Whenever I shoot a landscape that I think will look better in black and white than colour (which happens a lot), I always shoot it in colour first. I find when converting a colour image to black and white and then adjusting the black and white in the… image-> adjustments ->black and white, this gives you so much control over the former colour in the photograph, by being able to adjust the reds, greens, yellows for example which affect only certain areas of the image by lightening and darkening them. This can lead to amazing control over the image and gives the image a much more visceral appearence. It is hard to go to somewhere like Yosemite and not come back with a load of images that resemble Ansel Adams so all you can do is find something interesting and wait for the light to be just right. This image (Americana 15), was all about the reflection, but it is one of those image that takes a while to work out what exactly is going on. No wonder he spent his whole life in the Sierra Nevadas, if i had the chance i probably would too.
A recent trip to California meant I was fortunate enough to go to Yosemite, one of the most stunning places in the world and if (like me) you are a fan of landscape photography then its a veritable mecca. I tried to do justice to one of the most famous landscape photographers who have gone before me, Ansel Adams. For this shot it was all split really, between what was going on above the water and what as going on in the reflections. I shot this image as two separate exposures and spliced them together. The water itself was quite murky so the exposure would have naturally been darker so by doing a few brackets I got the right exposure for the image. Whenever I try and shoot a landscape I try and make it as three dimensional as possible, for black and white images this is done by trying to build up the tonality of the image. Like the master printers gone before me, you dodge and burn areas to enhance the image and for me this shot was no different. I worked on the lighter and darker areas till i was satisfied the print was enhanced to the point where it was visually more impressive yet didn’t have a overly worked feel to it. Hope you like the results..
Although I do love to have a play with images, sometimes you see an image and know that very little needs to be done (maybe a bit of spotting). During my trip to America, i was searching for an image that screamed USA USA… and i found it. The emptiness of America is awe inspiring and just when you think there is nothing of interest apart from the road stretched out before you, something jumps out and grabs you. This shot hand held for once, (I usually only ever take landscapes on a tripod so this was an exception). Americana1 was part of a large series of landscapes i took, different to most as it shows signs of human habitation but no less striking in its beauty and also symbolism. I love this shot, for me it screams america (I know, it is painted in the star spangled banner) but more how outwardly proud they are to be american. They could after all have left it plain… I am so glad they didn’t.
The second shot (Americana3) was back in the lovely Yosemite. Again, this image was worked on by dodging certain areas to lighten and burn others to darken to give a more 3 dimensional feel to the image itself. When I take a landscape I almost want it to look like you are looking at it in real life, like you could almost reach out and touch the trees or the water, if this makes sense?. Sometimes pictures just can’t do a scene justice so I try my hardest to rectify that. I have a real affinity with black and white photos, I am a more classic landscape photographer in a way i just prefer the range of tones in black and white, it gives it a timeless quality for me. Hope you like them.