Saturday, April 30, 2011

In the Land of Oz

Haley here. It does indeed feel a little surreal around here.  My family and I drove down to Hartselle today for ice and food.  I'm now sitting in a Starbucks in Decatur enjoying some internet time.  We're all so lucky right now not to have some of the hardships other areas of North Alabama are suffering at the moment.  I can handle lack of power and interwebs for a little while in exchange for that blessing.  *mad laughter* No, really.

So, a little late, while I'm killing time waiting for everyone else to finish up before we head home, I thought I might as well do a little blog post.  I find it appropriate that our theme for this week was supposed to be nature.  It certainly showed both Jen and I what it was capable of.   In celebration of everyone still being around, I thought I'd post some photos of the softer side of nature.  We've certainly had enough of its bolder awe-inspiring side lately.

Study of Bark
This picture was taken during a recent trip to Chattanooga at Rock City.  Phillip was in the process of poking fun at Jen for taking so many texture photos, when I decided that I needed to take one myself.  Texture!  Teeeeeextuuuuurre! (That's a jibe at Jen, by the way, dear readers)  I really liked the way the bark stood out in separate pieces and I decided that an upward angle would add nice composition, and voila.

I'm running on reserve battery power now, so don't expect too much more analysis. Jen, feel free to add some if you so desire.

This photo was also taken during the aforementioned trip, this time at the Tennessee Aquarium.  They have a lovely jellyfish display there at the moment, and I couldn't resist. I love the black background of this picture, particularly when paired with the glow of the jelly.  I also love the composition and angles created by the jellyfish positing its tentacle things (because I'm sure that's the technical term)

Phillip at Sunset
This was taken when I was still living in Tampa.  Phillip and I were driving me home to Alabama for a visit and we decided to stop off in Gulf Shores (before it was changed by certain environmental disasters).  It was December and so it was blessedly uncrowded.  We took a walk along the beach, collecting shells, when I noticed the compositional awesomeness of this photo op.  The silhouette effect created by the position of the sun, and the remaining beachy colors is amazing.

Anyway, that's all for me.  I'm about to head off to the no-power zone again.  I hope everyone is doing well.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Jen: Some of you people may have heard that tornadoes swept across Northern and Central Alabama yesterday.  Fortunately, Haley, our loved ones, our unloved (but very well liked) ones, and I aren't splattered about all over the place, but there has been significant damage across multiple counties--and most of North Alabama's power is out.  (I'm located in one of the few places that actually does have power, and I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone.  Poor Haley and company do not have power at this time.) 

We at SLP extend our well wishes to those affected by the terrible weather.  Since recovering is the main priority, this blog has been put on another brief hiatus 'til all is in order.

We're pretty resilient over here in 'Bama.  We'll be fine.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Purdy Nature

 Haley here. This lovely post by Jen was actually posted on April 26, 2011. Blogger! *shakes fist*

Hi, guys!  We're back to our (kind of) regularly-scheduled programming.  As stated in the previous post, both Haley and I went though some exciting real life stuff last week, but things have simmered down enough for us to resume the awesomeness....ness.

But, anyway, I'm excited about this week's theme: nature photography.  I love nature photography, though I will admit that it's not one of my strongest points (though I am working on this and have improved quite a bit).  It's fun to go outside and capture what's buzzing about or invasively growing in your garden, and though I'd probably brutally murder both when invading my personal bubble, I aim to improve both composition and "interestingness" in my future study of nature photography.

To demonstrate:

Seahorse - Chattanooga, TN (2011)
Okay, so this one wasn't taken out in the wilderness, obviously.  The Chattanooga freshwater aquarium is filled to the tank with squishy aquatic things, and this little guy was particularly prone to modeling.  I particularly like the lighting in this photo, as the incredibly dark background and the glowing white of the seahorse lend an almost black and white feel to the composition.  The fact that the seahorse's body is partially concealed also provides a nice contrast to the rest of the dark aspects sprinkled throughout.  What I like about this sort of nature photography--one that involves a living, breathing animal--is the timing.  Animals do not give a damn whether you want to take a picture of them at a certain angle, and they'll move right along with their business (I'm thinking this is their way to, you know, "stick it to the man," or something).  Now, seahorses aren't fast-moving horses of the sea (they're definitely not mustangs, amirite?), but it is sometimes irksome to capture a moment in dim light.  Still, this photo came out quite well, and I am pleased with the overall composition.

Dead Rose - Athens, AL (2011)
Next up on our agenda is a pretty, dead (or dying, rather) rose from my backyard.  This past winter in Northern Alabama was especially frosty, which is great for us Southerners who like a bit of snow every now and then.  Another great aspect of the snowfall on this particular day was that it was also sunny outside--which contributed to awesome lighting and even better colors to certain objects, such as this rose.  I love Ernst, my DSLR camera, because it is able to capture lighting, color, and clarity to an alarmingly great degree, and this photo benefitted from it.  I like the composition of this photo, actually, because the flower, in its droopy...ness (give me a break; long day at work), takes up only the top half of the photo, leaving room for the white background to play off of the vibrant pink of the dying rose.  Awesome?  Yeah, I think so.  Besides, it's purdy.

So far, these are the two photos I am particularly fond of when considering nature photography (that I haven't yet shown in another blog post).  Studying nature photography is beneficial in many ways, as it not only encourages one to more critically observe his/her surroundings, but it also makes one go out and be active in ye olde wilderness.  (Or, in one case, go to an aquarium, which IS getting out there.)  I look forward to further developing my nature studies, especially now that the mountains 'round here are in full bloom.

'Til tomorrow!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Filter on Through

When Jen first suggested this week's theme of filters in photography, I was a little hesitant.  My initial fear was that I didn't have anything for that particular theme, since the few times I've used filters have been for lighting correction.  Fortunately, Jen and I had just played around with some interesting fabric and done a few shots, which I then happened to have edited using photo filters.  This process got me thinking of a few of the other times I've utilized a filter when editing in photo shop, and voila... a blog post.

Jane at the Celtic Cross
So, on to some tinting.  This first photograph was taken during the graveyard shoot with Jen (featured in last Wednesday's "When Photos Go Wrong" post) and Jane.  This particular photo features our lovely friend Jane as the model du jour.  That entire photo shoot suffered from the drizzly weather of the day, creating a rather dreary lighting throughout the photographs.  At times, this lighting worked fairly well with the feel of the shoot; however, at others, the overall effect was rather flat. Such was the case with this photograph originally, which was a shame given the fairly spiffy composition and great pose of the lovely model.  What to do?  First, I greatly enhanced the contrast on the cross, to add emphasis, then I desaturated the picture partially.  Then, I tinted the photograph twice, first using a lightly violet cooling filter, then using a deep orange/umber warming filter. 

Kathrine in Blue
This photograph features my cousin Katie as a model.  When I took this photo, we were horsing around with some truly retro clothing of my grandmother's stored away in an upstairs closet.  Believe it or not, this original version of this photo is quite yellow with the model's face looking ruddy.  The original is a really good picture, with Katie's light green eyes peeping through the pale blue gauze of a scarf.  Nevertheless, I can rarely resist playing with a photograph in photoshop, and a few filters later, we find this result.  I didn't really do much with this photo in terms of editing, despite the drastic difference from the original. I did lighten some of the shadows, but otherwise the tinting does all the work.  To achieve this effect, I applied a pale blue cooling filter at about 50% density. This provides a blue tone to the entire photograph, and most noticeably turns Katie's pale green eyes to a deep sea green color.

Jen and the Black Veil
And finally, the Jen photo I promised everyone at the beginning of the post (you know, now that I've shown that I do in fact photograph other models).  This was taken last Friday as I was packing up my crafting supplies Jen's general supervision.  I was sorting through and trashing various pieces when we came across this fabric.  Jen grabbed the fabric and started playing, and I grabbed my camera.  The lighting, as always in my bedroom, was super yellow.  The original photograph was pretty darn spiffy, but since Jen and I were already being ahhrtsy, I thought I might as well go all the way.  Commence editing.  First, I drastically and repeatedly increased the contrast of the photograph and then decrease the saturation slightly.  Then I applied a medium blue cooling filter at 25% density. And thus we have the super-awesomesauce you see here.

Next week, mayhap we will grace you with some nature photography.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Links! And More Links!

For our Wednesday post, have some delicious, delicious links.

Jen: Here's another link to an entry from NPR's The Picture Show blog.  I really like how Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison use different media to create the utterly surreal effects of their photos.  Neat, huh?

Also, I'd like to do some promotin' for a small Mom-and-Pop shop in Huntsville, AL: Southerland's Photo.  I've always received great service from the employees, and they really do know their stuff about photography.  This is where I learned about my current camera, my Canon Rebel Ti2 DSLR, and where I get my prints and slides developed.  If you're in the Huntsville area, go here for your photo needs!

Also-also, I like puppies.  (More seriously, click on the link to see some really nifty ways to compose a picture with a spotted dog.  The second and third ones are my favorites.)

That's it on my end!

Haley: And, now that I have feasted on some delicious, delicious Indian cuisine, I can now offer some more of Jen's aforementioned links.  For both of these, I must give credit to my Da for having sent them to me.  I'm a lazy internet surfer.

This first link is pretty nifty as it offers a video tour of Ansel Adam's dark room.  It's relatively technical, so be prepared for that.  However, it does offer some insight into the process of one of the best black and white photographers ever.  The video also offers some interesting details about film processing, and the article that goes along with it is not too shabby.

The next link leads to a video of about the origins of photography.  The video features the curator of the Fox Talbot museum speaking on invention of photographic processes.  It contains a particularly interesting comparison of the daguerreotype to the photograph.

And, our last link of the night leads to a short biography of Louise Dahl-Woolf, a famous and highly influential fashion photographer.  I find much of her work, most of which was shot on a Rolleicord, to be simply stunning.  At the bottom of the article is a link to the Museum of Contemporary Photography's collection of her work, which I have also thoughtfully provided for you.

So, enjoy!  And, you can look forward to my post on tinting, featuring still more photos of our lovely Jen, on Friday.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Rose Tint My World

Oh, dear.  I got so busy writing up a humorous how-to grammar guide for work that I forgot I needed to post today.  Whoops.

So, let's rectify this problem!  Look, I'm posting; what a good girl am I.

Building on the past few themes we've had here at Silver Lotus Photography, I thought this week would be a good one to discuss/showcase some of my "tinted" photographs--or, rather, photos I have digitally manipulated by using a color filter, or making my own.  It's quite fun, and it can add some high-klass (with a "k") effects to your photos.

Harbor - Oslo, Norway (Apr. 2010)
This is what I mean by tinting: the entire photo has an orangey overtone, which adds a certain dimension to the composition's tone.  It appears to be very en vogue among our young hipster photographers (at least in Huntsville) to slap on an orange filter for a "vintage" feel, and I usually think that such a method cheapens the process.  But!  I like it.  And though I was being only slightly sarcastic regarding the hipster reference, I do believe that the use of a warming filter in certain photographs can lend to a more impressive end product--not just for practical purposes, such as color correction, but also for artistic purposes.  For me, the tinting of this photo actually brings back more memories than its original, but I suppose that's because it was a very pleasant time in my life: visiting an old university friend in her place of residence at the time, Oslo, Norway.  To be cheesy, the "warming" tint brings back "warm" memories.

Oh, God.  I'm a hipster photographer.

Heather - Green Mountain, Huntsville, AL (Jul. 2009)

Pictured right is another example of a warm tint over a photograph, but this time it's more of a yellowish hue.  I like how the yellow compliments and enhances the model's skin tones and also somewhat softens the harsher greens of the plants in the background.  However, the tint also provides a painterly aspect to the viewer, or at least a softer view of the picture overall. 

Additionally, the yellow hue heightens the greens, yellows, and oranges of the model and the background while providing that softness.  Neat, no?

No?  Aw.

Sloss Furnace, Birmingham, AL (Sept. 2010)
On the other hand, a cooler-hued tint can produce the opposite effect on a photo.  At left, we see that the blue overtones produce a cold persona, both in the photo and with the model.  Along with enhancing the blue shirt and eyes, the color filter brings a sort of overcast air to the photo, lending a feeling of melancholy and perhaps even loneliness.  (Perhaps a representation of how isolated we feel in this crumbling--OUCH, I was JOKING.)  While the photo would have looked fine on its own, the model's facial expression, along with his stance, gives itself well to a more isolated and colder tint than the sunny day had.

Well, that's it for me!  I'll see you Wednesday with some more awesomeness.

Friday, April 8, 2011

... Oh, God, the Colorsssssss!

So, as I'm sitting here with Jen reading over my shoulder, I've decided to not forget about my Friday blog post for a change.  Heh heh.  I'm going to start much the way Jen did with some nice before and after shots of how saturation can really help correct and enhance a photograph.  From there, I'll pick up from where Jen left off, taking us into the realm of true super-saturation.  While one of Jen's specialties is black and white photography, mine is color, saturation in particular.  Needless to say I have lots of examples.

Purple Coneflower
To begin we have this photograph of a purple coneflower from my father's front garden (designed by my wonderfully talented Mum, btw).  It's a pretty good photo all by its lonesome:  it has an excellent composition that adds interest to the photograph, and the subject itself is visually engaging.  However, the lighting is slightly off due to the overcast weather of the day it was taken.  As a result there is a grayish cast over the whole picture that I wasn't particularly pleased with. The lighting also affects the strength of the colors, making them look washed out and dull.

Awesome Purple Coneflower
But!  With a little finagling via photoshop, I can fix all that.  In this case, I only had to play with lighting a tiny bit, and, most importantly increase the level of color saturation in the photograph.  As you can see, the result is much more vibrant.

Urban Jen
In a slightly more extreme example of using color saturation to enliven and correct a photograph's color we have this next one.  This is one of my favorite photographs from the original Jen photo shoot. The urban setting is especially well-suited to the feel of the shoot: the building, and the brick, and the light post, and, and . . . I also like the composition of the photograph quite a bit.  The angle speaks to the feel of the shoot, and the lines of the building, post, and Jen mesh to create a overall dynamic composition.  What's not to like? The color.  It was super-sunny that day, and there is far too much sunlight in the photo because as well as beaming down on us, the sun was bouncing of the pale concrete. This creates a similar look to what we might find in an overexposed photograph.  The light overwhelms any of the color available to us.

Awesome Urban Jen
Again, photoshop comes to the rescue.  In this case, I don't think I had to adjust the lighting at all.  Instead, I just upped the level of color saturation almost as high as I could, and voila!  Now the picture has color that enhances rather than detracts from the quality of the shot (see I found another, more mature way to say that this shot is the awesome).  The blue windows adds an unexpected punch of color to the urban brickyness of the building. Overall, adjusting the color compensates for the amount of light in the photo.

Mahonia Berries
So far the amount of color adjustment, while rather drastic in the last one, hasn't actually been anything I would call . . . extreme *mischievous eyebrow arch*.  And thus, I give you this next photograph.  Okay, so it's not extreme at all since it's the before shot.  I'm a liar.  I know. But anyway, there's not really anything particularly wrong with this shot.  It's clear. The composition of the the photograph is good and creates a visually interesting piece. The lighting is neither too much nor too little.  The color accurately reflects the smooth green tones of the plant. Overall, it's a pretty good photo for a study piece. But, why stop there?

EXTREME Mahonia Berries
So, this takes the study a little farther by playing with it in photoshop.  Really, I'm combining two of my favorite techniques in this photograph: high color saturation and color isolation.  Squee!  So, first I isolated the color of the berries while desaturating the rest of the photograph completely.  Then, I enhanced the color saturation of the berries as high as I possibly could.  Repeatedly. It's a lesson in extremes I suppose.  Even without the black and white background the color of the berries would be fairly vibrant, but by removing all color surrounding the saturated portion, I emphasized the effect still further. /nerdery

And now, for my conclusion, I present one of my more extreme examples of color saturation.  This photo is from a shoot I did with models Jen and our friend Jane.  It took place on a rather drizzly day which affected the lighting in interesting ways.  To create the effect in this photograph, I repeatedly enhanced the color saturation to its highest value.  I'm very fond of the result, since it looks rather impressionistic (particularly suitable given the Monet umbrella which it features).

Jen in the Rain
Ta Da!!!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

When Photos Go Wrong

 AAAAAAaaaaaaahhhhh!!!! Run!  RUN for you lives!  *stomp, stomp*

Anywho, today's dual post is going to be on some true photo bloopers, since I had promised some last week and not delivered.  Hopefully the post will work just as well, with both myself and Jen commenting on each one.

Aside from your typical blurry or poorly lit photograph, there's a lot that can go wrong with photographs during a photo shoot.  As you will see in the photos below (all from various shoots with Jen), there's a whole cadre of problems that can occur.

Jen blooper, Downtown
Haley:  Sometimes, some clunky photographer *cough, cough* gets their composition really, really wrong.  Where to start?  My original intent with this photo was an angle that created a sort of intimacy, as if the viewer were peeking through the ironwork at the model.  Yeah . . . so that didn't really work out . . . The ironwork in the foreground comes off as clunky and overbearing.  It's as if rather than peeking in at the model, your vision is being blocked.

Jen:  I do see where Haley is coming from regarding the blocked vision; the ironwork in the foreground dominates the photo, rather than allowing the viewer's eye to peek at the model.  (Tee hee, I refer to myself as "the model."  It should be capitalized, to make it more awesome: "The Model."  Okay, I'm done.)  However, this could be a photo that would benefit from extreme photo-editing.

Jen with the Scummy Water
Haley:  At other times, the composition can be affected by things the photographer might not have noticed to start with.  Such is the case with this next picture.  "What's wrong with it?" you might ask.  Aside from the fact Jen's goofy pose (which may actually have been intentional now that I think of it), it's not that bad.  Until you look at the water, which is disgustingly scummy, and unphotoshopable.

Jen: This is true; unless you are incredibly meticulous, the dirty water in this photo (and series of photos) is nearly impossible to fix.  Other than the fact that The Model (tee hee) looks very...special... (and I'm not sure whether that pose was intentional), the combination of the awkward pose and the dirty water mar the overall feel of the photo.

Jen and the Touchy-Feely Leaf
Haley: Then there are times when something entirely unforeseen ruins your shot, such as a photobomber leaf. I point to our third photo as an example: Jen is looking fabulous . . . until you notice the leaf that's trying to pick her nose.

Jen: Though The Model effortlessly has people throwing themselves at her feet to do any minute task for her, I'm fairly certain that she didn't really want that leaf to pick her nose.  While The Model is grateful that the leaf feels this way toward her, it is a wee bit creepy that the leaf is so willing to do that.  Ew.  However, Haley is correct.  Overall, the photo is fine--except for the fact that there is a leaf splicing The Model's forehead in two.

Jen Spots the Zombie Horde
Haley:  Still other times, you might find yourself with a photograph of a pose that you thought was the awesome sauce in the moment, but in reality . . . well, not so much.  As you see in this fourth photo, Jen looks a little crazy, almost as if she sees a giant zombie horde starting towards her.

Jen: Oh, Jesus Christ.  I'm almost tempted to remove this photo, but it's so damn funny that I feel compelled to leave it be. This is an instance of purely wonderful timing: The Model's eyes are too rolled back in one direction to denote a properly human facial expression.  I fear this picture.  I fear what The Model fears.

Zombies are indeed upon us.

The fact that it's set in a cemetery is also hilarious.

However, let's look at the right things with this photo.  Haley did manage to get some very good shots with this particular pose, and the gloomy atmosphere of the graveyard adds dimension to the photo itself.  This issue is, of course, timing.  And now I have a picture of myself that will haunt me 'til the day I die.

I'm strangely okay with this.

What? You're Taking My Picture Again?
Haley:  But, perhaps you've not encountered any of these photo dilemmas.  Perhaps, instead, your problem is the dreaded model apathy.  In such photos, your model appears tired, uninterested, and as if she might be thinking sarcastic and unflattering thoughts as in photo number five, here. (To be fair, I think I caught her before she was ready).

Jen: Huh, I kind of like this photo.  But, Haley is correct; I wasn't ready.  Still, a photo like this isn't entirely detrimental, as photo editing (no, you can't edit in a better facial expression) has the potential to make the photo more visually interesting.

And The Model am totally thinking unflattering thoughts about you.

However, be flattered that she is thinking unflattering thoughts about you.  It means that she's at least acknowledging your meager presence.

Jen Go "Raaaaawwwwr!!!"
Haley:  And lastly, we have my personal favorite type of photo gone wrong.  Someday, you might find yourself in a situation when your model just snaps. This typically follows the aforementioned apathy and might be accompanied by, though is not limited to, screaming and facial contortions.



Monday, April 4, 2011

The Colorrrrrsssss

So, as Haley has suggested, we're going to do a bit of a reverse maneuver and head back to the realm of color.  Though somewhat similar to our theme a couple of weeks back concerning color and light (with more emphasis on light's effect on color), this week we're going to focus on simply color and how over-saturation can make just as much of a statement as your classic black and white.
This would be a lot more helpful if I, er, had some examples of uber-saturation.

Just kidding; I do.  Going through my impressive repertoire, though, I've noticed that my saturated-laden photographs deal more with tints, which will be a future topic.  However, I'm quite glad Haley has suggested this theme for the week, as it's let me look back on the few over-saturated photos and how they compare to my standard line of expertise.

Heather - Huntsville, AL (2009)
I thought I'd shake things up a bit a post "before" and "after" shots of the photos discussed.  At right, we see the original shot of Heather at Green Mountain.  It's a standard portrait shot, though I like the angle and how Heather's hair partially hides her face, along with her earring dangling just below her jawline.  Heather's v-neck shirt also adds to the picture's overall angularity, which compliments the model's features very well.  However, the original photo's color is somewhat lacking: Heather's skin comes off as too pale, her hair too dull--which did not reflect reality.  Though I'm all for original photos, some compositions require a little oomph (yes, that's a word).  Such as...

Heather, Recolored
 Yes.  Over-saturation.  As you see with this next picture, the hair is much more vibrant, the skin looks less like white marble (though white marble is pretty), and the overall interest in the picture increases because of the pop of color.  I'm not too sure this would count as over-saturation, but it did take a helluva lot of saturatin' to make this version.  So, I guess that counts for something.  Right?



H&P, Chattanooga, TN (2011)
 There's really nothing wrong with this next picture, which is adorable in and off itself.  However, as I started the editing process, I noticed that the skin tones of the two models displayed many shades of pink, and I wanted to capitulate on that.  So, with some minor cropping and increasing of ye olde saturation, I was able to come up with something a little more eye-catching.

H&P, Recolored
Voila!  Something a little more visually interesting, while maintaining the cute factor.   Note the pinks prevalent in the models' lips and cheeks, which actually brings more attention to the sweet peck on the cheek, which is the focus of this particular shot.  The male model's blue shirt also pops out to the viewer more, which adds a bit of nice contrast to the picture overall.  What had been an already-pleasant photo becomes all the more attention-grabbing because of some slight over-saturation, though not really enough so to merit being a model example of the type of photography...  So...hmm.  Give me a minute to think here...

Ah, wait!  I may have something.


Near the Tower Belem - Lisbon, Portugal (2010)
I...I got fed up with the photo-arranging system, so there's no "before" picture.  Still, you can tell that this photo has been doin' some saturatin' work.  I like how the blues of the water really stand out in contrast to the browns of the bridge.  (I also like it that you can see the Belem Tower in the background, but that's another story.)  Along with the other two examples, over-saturation brings vivid light into the composition, which emphasizes many aspects of the photos themselves.  Here, we see that over-saturation also adds contrast, which thus invites the eye to examine the various angles within the composition (see if you can spot them all).  Had the photo remained in its original state (oh, okay; I may be persuaded to put up the original), the composition would not have been as detailed.

Whew.  That's all for me right now.  See you Wednesday!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Look A Cow!

Okay, so there's no cow - only super cheesy jokes. What can I say? I'm tired and not feeling very well.  But enough with my moroseness - on with the post!

After reviewing my portfolio, I've realized that I don't have many black & white photos that I'm super fond of, which is surprising since I love playing with that feature.  It's drawn my attention to the fact that I need to do more. More!  MOOOOORRRRRE!! *ahem*  Most of my black & white work has been done with photo shoot pictures, none of which I'm including here.  I think it's time to break out some other pieces.

Waiting for the Trolley in Downtown Monterrey
California 2008
Voila!  This is one of my favorites.  This is a picture of my youngest brother, who is typically quite reluctant to have his picture taken.  We had found a large daisy on the sidewalk and picked it up.  I liked the beaming sunlight and asked my brother to hold the flower in the light so that I could get a picture.  I don't think he was sure what I meant, because this pose is what resulted. Needless to say, it's much better than any alternative.

While this is a fairly nice photograph in color, I think it is particularly well-suited to black & white.  The contrast between the dark of his clothing, the dark gray of his shirt and hair, the light gray of the wall, and the startling whiteness of the flower comes together nicely.

I'm also particularly fond of the fact that in any other photo, the wall would count as the "white," but in this one the brilliancy of the flower adds another shade and a great focal point.

Moving right along, we have another photo from that trip to California.  This features my cousin's booted feet and the hoof of her mount for the day.  My favorite aspect of this photo is easily the composition: I love the pairing of the different feet and the cross of the boards.

Here, the whites and grays of the barn floorboards and the strewn hay enhance the texture of the photograph while also imparting a certain rustic, barn-like feel.  Meanwhile, the really eyecatching feature is the stark blacks of the horse's and my cousin's legs.  The hoof and the boots also match in shade, and effect that creates a sense of unity between the two very different appendages.

The black and white adds a sense of rusticity not present in the original color photo.  By removing all color saturation, I was able to create a photograph that speaks to the mood and situation of the time it was taken.

Yep, that's a self-portrait, folks.  Enjoy it, because for someone so photo-obsessed, I'm remarkably camera shy. Like, I think, most photographers, I've played with the self-portrait.  Fyi, I think the whole self-portrait as art debate is stooopid. A bad, poorly taken picture is still awful, just like a superbly taken photo can be amazing and artful.  Does the subject change really matter?

Anyway, I think this is just an overall fun black and white.  Especially if you see the original color photo which is filled with a yellow cast and features some shockingly red lips.  Being in black & white completely changes the emphasis and focal points of the photo.  The lips have become washed out and blend mostly with my skin.  Similarly everything that once was golden and glowing has become white and pale gray.  Now the emphasis rests in the sheen of the hair, which is highlighted by the contrast between black and white.  And, of course, the eyes, which become the darkest feature of the photo.

But enough with all this black and white.  I think mayhap our next post might involve the reverse, featuring super saturation.  Jen, what think ye?