Nature’s Monochrome

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Some photographers choose to shoot in color, some in black and white. Occasionally, nature makes the decision for you. Often, I write about the differences between our own vision and that of the camera. Effective photographers exploit those differences rather than bemoan them.

On my most recent trip to the valley, Mother Nature really kept things mixed up. I can’t even count the number of times the conditions swung from rain to snow, from snow to clearing and  from sunny back to rain. The constantly changing conditions made for a physically demanding 4 days. The swiftness of those changes required that we push the workshop group pretty hard. I’m not ashamed to admit I was a bit gassed after 4 days of nearly non-stop nature photography. I’m always a bit melancholy at the end of a workshop, but this time the feeling was accompanied by a slight sense of relief.

I made this image near [wikipop]Swinging Bridge[/wikipop] in Yosemite last Monday morning. While the group was soaking up the classic reflection scene of [wikipop]Yosemite Falls[/wikipop] and the Merced River, I was looking for other compositions. Honestly is wasn’t that hard. When covered in snow, just about the entire park is photogenic.

To isolate this scene I used my Canon 100-400 on my 7D body. The sky was still very cloudy from an overnight storm giving a “[wikipop]soft box[/wikipop]” effect to the whole park. The resulting light effectively removed any trace of color from this winter scene. To my eye, the color was perceptible.  In the camera the subdued lighting and the compressed tones were rendered as nearly colorless. In a genre of photography where the saturation adjustment slider, in [wikipop]Photoshop[/wikipop], is notoriously abused I’m okay with that.


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