December 21, 2017
I have always loved Black & White photography. It's what I cut my teeth on back in the mid 70s when I started out on my photographic journey. While the genre has always maintained some popularity, I have had few opportunities to showcase my B&W imagery over the years as the genre was never high up on my clients' lists. This changed a little this year with a couple of publications featuring my Black & White photography. Outdoor Photography Canada magazine recently featured an article that I illustrated in the latest issue (#44) of the magazine. 'A Black & White Primer' introduces the topic. A second article by colleague Wayne Simpson explores the medium further in his article 'Lifting the Veil of Colour'. Also, check out my newest calendar called 'CANADA in Black & White' by Wyman Publishing.
I am working on a piece about the grain elevators of Saskatchewan and this one image of a lone sentinel caught my eye as a good candidate to experiment with black & white. The dreary, cloudy late afternoon light of a late winter's day robbed the scene of any shadow and color but, combined with a bold composition, provided a simplicity that could not have been achieved otherwise. This image of an abandoned elevator and solitary tree was captured in Horizon, Saskatchewan.
On the winding, narrow highway that hugs the Gulf of St. Lawrence on the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec flows this tall, narrow waterfall. I have photograhed it on many occasions but this time I converted this image of a detail of the fall into black & white.
I photographed this small roadside waterfall near Joffre Lakes Provicial Park east of Pemberton, British Columbia near the Canadian West Coast. At the time I captured this image I envisoned it would translate well in black & white.
November 10, 2013
Two weeks ago I led a photo workshop in Kenora for the 'Word On The Water' Book Festival. We had wonderful participation from folks across Northwestern Ontario as well as from Winnipeg. Things started 'in the dark' literally with Ontario Hydro shutting down power in much of the city at 6:30 AM which made meeting the participants an interesting event in the lobby of the inn.
Arriving at our destination at Rushing River, heavy cloud covered much of the sky but held some promise for dappled light later in the morning. Rushing River provided plenty of inspiration eventhough the leaves had mostly fallen off the trees. This simply forced us to 'look' more attentively and begin to 'see' shapes, lines, form, texture and color rather than subject matter itself. For one participant however, it meant thinking more in terms of B&W as this was his medium of choice.
Back indoors around mid-morning, we downloaded the morning's images and began to edit and process the images following some instruction. I demonstrated my workflow as well as how I process my images using a few different examples. I also demonstrated how different software tools can assist in bringing about one's creative vision. An image critique at the end of the day gave us all a chance to see what the various participants created that morning. It is always interesting to see how differently each one of us can interpret a particular scene. I critiqued the images by offering ways for improvement, always trying to keep in mind what the photographer is trying to communicate. I feel it is also important to invite comments from the other participants so that this becomes an inclusive dialogue rather than a lecture.
While I heard from most of the participants that the day had been very succesful, I would like to add that workshop leaders often benefit from these events too. As is often the case, I was quite pleased to see a number of fine images presented. What inspired me perhaps the most from this workshop was seeing how a few individuals focused on Black and White photography. I have always had a soft spot for B&W and I really enjoyed darkroom work, particularly during my formative years. When I changed career paths to working as a full-time freelance professional photographer many years ago, B&W took a 'back seat' as it was seldom in demand for commercial work. However, my interest in B&W remained and this workhop simply re-ignited my love for B&W. Thank you participants for this inspiration!
Below are a few images that I have processed since the workshop. Be sure to CLICK on the main image in order to see the other images.