Thursday, November 11, 2010

Is B&W Nature Photography dead?

I wonder if B&W nature photography has gone the way of film...basically dead. I also wonder why more people don't shoot in B&W with traditional nature photography. It is something that has really mystified me in the last few years. I also wonder if digital isn't partially to blame for certainly is a possability I suppose, but at the same time, it has also come full circle in a sense. I see a lot of kids these days who shoot retro themed images, mimicking the look of old skool Polaroid's using Polardroid software (a great free stand alone program by the way) and I see a lot of great Lightroom and Photoshops that many are using on their work these days. But in the traditional nature photography realm...not so much.

I was rather astonished a couple years ago to hear some rather very high profile and well known nature photographers say on deviantART that they simply don't like B&W images. This had me scratching my head, knowing that they all have Ansel Adams listed as one of their favorites, and I kind of wondered if maybe this wasn't more or less a result with being frustrated with the medium itself. Make no bones about it, B&W is harder than color photography, without question, it takes a different eye, and different train of thought, and a different take on a scene as a whole.

I firmly believe that one of the best things that someone can do to better themselves as a photographer is to buy an old manual SLR like say a Minolta x370 which you can have for a song on ebay, and a roll of Tmax and go to town. You gain a lot with knowledge about exposure this way. You also gain a lot with training your eye in seeing things like it hasn't before, not to mention it is just a good creative exercise.

I just wonder what Ansel would say today...and I wonder why more don't shoot B&W. The same goes for seeing photographs which are done in tints and tones, like sepia. I remember reading how Ansel was shown a copy of Photoshop before he passed, and was completely taken by it. . All I can say is thank goodness for photographers like Clyde Butcher who keep the spirit alive. He, in my humble opinion, is the second coming of Mr. Adams himself.  The next time you are out shooting, make yourself a promise to process a few on B&W (don't shoot in B&W mode in camera...just say no to lacks in so many ways I won't even discuss it here) and try it out and see what you get! Who knows, maybe you will find a new love in a whole other style with photography.

"Moonset Over The Towers" Garden Of The Gods Park, Colorado
I wanted a shot that spoke traditional, something that seemed very nature, so I decided to shoot this scene using my Sony a550 and my Minolta 18-200mm, with the sole intention of converting to B&W inside Lightroom3 and a tad touch up with Photoshop CS 5. I really liked how teh scene looked in the viewfinder, and how it had a very almost alien landscape look and feel about it.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

How does one get photography burnout?

Ok, honest question here, just how does one get photography burnout? I don't understand this and I don't think I ever will. I am fortunate enough to live in one of the most beautiful states in the country, Colorado, yet I hear people say this all the time. It confuses me, in all honesty. To me, photography is like going to the bathroom, you just do it. It is never a question of "I am not sure, I am kind of sick of shooting", or "I have shot there so often I am not sure I want to go again". Each and every time I return back to a location, I see something new, I see something which I would have never seen if I hadn't gone to begin with, and that my friends is half the battle, just getting out of bed, or dragging your butt to the car to get there to begin with. We only live once, so we had better make the most of it, right? For myself, that means bringing my camera just everywhere I go.

A good shot doesn't just randomly happen while sitting around at home on the couch, you have to get to the location first. I see a lot of folks who literally go in to hibernation and I just don't get it...really I don't. As an artist, I NEED to be creative, if I am not,  I go literally insane. I see beauty in everything and all around me, from when I walk in my backyard, to when I am sitting next to a waterfall up in the Rocky Mountains. It is the drive to capture it all on the camera that I enjoy, it is in my blood, it is in my every waking thought with "how can I capture this, how can I be a better photographer, how can I make the scene look best as a whole?"

Maybe it is just me, but I doubt that it is, in thinking this. Granted I have some extra drive in that photography is my sole income, but make no bones about it, I must create and shoot as often as I can. I don't just do it for the income and to pay the bills though, I do it for me. I do it for the sheer love, the experience of seeing things most people will never see in their lifetimes. I do it because I enjoy it. Isn't that what it really all boils down to? The enjoyment? So how are people getting burned out?

You know, it's rather freezing cold outside this AM, I think I will go get bundled up and go for a walk. Of course I am bringing my camera with me, too.

I have always loved capturing the textures during autumn and getting in kind of close to explore them. I decided to use my Sigma 28-90mm Macro on this shot, as it has some nice macro abilities about it. I wanted to not only capture the textures, but the light and color as well. Shot in my backyard, beauty in nature resides all around us!
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