Black and White

Black and White

As a photographer and a lover of art, I have always loved looking at a good black and white image.

I like how, sometimes, when you remove the color, the true intent of the image just pops out at you with power.

There is something in the simplicity of a black and white image that makes it feel complex — makes it something you can stare at for hours to find all the details.

At the recent Equine Photographers photography retreat in Wyoming, I felt several of the images come through my lens in black and white — even though they were made in color. That doesn’t happen as much any more – I spend  more time in the colorful realm it seems.

Years ago, I used to buy black and white film to make a black and white image — I had to choose between black and white or color. With digital technology, you get to have both, so the image can tell you how it wants to be seen. Sometimes, I forget to listen. That’s what makes retreats like this one so powerful — you can take the time to really create, listen, feel the images.

Here are some more of the black and whites from this same photo shoot:

Self Portrait for my Birthday

Self Portrait for my Birthday

Most days I feel like this image … it is my favorite self portrait for that very reason.

Am I waving to the person looking in on me? I don’t know.

Am I struggling to break out of my wooden surroundings? I don’t know.

Am I about to be transported into the center of the universe? I don’t know.

And that’s the truth of this image and life… I don’t know.

So much of life is lived under the illusion of control — under the mistaken impression of being able to be understood. But even in the moment, the moment is not always understandable.

As I face down 50 years of walking around on this planet … with three mostly finished college degrees, a genius level IQ and 20 years of entrepreneurship under my belt, you’d think I’d know something.

But here is what I have all that has taught me: I don’t know.

And so another chapter of my life begins. I wonder when I reach the end of my days, what will I know? Let the journey begin …

Sunflowers

Sunflowers

Grinter Farms (https://www.facebook.com/GrinterFarms) is this wonderful place near Lawrence, Kansas that willingly lets people wander around in their sunflower field. How absolutely AWESOME is that?

And there are a BOATLOAD (well, I would use a more colorful term actually) of people who come out and wander around amongst the big yellow flowers. This year, I and my cohort Jen Wewers were two among many.

It actually took us two trips — we had one quick “golden hour” trip planned, but that turned out to be a little off the mark. (This is what happens when you let two “Ps” out of the house together on a creative adventure — and if you don’t know what that means, let’s just say both Jen and I are easily distracted.) When we arrived, 90 minutes into the golden hour, there were so many people there was not place to park. Listen to that: there was no place to park in the middle of nowhere Kansas! No place — let alone a proper place. (And there are parking rules, Jen looked them up).

The second trip was way before the golden hour, and the flowers were a little past their prime, but it was still an amazing experience and I like the images I got while there. Have a look …

Dawn’s Horses

Dawn’s Horses

This is a composite image from several different scenes — Estes Park, Colorado, Canyon De Chelly, Arizona and the Black Hills of South Dakota plus a touch, just a touch, of Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.

For the Photoshop aficionados, this is a layered file of 4 photographs with varying transparency. I then added a mask to each layer to bring out or hide the details I wanted. When I had the feel right there, I added a vignette. After the vignette, I compressed the layers, I duplicated that layer, added a dry brush filter, altered the transparency, merged those two layers, added a highlight edges filter, altered the transparency and then merged the layers again. I then go in by hand and do some touch ups. Viola, several hours later — Dawn’s Horses. I may still go back and tinker. I always save my layers in progress so I can go back to the bottom and start over if I want.

Below is a copy you can blow up by clicking on it: