to work extensively with black and white in the era of film. From about 1976 through 1983 I was enamored of black and white infrared, which produced ethereal effects. After I switched to digital 20 years ago, I became enamored of color and have rarely converted to black and white. I’ve experimented with it once in a while, mainly when a colorful element in a photograph distracts from the overall image. I should do some more experimenting with Photoshop’s black and white adjustment layer.

  8. Wow!!! I love these pictures and especially ‘Slope-side Slide’ . The vantage point and the composition are amazing.

    • Thanks YellowCable! I shot that from a parking area across from a steep slope. I used my Sigma 150-600mm lens and this was shot at 600m. It was what I needed to exclude all the other stuff next to the tree.

  9. I first played around with black and white in the early 70s, and have had a weak spot for it ever since. There’s certain magic in a B/W darkroom that you just don’t get in a digital one, don’t you think?

    • Hi Dave! Yes I agree … seeing the image slowly emerge in the developer always seemed magical under red darkroom light. But I don’t miss dealing with the nasty chemicals and much prefer the digital darkroom now. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. These are wonderful, Denise! I am a love of color too with my birds, but on occasion I can work with and accept a bird of mine in B&W, I think it is tricky with them too. 🙂

  11. They are lovely, Denise. I think for landscapes I like much the creamy tones as in your photographs, and I appreciate much this kind of closeness into the intimacy of details, looks almost fractal.

  12. 24 Terry Wilson

    Slope-side Slide is a stunner! I didn’t know snow made snowballs spontaneously, which rolled down like that. Very interesting!

    • Yup … snow chunks drop off from above limbs and ledges and roll down the very steep slopes. Glad you like that. I shot it with my 150-600mm Sigma at 600mm from a parking area opposite. Thank so much for looking and leaving a comment.

  13. Hi. I like these photos. Do you use film or digital cameras?

    • I used to work in the B&W darkroom before going digital in 2003. While the darkroom was fun, I’ve never looked back. I use a Canon 5D III & 5D IV, Photoshop and the DxO Silver Efex Pro plug-in (formerly Nik Filters).I’m glad you like them … thanks very much!

  14. Very nice B&W images! Enjoyed seeing them!

  15. Nice mono collection, Denise. I was wowed by both the title and the image “Slope-side Slide”. And I see that I am not the only one. 🙂

    Most often I prefer color but that usually depends on the quality of the hues and tones appeal. When there is little color or if the lines and shapes are more the story then black and white seems appropriate. I prefer to settle on one or the other but occasionally something works both ways. My favorite flower, Painted Trillium, is gorgeous in color. But it also is beautiful in black and white.

    • I agree … once in awhile an image works equally as well in color and monochrome. Glad you like ‘Slope-side Slide’ … thanks!

  16. As you might guess, the last three are my favorites. Another big thumbs up for ‘Slopeside.’ And the first image has a very classic feeling – it’s beautifully seen and processed. I enjoyed reading your replies to Steve and Steve above. 🙂

  17. 34 Ken Kemp

    Good work, Denise. I always like snow covered trees in black and white images.

  18. Awesome. Clearing over coated peaks…that one really enhances the wrinkled texture of that granite.

  19. I love B&W, but agree with you…it has to be the right subject, lighting and framing to make it work especially with such stunning scenery!! Once again….you nailed it! Love these!!


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