I can’t help myself. I love trees – and I try to photograph them wherever I go. I like scenes with trees that have structure, like groves of aspens. I also like gnarly trees like the California Valley Oaks. I have bark details, towering trees, leaning trees, trees in fog, trees in snow and more in my files; the list goes on.
When I made this picture in western Utah around Cedar Breaks, I was drawn to the light, not the color of the scene, which was muted golden grasses, dark green fir needles, and white aspens. I could envision this in black and white as the strong side light made the trees stand out from the background so well. In memory of Ansel Adams and other great black and white photographers, I tried to capture simply what I saw – the light and how it illuminated the stand of trees. I liked how the one tree’s branches filled in the otherwise dark space to the left of center, that was essential to me.
I finally had time to process the picture (it was made in November) and I took it into Nik’s Silver Efex Pro to process it as a black and white. I increased the structure slider a little, and ran it through the various color filters and found that I really like how the blue filter made it look. Each time I use Silver Efex Pro, I like it more and more. I used to not even think about photographing scenes that might look good in black and white, because I wasn’t up to speed on how to create a good black and white in Photoshop – my own lack of skills, not the program’s! But now, it’s a lot easier for me to get the look I want, and for the past year I’ve been seeing the potential and making many more images for later conversion to monochrome.
Thanks, Scott. Yes, I think previsualizing -to use an over-used term – did help in this case. I look for contrast of light/dark tonalities. Many color pictures have color contrast, but the actual tonal values are still too close to convert well to monochrome. I often squint my eyes, to block out most of the color and see how things look – a very very scientific way of determining how it will look in B&W!!
I love my color but do enjoy good B&W photos like this one. Still learning and have found some subjects where I have thought to myself..this could work well in B&W.
I like how you explained why you thought this would look in B&W before you photographed it.
Nice shot, Brenda! Do you see much of a market or interest in the B&W images? I find people love their color! But I love B&W myself. What to do?
Haven’t been able to convince myself Silver Efex Pro will help that much even though people seem to love it.
I just saw your post on here, Bob. Sorry I missed it earlier – too much going on and I looked quickly I guess.
I have not tried to market a lot of black and white as I’ve only more recently gotten back to creating some. So I don’t know whether it will have a market or not, but I do love it for certain images.
As for Silver Efex, since you are so good at using Photoshop to do your prepping of images, you don’t need that program! I’ve not ever tried to convert to B&W in PS, and found Silver Efex Pro to be to my liking.
Working on my assignment for our meeting, it’s hard!!
they look like they’re trying to hug each other with their branches haha