Monday, June 16, 2014

My 5 Favorite Black & White California Landscape Photographs

Rock Behind Ice Plant - Morro Bay, California
I was recently asked to come up with my five favorite California landscape photographs that are black-and-white. Landscape photographs account for maybe 25% of my images, and of those only about 40% are monochrome. Probably 60% were captured in California.

I came up with a list of about 40 photographs, and then quickly narrowed that down to 15. That's when things got tough. Also, I realized that the five I chose might not be the same five someone else would have picked. For example, of the five that my wife thought were best, only one was in my top five. And maybe I'd change a couple of the images out depending on how I felt.
McWay Falls View In B&W - Big Sur, California
Rock Behind Ice Plant is one of my absolute favorites. It's an iconic and highly recognized location, yet captured in a unique way. That's difficult to do. Locations that have been photographed a million times over can be the hardest places to capture (unless you want a photograph that's identical to thousands of others). I like how the rock and the plants have a similar design and almost blend into each other. The featureless sky provides relief and balance to the busy scene.

I like the color version of McWay Falls View better than the monochrome. But I still like the black-and-white version. Unfortunately, there are a whole bunch of photographs that look quite similar to this one because there is a small vantage point to view the falls. What I accomplished in Rock Behind Ice Plant I failed in McWay Falls View. Even so, I think it is a nice landscape photograph.
Soledad Mountains - Mojave, California
There is a lot of depth in Soledad Mountains. You have the big sky with interesting clouds, the distant mountains which have some character, and the shadowed creosote foreground. It is dramatic enough to draw the viewer in and there's enough going on to keep the viewer's attention.

Boulder Bay is kind of like McWay Falls View in that it is a commonly photographed site and not really done in a unique way. But it is still a nice landscape photograph that I like.
Boulder Bay - Big Bear Lake, California
Finally, Covered Bridge is a lovely cold landscape featuring Kern County's only covered bridge. It happens to be down the road from my house. I like the depth, beauty and feeling of this photograph. The contrast is great, too.

I captured four of these photographs with a Sigma DP2 Merrill and one with a Nokia Lumia 1020. I won't say which are from which. Vision is what matters most in photography.
Covered Bridge - Stallion Springs, California

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