We live in the Piedmont Region of Virginia and North Carolina. Once, this area was a major source of economic progress for the United States. Especially textiles, furniture, and tobacco. For various reasons, our politicians helped drive those industries into partial or full decline. My purpose here is not to judge all that, it’s done. However, I do want to share some photos I made recently that show the remains of some of those industries, namely textile and furniture near where we live. Martinsville VA (textiles) and Bassett VA (furniture). I find black and white presentation to show best what I want. There is a bright 9colorful) side to all this, but I’ll make you wait until my next post for that.
There are times when I like to set my camera on back & white, and make images when there are distinct contrasts in light. When outside, I look for nice clouds. Images like these can portray various moods and feelings. Here are some examples I made recently while standing alongside the Dan River in Danville, Virginia.
This beautiful scene made around 5000 feet in elevation recently is what I usually hope to find during my journey in and around the mountains of SW Virginia and NW North Carolina. However, when I find these same mountains in view right after thunderstorms have passed, leaving misty valleys, I believe they look better photographically in black and white. See for yourself.
This image of our latest full moon I made hand-held so it’s not the sharpest ever, but given that the moon was just rising above some trees across the street from our house, I liked the way the limbs looked in front of the familiar moonscape.
I got down low for this image of our new brick sidewalk which runs to our front porch. The fallen leaves gave it a nice look.
And lastly, our back porch light is always good for an image or two. Nice contrast.
I enjoy making high contrast black and white images. Here are a few made recently of interesting buildings in Martinsville, Virginia.
Some images lend themselves to black and white processing. When you have compositions that are high contrast, with few colors in the original, you may find some nicer results in black and white. Some examples.
I was watching a documentary today that covered the life of a famous photographer who made a statement that summed up how I often feel about my photos. He said, “The finished photo image is often much more than just the result of a mechanical process, it can also be the result of some artistic vision.” In the case of photojournalism, where realism and truth is key, I understand that the original image should not be altered, and in fact publication style-guides state that as a requirement for it to be published. But, otherwise, when the photo is used by the originator to present a specific artistic view, then I say, “have at it.” Thanks to digital post processing software today, it’s possible to alter an original photo’s appearance in subtle or dramatic ways. I prefer the subtle. Here are several examples, I call it “soft focus.”
These type photo compositions look best to me when done in black and white, especially on cloudy or overcast days. Most digital cameras today allow for this black and white setting versus color in camera; but perhaps one might prefer using Adobe Lightroom for example, to selectively transform a full color image into black and white during post processing. It’s all fun no matter what you do. Just do it!
2014 is not over yet, but that time is getting close. In between days of clouds, rain, and recently some sun here in SW Virginia, I was able to get out and find some nice images to mark the close of what has been a very successful year for me photographically. I thank the good lord for that, and also the genius designers and manufacturers in Japan who put together the best camera I have ever owned. Fuji X100T. Definitely not a camera for a casual shooter, but if you really are passionate about making photos, and want to have fun doing it like in the “old days of film cameras with separate dials”, then this camera might be perfect.
I could probably write a lot of philosophical words about the title of this post, thoughts such as “taking advantage of paths in life that are placed before us.” But, this is a photoblog and not a place to get some personal developmental inspiration. I do hope, however, that my photo compositions below make you think about what might lie ahead for your camera lens, if you’ll just wander along paths, such as this walkway in a local nature area; and if you do, perhaps you’ll discover something nice just waiting for you. But, be quick because some scenes might change quickly, as it did with this twitchy squirrel.