Black and White


Self Portrait

I had fun this winter seeing what my beard would look like after not having one for many years.  My dear wife put up with the scratchiness for a while as it grew to what would be its full length.  You see, I got rid of it shortly after taking this image.

I downloaded the update to OnOne Software’s Perfect Photo Suite 7 a few days ago and used the Perfect B&W plugin to do the black and white conversion and to add a border to it.  They have a 30 day trial to their software if you want to try out some cool effects.

The lighting was a single light with no modifiers.  The black background was actually my unlit entryway.




A couple of years ago we were just leaving Victoria Harbor, BC, Canada on our way back to the US.  The wind was great, making the sailing superb.  A few miles from the harbor we came across another sailboat having as much fun as we were.  I did some major adjustments using NIK Software’s Silver Efex Pro 2 software.  Here is the result after trying a few options:

Sailing in Juan de Fuca

I had a fun time this evening at a nearby community named Hidden Springs which is about 5 miles north of Boise in the foothills. It was twilight and getting darker by the minute.

This tree has been a focus of mine for quite some time and I envisioned a photo with stars in the sky and the lights of the community shining from its windows. That wasn’t to be on this particular evening.  The sky was somewhat cloudy, so no stars. Fulfilling my photographic vision will have to be a project for another day.

I did take about a dozen shots, ranging anywhere from 4 seconds to 30 seconds in duration. This particular one was 4 seconds in length. This is nothing like it looked to my eye in the field, as it was very dark, but the more I played with it on the computer the more it became a daytime scene.

My wife never likes it when I go black and white on a subject. She says that it sucks the life out of the image.  I just laugh and she gives me “the look.”  🙂

Here is the same image as it came out of the camera.

What do you think? Do you like the black and white, or the original color image better?


Mid last month I was photographing runners a rather large 10k and 5K race called the Barber to Boise. There were nearly 2,000 participants, so a lot of photos were taken that day. As part of the event, there was an outdoor concert going on as people ate lunch after the race. The group performing is out of England and is called Scars on 45. A major claim to fame for this group was playing the opening for the TV show Grey’s Anatomy.

Anyway, back to the photo.  I had on the 70-200mm lens, and was standing pretty close to the stage and had a great angle for a profile of their singer, Aimee Driver. I wanted to have her lips close to the microphone, but not touching it. I patiently waited for just the right moment and CLICK.  Got it!

I opened the image with Photoshop and increased the contrast just a bit, then lightened the whites and darkened the blacks. Finally, I adjusted what Photoshop calls “threshold” to take away all the mid-tones. This was just what I was looking for. It is kind of different from my normal images, but it was fun seeing something in my head while I was shooting with the full intent of having it turn out the way it did.

Experiment with your images and have fun!


Today is Fathers Day. I am fortunate to still have my father around to talk to. Not everyone is so blessed. I spent the afternoon with him and my mom and we shared in very nice conversation. It wasn’t too long into our chat that I asked if I could take a couple of portraits of him. He is normally on the camera end of portraits, but happily obliged my request.

The setup on this portrait was quite simple. There is a nice window on the south side of their house bringing in some soft light into the room. There was also a shadowed door that I could use as a backdrop. I had him sit on a piano stool in the middle of the room, positioned myself so that the dark door was right behind him and started shooting. I asked him to face different directions, to look away, to look at me, to be serious, and to not laugh (which usually gets the natural smile I’m looking for).

It was my intent to show his images in a high contrast black and white even before I took them, and it worked out as expected. Here is the first image.

Assuming that all the shooting was done for the day, I put the camera away and we moved into the kitchen for some Fathers Day desert. The lighting was too nice and I got the camera out once again. This time, dad was being illuminated by a single lightbulb lamp just above the table. That same shadowed door was behind him once again. I took a few shots, then asked him to try a few different hand positions, such as resting his chin on his hand. It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, so I asked dad to move it into a comfortable position which he did.  Then he looked down and the following image was captured.

Happy Fathers Day!


Last week we had the opportunity to celebrate a birthday at our house and one of the people invited to the party was Riley who has some magical blue eyes.  I took several shots of her and found this one was to my liking.  I knew that I wanted to end up with a black and white image, but during the process I decided to keep the eyes blue and see how that would look.

Below is the resultant photograph:

This blue eyed image was created with Photoshop using the following steps:

  • Open the image
  • Duplicate the image into a new layer
  • Convert the top layer to black and white
  • Create a layer mask on the top image with nothing being masked (white mask)
  • Using the paint brush tool set to the color black and the mask being selected as the item being changed, paint out the mask where the iris of the eyes are.  When you do this, the color of the lower image will show through.
  • Riley’s eyes are so blue that it almost looked “creepy” so I selected the bottom (colored) layer and desaturated that layer just a bit to lessen the blueness of the eyes.

Pick out an image of your own and try this technique.  You’ll have fun.