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Utah Tree B&W

Posted by
john4jack (Corvallis, Oregon, United States) on 5 June 2009 in Plant & Nature and Portfolio.

I'm finding that I like many of my red rock photographs better in monochrome.

PHOTOGRAPHIC GOALS - Yesterday Don Smith said this, "If our images are to make a statement, we as photographers have to be clear in our mind what that statement is prior to attempting to make the image." Ansel Adams spoke of the importance of pre-visualizing. I agree with this in principle. However, I also find that the sophistication and complexity of digital darkroom software often open me up to quite unintended possibilities. Sometimes I like these possibilities better than my original intended statement. For me, photography is a journey in progress. I want to remain fluid and open. I delight in being surprised by unexpected beauty. It is for this reason, among others, that I am not of the school that believes that superb photographs that require no processing are "better" than those that may involve extensive post-processing. Creativity comes in many and diverse ways. Although I may be curious about what a photographer did with a given photograph, it is the end results that ultimately matter. Creativity in all of its forms is to be celebrated.

"Luck is the attentive photographer's best teacher." John Szarkowski

NIKON D300 1/400 second F/13.0 ISO 200 33 mm (35mm equiv.)

Lydie et Roland from BESANCON, France

Apocalyptic view....

5 Jun 2009 5:30am

Jean-François from Les Issambres, France

magnifiques contrastes ! bravo

5 Jun 2009 5:45am

Toni from Eastern Washington, United States

This is so cool, Jack. Well done. Yes, Lightroom and Photoshop can often alter our original vision, sometimes for the better, sometimes not. It is so easy to get carried away with the processing, because it is fun, that we go too far.

5 Jun 2009 5:57am

@Toni: You LensBaby folks get to go crazy in the capture stage.

Peggy M. from somewhere in, France

A wonderful shot ! You have a fantastic vision of nature my friend !

5 Jun 2009 6:55am

@Peggy M.: Hugs.

Leena from Joensuu, Finland

A dream like view, wonderful!

5 Jun 2009 7:13am

Sarito from Basingstoke, United Kingdom

Superb dramatic shot...

5 Jun 2009 7:27am

Veronique from Sarrouilles, France

I subscribe to your point of view. It's nearly a greater pleasure when I'm home, discovering the memory card and opening PS than when I'm taking pictures.

5 Jun 2009 7:47am

Marie-Hélène Ammor from Casablanca/Paris, Morocco

Like in a fiction movie !

5 Jun 2009 8:33am

Elena Kotrotsou from Drossia, Greece

Wonderful b/w composition!

5 Jun 2009 9:31am

Betsy Barron from Chester Springs, PA, United States

Monochrome makes such a statement about tonal ranges - this one in particular with the dark sky, which helps illuminate the branches - beautifully done!

5 Jun 2009 10:59am

@Betsy Barron: Thank you, Betsy.

xavier cardell from menorca-barcelona, Spain

Good job Jack. The constrast of the sky with the rest of the scene is great.

I totally agree with your comment about PP. There are two different schools, but one must remember that the film was also developed in many ways, and a lot of work was done on the negatives in the darkroom to get different results. The main difference is that now we have different tools.

5 Jun 2009 11:05am

@xavier cardell: Absolutely. If you look at a straight print from one of Ansel Adams' negatives, it is awfully drab; his main creativity was in the darkroom.

jeff (aka dogilicious) from Millerstown, PA, United States

It does look fantastic in mono.

5 Jun 2009 11:42am

zOOm from Paris, France

Wow Jack ! Splendid ! Isn't that divine ! Filter ? Infrared ? Anyhow, it's a gorgeous image !

5 Jun 2009 11:56am

@zOOm: It was a matter of a simple conversion to B&W, and then moving a few sliders. Most of the post-processing had already been done when I worked on the file in color.

Craig from Vacaville, California, United States

I wonder if it is possible to agree with you, Adams and Xavier all at the same time (maybe it is just a cop out). I've always thought that one must learn the rules before being able to break them effectively. For me personally, I find that my better prints require less processing. And, if you have ever seen Adam's original work, it is hard to argue with his success. At the same time, the new tools that Xavier is talking about give us the opportunities that you speak of. I guess you can sum it up by saying, "It's all good!" :0) I really like your image. It could almost be classified as a beautiful abstract!

5 Jun 2009 12:00pm

@Craig: My personal workflow is to first get it the best that I can in camera. Then in Lightroom, I make some modifications in the Basic panel, followed sometimes by modifications in the Tone Curve and HSL panels. I finish it off with Sharpening. I send it to Photoshop if I want to do any important cloning or third party plug-in work.

Marzieh from Tehran, Iran

good photo jack

5 Jun 2009 12:33pm

willow from Chelsea, United States

Almost looks like snow on the branches. I like the dark sky and the sense of space created by the barren background. And I guess I agree that creativity is creativity no matter what form it takes and art is art no matter how it is created - photographic processing is just another way in which we can explore the limits of our own creativity.

5 Jun 2009 12:38pm

Sof from Neuchâtel, Switzerland

Cela rend vraiment bien

5 Jun 2009 1:38pm

BoB from Milano, Italy

wow an infrared effect? wonderful

5 Jun 2009 1:51pm

Isidro from Barcelona, Spain

un b&n con una atmósfera realmente interesante!

5 Jun 2009 2:02pm

Onlymehdi from Wayne, United States

this is WOW

5 Jun 2009 2:06pm

Yvonne Simons from Tilburg, Netherlands

This is gorgeous, looks like snow!

5 Jun 2009 2:27pm

Don from spokane, United States

I like this light treatment of the tree and its surroundings. The dark sky makes the picture eye-catching and gives it solid impact. Well done. I like with your philosophic statement and agree.

5 Jun 2009 2:56pm

@Don: My philosophic statements from time to time come from my attempt to clarify for myself what I think and feel. I welcome disagreement and certainly find my position and my workflow being modified because of the input of others.

Susan from Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States

Beautiful shot Jack...and as far as I'm concerned....doesn't matter to me how you got to the finished product!! Creativity Rules !!!!

5 Jun 2009 3:43pm

LauraS from Chico, United States

Nicely done. Very intense black and white. I like it a lot.

5 Jun 2009 4:04pm

sawsengee from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

a beautiful high contrast picture......the sharpness of details is incredible

5 Jun 2009 4:18pm

Loner from Wörgl, Austria

a very dramatic shot ! Super !

5 Jun 2009 4:51pm

[email protected] - Wolfgang from Granby, Québec, Canada

Great job. bravo!

5 Jun 2009 5:23pm

[email protected] from Paris, France

White hair trees are fantastic - as if X-rayed !

5 Jun 2009 6:41pm

Peter Mannfolk from Landskrona, Sweden

Now that´s an image I´d like to see on a wall... Great work. /Peter

5 Jun 2009 7:39pm

Veronelle from Lens, France

very nice composition

5 Jun 2009 8:44pm

Anna.C from LA ROCHELLE, France

oh jack ! it's a great work ! very impressive ! like an infrared image !

5 Jun 2009 8:54pm

marc battault from clermont ferrand, France

a photo that seems to come from a planet unknown, beautiful image, jack, good work!

5 Jun 2009 9:02pm

Steve Rice from Olympia, United States

That is a spectacular tree and photo.

5 Jun 2009 10:12pm

Scott Schilling from San Martin, United States

Dear Jack, I appreciate your comments! Great shot also. I have sat in quite a few meetings and I am constantly asked at shows that I do, if I have processed my photos. For some reason I think that the question is supposed to bring a feeling of guilt if I answer yes. I try to explain that absolutely, I process and use whatever method I can to create my vision of the scene. And yes this means processing, or sharpening, or converting to black and white, etc., etc.. The camera's seeing ability is fairly limited. I try to take the raw photo and create the vision of how I saw and felt when viewing the scene. Anyways, amen to your statement - I would applaud creativity in any photographic form whether it involves no processing and just the raw photo or hours of processing.

6 Jun 2009 1:39am

@Scott Schilling: Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment, Scott. One thing is for certain, if you don't do any post-processing of a RAW file, you have a pretty blah photograph; plus, the sharpening that digital images require is clearly best done in post-processing. We, I think, need to dump externally imposed quilt and do whatever we need to do to create the best photographs of which we are capable.

Magda from Vancouver, Canada

Fabulous contrast! Fantastic composition. I love it

6 Jun 2009 4:54am

bluechameleon from Vancouver, Canada

Exquisite! I love the complication of the branches and the light tones.

6 Jun 2009 5:18am

@bluechameleon: Thanks, Sharon; I have been having great fun seeing how my photos from our SW Utah 2008 look in monochrome. Some, including this one, look better.

Barbara from Florida, United States

Exceptional! A very remarkable image and processing.
The words and quote are excellent and inspiring.
There is no limit to creativity.

6 Jun 2009 6:10am

@Barbara: Hey, Barb; welcome back; I've missed you. Thanks for your kind words.

dkc from Xanthi, Greece

Seems to like those photos about the environment and how it will look like in 2050...The b&w conversion took the life of this photo away but in a great way...It is dramatic and beautiful at the same time! btw I can't agree more with John Szarkowski's quote...

6 Jun 2009 7:15am

@dkc: Thanks, Dimitris.

jamesy from christchurch, New Zealand


7 Jun 2009 12:44am

lydia from Paris, France

A very creative picture ! Great Jack !

7 Jun 2009 2:54am

dj.tigersprout from New York City, United States

beautiful light contrasts and conversion here -- splendid!

7 Jun 2009 10:58am

Yellowbear from Droitwich, United Kingdom

Dramatic Mono Jack

8 Jun 2009 8:53pm

Sarah Schneider Photography from Lancaster, United States

I love this..very dramatic especially the sky above. =)

11 Jun 2009 8:31pm

taffer from sant boi de llobregat, Spain

Really strong image, fantastic, and very interesting reading too. Up to some point, I think visualization is also in some way limited by our knowledge of the techniques we can apply. So, someone that, for instance, is a regular painter or pencil drawer, may have more ideas to take into account when visualizing, not to say someone who spends a lot of time on the darkroom or in front of PS. Just as the first time I tried a twice applied duotone in Photoshop, now I can think of images that would look as I like that way, but would have never taken that option into account otherwise. That said, and even though I agree that the amount of post-processing doesn't mean anything in terms of saying if a photograph is better or worse, a 'good' negative (or raw), will always give the best of both worlds, since it will look perfect as it is, and will still give the widest range of options for post-processing :)

4 Aug 2009 10:20pm

@taffer: Agreed.