Thursday, November 11, 2010

Skies, Clouds, and Trees in Black and White

This photo is from Manasquan Reservoir, last Saturday morning. The sky was clear with patches of clouds; later in the day, clouds would fill the sky, but at this point it was still sunny. What impressed me about this scene was the variety of cloud types and altitudes, in just this one small portion of the sky. The dead trees in the foreground were presumably killed when the reservoir was initially flooded. In the distance you can see the dam. I shot this with a polarizing lens and then applied black and white processing in GIMP.

In autumn, I normally like to emphasize color, especially for trees that have turned brilliant shades of yellow, orange, or red. We only get these colors for a few short weeks; during the rest of the year trees are either green or bare, so it seems good to take advantage of the colors while we have them. However, these brilliant colors can create interesting effects in black and white. This tree is a Pin Oak, and most of its leaves are at least tinged with dark red. (The color looks a bit like this tree.) In black and white, the contrast between the blue of the sky and the red of the leaves jumps out much more dramatically than it does in color. In this version, the blue sky appears dark while the red leaves appear light.