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.


Twin Palms, Palm Springs



Pacific Design Center, West Hollywood



White Rose, Beverly Hills



The End of the Road, Venice Beach



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



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 (


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…


Unreflected Sunset, Santa Monica


Distilled Sunset, Santa Monica

Distilled Sunset, Santa Monica



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



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



Weekly Photo Challenge: Work of Art

art. everywhere. texture. pattern. structure. light.




Fountain Tile



Get Off My Lawn!

I lost track of the tweet, but I did download the attached twitpic. If you’re not sold on the idea of human activity contributing significantly to climate change, consider this. Trees remove carbon (bad) from the atmosphere and ‘exhale’ oxygen (good).



The ancient beliefs of indigenous peoples all over the world described the Earth as a living organism, a natural (not supernatural) entity. That notion coexists quite comfortably with our modern scientific understanding of the home planet as a biosphere of interdependent ecosystems. While the human race sees itself as the master of this domain… our hostess is likely to have the last laugh. She has survived epic cataclysms, asteroid bombardment, supervolcanos, boiling oceans, global ice ages. Dominant species, however, come and go. The dinosaurs were the top of the food chain for 100 million years. Humans have been mucking around for a few million years, at most. And we seem to be (rapidly) wearing out our welcome.

Frankly, I’m rooting for the Earth. Maybe the next species to rise, the one that takes our place, will be a more gracious guest in this home.