Welcome to another (Almost) Wordless Wednesday! This year I’m using my Wednesday posts to stretch myself photographically and to really improve my practice – both in terms of my in-camera photography and in my post-processing skills. To that end, I’m participating in the Dogwood Photography 52 Week Challenge. Each week is a different theme, although they run in a pattern – moving from portraiture to landscape to artistic expression. This week the theme for the challenge is Black and White Landscape.
This was actually quite the difficult challenge for me this week, both in terms of “landscape” and “black and white”. I think perhaps the biggest part of challenge is creating the time to do it. When I leave shooting until the Monday or Tuesday before I’m going to post a Wordless Wednesday update, then I am really creating an issue for myself if things don’t work out. I could see in my head what I wanted to shoot this week, but the conditions didn’t much cooperate with me.
I knew that the Biloxi Lighthouse would be an interesting subject for black and white photography, but I wasn’t quite sure how it would work as a landscape shot. The problem is that while the lighthouse could serve as either a strong foreground or background, with it in the frame, at that particular spot, there really isn’t anything else. Right behind the lighthouse is the beach. In the middle is the highway. Shooting from the other direction, nets you a house. (& I just realized the above photo needs to be straightened a bit. I was having horrible trouble with that last night for some reason both in-camera and in post)
So I played with framing a bit.
I wish I had paid closer attention so that I would have gotten a clear shot of the weather vane on top of the lighthouse. Ooops. While I like these shots of the lighthouse framed in the branches of the live oaks, it still doesn’t quite fit the challenge for this week.
One of the things that I want to learn how to do in Lightroom is remove objects from the frame – like those lightpoles that you see at the bottom of the frame. This should actually be quite an easy photo to do that with, but again, I didn’t leave myself enough time to play around with that.
While driving to the Lighthouse, I passed by a pier that was destroyed either during Hurricane Katrina or Ivan (although I bet it was Katrina…she was the one that brought the Coast to her knees), and thought – oh that could be incredible in black and white and might just fit the idea of a strong foreground…completely forgetting the idea of needing an interesting background.
As I shot and looked at the images that I was getting, I realized that this particular shot wasn’t going to work for the challenge either. There is that whole problem with the background. When I started working on post-processing, I also realized that with the fog, it was difficult to get contrast between the water and the sky. I played around with the exposure and contrast sliders as well as with changing the highlights/shadows/blacks/whites and still wasn’t getting anything of much interest. I applied a Nicole Young preset (classic matte bw 1), and I really liked the little bit of color on the horizon. It breaks up the lack of contrast between the water and sky.
Our surf was really up last night. We never (& I mean never) get wave action on our beaches due to the barrier islands. Our water is also really shallow (for the same reasons…you can walk out 200 yards and the water doesn’t get above your mid-thigh if that, usually not above your knees), but last night the tide was in and up…so much so that I very well may have ruined the pair of sandals that I was wearing. I wasn’t anticipating being so close to the water or getting wet, but when the waves started coming in and I felt like I needed to get closer to the pier to capture it, I got wet and sandy.
While I really like this series of photos, they really aren’t what the challenge for this week was supposed to be. (my pelican friends are here! Along with their friends the gulls) I can appreciate them for what they are, even if they weren’t what I want them to be.
Some days, or in my case some weeks, go this week. Planning can mitigate some of those issues, and that means I need to plan better in the future, which translates to I NEED TO SHOOT MORE (yelling is mainly for me, although maybe you need to shoot more too). The theme for the coming week is candy…which we don’t keep in the house because we are getting healthy…so I’m going to have to do some thinking about how to actually get those shots.
What have you been shooting this week?