How to Take Black and White Pictures

Tree in Color

If you are inspired by the works of Ansel Adams, James Nachtwey or other masters of black and white photography, you probably want to try doing some B&W yourself. If you don’t know how to take black and white pictures and where to start, then this guide might help you to get into the world of B&W photography. I must admit that I am no guru when it comes to black and white photography, but I have been experimenting with it lately and would like to share what I have learned so far.

Tree BW

1) Colors in Black and White Photography

As strange as it may sound, black and white photography is not about the tones of white, grey and black colors that we see in B&W images. Instead, it is all about the colors that are recorded by the camera and how those colors are converted to different shades of grey, whether in-camera or through post-processing. Back in the film days, photographers used color filters in front of their lenses while shooting B&W film, then would employ special darkroom processing techniques like dodging and burning on top of that to lighten or darken particular parts of a photograph (some landscape photographers still do it today with medium and large format film).
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Transformation v2

Seasons

Are there places you go to several times a year? If you are thinking about the next photography project, I suggest finding something interesting/unique and then coming back to the same spot at different times of the year to photograph the location. Two of the three images below were shot by accident at the Rocky Mountain National Park – I just liked the way the four trees leaned to the left and were all very unique and beautiful in their own way. I photographed the image in the middle first, then when I was at the same location in fall, I happened to photograph those four trees again. I was reviewing my images in Lightroom one day and noticed that I have two different images of the same trees – not sure how I even remembered them. Next time I visited the park in winter, I went to the same spot and took another picture (left) to add to the collection. Now I need another image in the spring and I will have a complete set :) Note that all three images were taken at different angles, which is why the backgrounds appear so different.

Seasons

Best of 2010 – Landscapes (Part 2, BW)

Dead Horse Point BW

This is the second part of the “Best of 2010″ collection for landscape photography. I have not done much of black and white photography, so the below images are sort of “experimental”. Let me know what you think of these! If you like the way they came out, I will post a quick tutorial showing how I did it.

Turret Arch BW

1) Turret Arch BW 1920×1200 Widescreen Wallpaper

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Best of 2010 – Landscapes (Part 1)

Aspens with Abandoned House

To be honest, I have not had the time to go through all of the pictures that I have taken in 2010, so I’m only posting some of the ones that I rated as my “picks” in Lightroom. I surely did photograph a lot more in 2010 than I did in 2009, but I am also getting more and more picky about my work. I believe that a stricter self-critique can only improve a photographer and while it sometimes can be discouraging to look at other people’s works and compare them to yours, I still think it is a good idea to do it every once in a while. Not only will it be a source of inspiration for you, but it will also make you want to get better. I often spend time looking at works of some of the masters of nature photography and their images not only motivate me to go out and try new things, but also remind me that I have a lot to learn!

This is the first part of my 2010 landscape favorites. Please note that some of the images you will be seeing in the “Best of 2010″ wallpaper collection have already been posted earlier last year. Enjoy!

Colorado National Monument

1) Colorado National Monument 1920×1200 Widescreen Wallpaper

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Yellowstone Lake and Aspens: Wallpapers

Aspens

Here are the images that were requested to be provided in a wallpaper version by some of our readers from our trips to San Juan Mountains and Yellowstone.

Aspens Wallpaper

1) Aspens 1920×1200 Widescreen Wallpaper

Yellowstone Lake Wallpaper

2) Yellowstone Lake 1920×1200 Widescreen Wallpaper

If you are looking for information on how the above images were taken, check out the first two links on the top of the page, along with the Landscape Photography Tips I posted a few days ago.

Enjoy!

Best Time to Photograph Maroon Bells

Maroon Bells Photographers 2

During the last two weeks, I have received several emails from our readers, asking what the best time to photograph Maroon Bells is. I have been to Maroon Bells many times, so I would love to share some info on when to photograph the most popular location in Colorado (and one of the most photographed spots in the world).

Maroon Bells

Maroon Bells is truly magical, the one place you can only appreciate when you are there. While photographs do show the beauty of Maroon Bells, they still cannot transfer the raw beauty of the place with its high altitude fresh air, the smell of wildflowers and plants, pleasant afternoon breezes, the ever-changing weather and freezing-cold nights and mornings. Maroon Bells changes drastically during seasons. In the spring (which is around late April and May), the water level of the Maroon Lake is high, the aspens have new leaves, with wildflowers and plants just starting to turn green. The summer is beautiful, with the busy streams and gorgeous wildflowers. The fall season is what draws the most amount of people to Maroon Bells, due to aspens rapidly changing their colors. If you are lucky, you might get some snow with aspens in their fall plumage. Winters are rather harsh, but still beautiful with fresh snow. The roads in winter are closed though, so you would have to rent a snowmobile to get to the lake. In terms of seasons, I personally like to visit Maroon Bells from mid-July to late September.

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Landscape Photography Guide is now posted!

After more than a week of writing the darn thing, I finally decided to post my landscape photography guide. I apologize for making it so long, but I really wanted to make it in-depth with all kinds of tips and techniques that I have been learning every year. Please note that the article is a work in progress and I do not consider it finished in its current state. I will be adding a lot more information to it going forward and I am hoping that other landscape photographers will join me and share their tips, so that I could expand on other topics. Here are some other topics that I want to add in the future:

  1. Printing
  2. Showcasing and Online Portfolios
  3. Photography Contests
  4. More post-processing tips and techniques
  5. Locations and spots
  6. And more!

Stay tuned for some simple flash tips to photograph your family during the holidays!

Landscape Photography Guide

Maroon Bells at Night

I have been planning to write this landscape photography guide for a long time, but held it off for a while, thinking that I could do a better job after learning about it more. My landscape photography journey has been a big learning curve and I have been enhancing my skills so much during the last few years, I realized that I could spend the rest of my life learning. Therefore, I decided to write what I know today and keep on enhancing this guide in the future with new techniques and tips.

1) Preface

It is amazing to see how quickly the world is changing around us. What seemed to be intact and perfect just several years ago is getting destroyed by us humans. One of the reasons why I fell in love with photographing nature, is because it is not only my way of connecting with nature, but also my way of showing people that the beauty around us is very fragile and volatile. And if we don’t take any action now, all this beauty will someday cease to exist, not giving a chance for our future generations to enjoy it the same way we can today. Hundreds of movies have been filmed, thousands and thousands of great pictures taken and yet the world is not listening. What can we do and is there hope? It is very unfortunate that we only act when a disaster of a great scale hits us and the unbalanced force of nature enrages upon us. But we as photographers must continue to show the world the real picture out there – the deforestation of our rich lands, the pollution that is poisoning our fresh waters and causing widespread diseases, the melting of glaciers, the extinction of species and many other large-scale problems that are affecting the lives of millions of people and animals around the world. Therefore, it is our responsibility as photographers to show the real picture.

Dead Horse Point Panorama at Sunrise

2) Introduction to Landscape Photography

Landscape photography is a form of landscape art. While landscape art was popularized by Western painting and Chinese art more than a thousand years ago, the word “landscape” apparently entered the English dictionary only in the 19th century, purely as a term for works of art (according to Wikipedia). Landscape photography conveys the appreciation of the world through beautiful imagery of the nature that can be comprised of mountains, deserts, rivers, oceans, waterfalls, plants, animals and other God-made scenery or life. While most landscape photographers strive to show the pureness of nature without any human influence, given how much of the world has been changed by humans, depicting the nature together with man-made objects can also be considered a form of landscape photography. For example, the famous Mormon Row at the Grand Teton National Park has been a popular spot for photographing the beautiful Tetons in the background, with the old barns serving as foreground elements.

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