I’ve always liked black and white images. To me, they can often bring a sense of nostalgia – a return to the good ‘ol days when things were simpler, and sometimes both harder yet more rewarding. When I’m in a location, either scouting or actually photographing the landscape, every once in a while I’ll feel a scene will look good in the shades of gray between black and white. And while I’m partial to color, I always try to go with this instinct and take a look at potential black and white options when back at home.
A few factors play into what I personally like in black and whites. First, if I’m shooting landscape, an interesting sky is a must, and a reflection in a calm pool of water often complements the scene. If the scene is a bit simpler, such as a lone tree or bridge, the I think sometimes that minimalism works just as well. This idea is especially true on foggy days. And always, I want to evoke emotion.
Here are some of my favorite black and white images over the years. At first, I tried to keep it at five, but I will likely exceed that number.
I have a friend who has a boat on this unique lake. He was kind enough to take me all through the twisting waterways that flowed in and out of the water-laden forests, and we explored these mysterious hidden gems in both morning and evening. Here, the cypress trees rise from the murky waters and create a both magical and somewhat eerie mood.
Slot Canyon, Palo Duro Canyon
I was able to visit this amazing site within the public boundaries of Palo Duro Canyon before the park superintendent inexplicably decided to make it off limits to the public. In what is now a brewing and looking like some corruption according to my friends who are locals to that area, the mess there does not detract from its beauty, and I hope one day (sooner rather than later), anyone who wants to trek across the plateau will be able to enjoy this and other slot canyons well within what should be public access boundaries.
The Chisos Mountains of Big Bend N.P.
This black and white image shows the layers of the Chisos Mountains looking east on a foggy, hazy morning from the Chihuahuan Desert. I especially liked the well-known Mule Ears that are easily seen in this photograph.
Pennybacker Bridge, Austin
At first, I was disappointed when I arrived early on this morning. I’d wanted and hoped for a good sunrise. The rolling fog had other ideas. Soon, a different landscape presented itself in various shades and shadows. This image was one of my favorites from that morning.
These two images come from different days and different times of year. Still, the clouds and the reflections were a bit similar. The patchwork of clouds make for an amazing skies and their reflections in the still pools along the Pedernales River in the Texas Hill Country.
Monahans Sand Dunes S.P.
On one of my trips to Big Bend N.P., I made and hour’s detouir north to this less-frequented state park to explore the dunes. The pristine curves and lines in the sand made for a stunning scene, and the clouds above only added to the overall landscape. Sometimes, you just get lucky – right place, right time!
I hope you’ve enjoyed my stroll down memory lane. I do like revisiting old travels, and that only inspires me to visit these and new places. I hope it works the same for you. In the meantime, stay safe and happy travelin’!
Images from Texas