Unsaturated Phat

Twice in the past month I’ve been tagged by friends on Facebook to participate in a black-and-white photograph challenge. Post 5 photos in 5 days. Pretty doable, as far as challenges go. So I’m in.

It’s been a great excuse to go spelunking through my collected photographs stored in the caverns of Google+ Photos. Just one click drains all color out of the most spectacular sunset or the most riotous bloom. The black-and-white result, at first, can seem flat and boring. But then…

In the absence of color, other aspects of the image step into the spotlight. Structure. Texture. Light. Shadow. Line. Almost the way an x-ray reveals what the eye doesn’t normally see. What’s left once you’ve removed the green from the grass? the aquamarine from the pool water? It’s an interesting second act for a photograph. Here are the dozen or so snapshots I chose for these challenges. (And a couple of wild cards at the end.) For those of you who love taking pics, this might send you running into your own albums on a hunt for buried treasure. I’ve discovered that I even prefer some photos as their b/w alter egos.

twinpalms

Twin Palms, Palm Springs

 

pdcstairwell

Pacific Design Center, West Hollywood

 

whiterose

White Rose, Beverly Hills

 

bw.Venice.16nov14

The End of the Road, Venice Beach

 

snappeas

“Fish in a Barrel”  –  Summer Snap Peas, West Hartford

 

bw.LACityHall.30Jan14

Los Angeles City Hall – from Grand Park

 

Swimming Pool, Chamberlain Hotel, West Hollywood

Swimming Pool, West Hollywood

 

Date Palm, Rancho Mirage, California

Date Palm, Rancho Mirage

 

The Silvery Sea, Santa Monica

The Silvery Sea, Santa Monica

 

Burlwood Heart, Sculpture by Anne Shutan

Burlwood Heart, Sculpture by Anne Shutan (www.anneshutan.com)

 

Winter Grass, Rancho Mirage

Winter Grass, Rancho Mirage

 

Century Plaza Towers, Century City, California

Century Plaza Towers, Century City

 

Then I started to play around with some sunsets. One I took recently at the beach in Santa Monica. One taken by my friend Jenn at Tod’s Point in Old Greenwich, Connecticut. They’re just not very interesting in black-and-white. Lots of gray. The sky’s reflection on the water is such an integral part of the beauty of these scenes. But, what if…

hybrid.sunset.samo.21nov14

Unreflected Sunset, Santa Monica

 

Distilled Sunset, Santa Monica

Distilled Sunset, Santa Monica

 

sunsetattods.jenn.hybrid2

Unreflected Sunset, Tod’s Point, Old Greenwich (original photo by Jenn Myer Trainer)

 

sunsetattods.jenn.hybrid1

Distilled Sunset, Tod’s Point, Old Greenwich (original photo by Jenn Myer Trainer)

 

 

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8 comments

  1. Thank you Steve,

    I have always loved B/W photographer over all other. My first memory of seeing black and white art photos was in a Chicago museum when I was in 3rd grade. I could see the objects so much more vividly in b/w than color that I never forgot that moment. It was as if the photos come alive without the distraction of colors. My favorite in this collection is the grass – I can almost smell it and see it swaying in the breeze. Gorgeous.

    More b/w please.

    Sending good thoughts, hugs, ty

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These are fantastic, Steve. The black and white photos others put through my news feed were actual black and white photos mostly – old family photos, etc. Now I do want to go trawling and see what some of mine might look like if I hit that grayscale button.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your talent exceeds mine 🙂 The effects on the sunset photos are very interesting.

    I’ve always thought I wasn’t a big fan of b&w, but after seeing so many spectacular shots with exactly the characteristics you’ve described – texture, shadows, crispness of line – I’m a convert.

    In particular, I love your palm trees … especially the date palm.

    Liked by 1 person

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