Black & White Landscape Photography

Untitled – Exposed Roots
Gooseberry Falls State Park
From a portfolio entitled “Exposed”
©Scott Dickey Photography 2017
Nikon D7100
Nikkor 35-55mm f/3.5
1/100 @ f/16
ISO 400

Exposed Roots is one example of my fine art photography I love to do. The stop at Gooseberry Falls wasn’t on the agenda. Actually, there wasn’t an agenda at all that day. But there it was; trees growing with massive amounts of roots exposed. I was able, in about one hour, to capture twenty or so images with scenes like this. Enough to put together a portfolio of about eleven black & white digital images on Adobe’s Behance website (check it out if you haven’t already, it’s a great place to get your work “out there”). I wasn’t using the HDR method at that time so the image has been “highly” manipulated to render what you’re looking at right now. Overall I am happy with the tonal quality. But I’ve never been happy with the sky in this image. It’s not blown out or even clipped, but back in the black and white film days my skies where registering somewhere between Zone VI & VII, but I’d place this one in a Zone VIII bordering on IX. I had to do some tremendous burning to get it where it is now. I’ve taken it further on proofs, but it turns muddy and “blah.”

Untitled – Exposed Roots II
Gooseberry Falls State Park
©Scott Dickey Photography 2017
Nikon D7100
Nikkor 35-55mm f/3.5
1/100 @ f/9
ISO 400

Exposed Root II is another example of the scenery available in Gooseberry Falls. I don’t know if the common visitor gets as excited by exposed tree roots as I do, but the subject matter is plentiful. This image is another example of having to burn like crazy. This time it was the upper left (background) scenery. To expose the foreground correctly I had to make a choice (again – pre HDR era for me) and I chose the subject matter. The foreground almost appears flat. It didn’t help that the background was burned down so much. I always record in RAW, that’s probably the only thing that save me on the two images from the Roots series. It needs to be mentioned that each of these (the entire portfolio for that matter) has a selenium “tone” added to it. I realize that true selenium and the amount of “toning” depends on how long the prints is submerged in the selenium solution. I wasn’t real impressed with the replication done digitally. The selenium done digitally almost looks like a weak Sepia. Or I was doing selenium toning all wrong back in college. On the upside, I wasn’t subjecting myself to the harmful effects of true selenium. I discovered years later it has similarities to arsenic. Yikes!!

Untitled B&W
©Scott Dickey Photography 2019
Nikon D3
Nikkor 28mm f/2.8
1/250 @ f/11
ISO 200

Untitled B&W (just for reference I rarely title my personal work, I think it’s my attempt at being “true to the form.”) is an example of HDR converted to black and white in Adobe Photoshop. All of the image was manageable. The only troublesome place with a tall blades of grass in the foreground. That area required some light dodging, but not so much that I lost the highlights on the down turned blades of grass.


Untitled
©Scott Dickey Photography 2019
Nikon D3
Nikkor 28mm f/2.8
1/250 @ f/11
ISO 200

Untitled (color version of black & white) is an example of HDR. Typically, and I can change like the wind in my thinking on HDR, I chose the three exposure method (+2, N, -2). Depending on the dynamic range I can and have done 5, or even seven exposures differing by 1EV each. That’s extreme in most cases and takes a chunk of time to merge in Adobe Lightroom. But sometimes you have to do it. I think (and I am always biased towards black & white) under the examination of the tonal values of the black & white version, I’d lean towards the color version. I’m not totally satisfied with converting HDR to black & white. Something is missing. The distinction in the mid tones starts to disappear. I’m starting to play around with what Nikon labels “Active-D lighting” and see if that helps.

This is just one installment of my fine art work. Please enjoy!

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