Seeing Things In Black and White

The sunrises have been pretty in Austin lately - especially as they rise over the lake or river or whatever it is that the path I run goes around. But while I’ve long been fond of posting “good morning” pics (see: Why My Mornings are “Good”), I’ve been less apt to post these ones to them social medias and whatnot.

They’re just...too colorful.

I’ve preferred to look at things in black and white (and gray) lately. Color can be distracting. It’s sometimes even a crutch, creatively speaking.

Sunsets are beautiful, yes. But they’re beautiful anyway, even without the perfect Instagram filter (Nashville, of course). Add mountains or the ocean and it’s an instant hit on social media

Good Evening.

Good Evening.

There’s nothing wrong with all of that, but it’s all too easy to let the pretty colors of nature distract from whether or not it’s even a good picture being taken.

It is a greater challenge to find the beauty in things when color is taken away. It’s a challenge I appreciate these days, both in photography, and in life in general.

Take the color away and you have to focus more on the core elements of the image - center of interest, subject placement, angle, balance, shapes, lines, pattern, volume, lighting, texture, tone, contrast, framing, foreground, background, perspective, and so on.

Pretty Girl Black and White Stairs

It becomes an experiment in delicately balancing those elements, being hyper aware of how they all play together. You end up relying less on things like technology, and more on intangibles - like feeling and “an eye” for things.

Black and White Garnish Island Ireland

When looking at things in black and white (and grey) I feel more in touch with those various core elements.

Jill Poncho Colorado

I look more closely at the subject matter - the contents of the frame. It’s an exercise in noticing details I might not notice if I was had beautiful blues or greens or reds to play with.

As I Focus on Impact, I look at my life and projects this way too - that is, finding beauty or ways to be creative, without distractions or comforts.

Making the final picture turn out the way I want isn’t always as easy as “point, shoot, add filter, post” (literally and metaphorically speaking), so I’m not letting myself rely on that.

Texas Windmills
Ireland Church
On the road in Texas
Evergreen Lake House