Category Archives: Monochrome

Inside Prague’s Old Town Square Tower

For a book about black and white photography I am working on, I needed a few more images from Prague in the Czech Republic.

This image shows the inside of Prague’s Old Town Square Tower. From the deck outside the tower there is a great view of Prague, and inside the tower the elegant spiral stair with an elevator in its center is really nifty, too! Click here for the original story from my 2015 visit to Prague (with the image in color).

Inside the Old Market Tower in Black & White © Harold Davis

Inside the Old Market Tower in Black & White © Harold Davis

Exif info: Nikon D810, 15mm Zeiss 2.8 Distagon, 1/60 of a second at f/2.8 and ISO 2,000, hand held; multi-RAW processed in ACR and Photoshop; converted to black and white in Photoshop and Nik Silver Efex Pro.

Also posted in Czech

Magic Reflections

Warped, photo-composited with a horizontal mirror of itself, and converted to black and white with a partial etching effect, the Abbaye Sainte-Foy in Conques takes on an illusion and appearance almost like a work by M.C. Escher. The color version is also shown at the bottom.

Magic Reflections © Harold Davis

Magic Reflections © Harold Davis

Window on the Ancient Abbey © Harold Davis

Window on the Ancient Abbey © Harold Davis

Also posted in France

Succulent from our Garden

Succulent from our Garden © Harold Davis

Succulent from our Garden © Harold Davis

Fortunately, this succulent was in a planter so I could bring it indoors and out of the wind to photograph. 85mm macro, nine exposures at shutter speeds from 1/4 of a second to 2 minutes, each exposure at f/64 and ISO 100; tripod mounted; processed and converted to black and white in Adobe Camera RAW, Photoshop, Nik HDR Efex Pro, and Nik Silver Efex Pro.

Old Train Bridge near Calvignac, France

I clambered up the steep embankment, and followed the faint path that ducked under the barbed-wire fence. Once on the train tracks, I headed onto the old bridge across the Lot River rural France.

© Harold Davis

Old Train Bridge near Calvignac, France © Harold Davis

Clearly, these tracks weren’t in use. Still, there’s something about being planted squarely in the middle of train tracks on an old, rusty bridge high above a rushing river that gets the blood flowing (almost as fast as the water below)!

Old Train Bridge near Calvignac, France (Black & White) © Harold Davis

Old Train Bridge (Black & White) © Harold Davis

Zeiss 35mm lens at f/16 and ISO 100, ten exposures at shutter speeds from 0.4 of a second to 1/500 of a second, tripod mounted. Processed in Adobe Camera RAW, Bik HDR Efex Pro, and Photoshop. Black and white conversion using Photoshop, Nik Silver Efex Pro, and Perfect B&W.

Related image: Old Train Bridge, Maine.

Also posted in France, HDR

Nanzenji Aqueduct

Nanzenji is one of the Five Great Zen Temples of Kyoto, Japan. Wandering through the grounds at Nanzenji, I came across a huge red brick aqueduct, built in the 19th century, and designed to carry water to Kyoto from Lake Biwa (it is still in use today). The mammoth nature of this structure seemed incredibly interesting to me, so I moved underneath the aqueduct with my camera and tripod to capture its supports, which seemed oddly out of place, almost like an ancient Roman engineering project in the heart of Japanese Zen.

This image is brought to mind because it is one of the illustrations in my new book The Photographer’s Black & White Handbook, which will be published by Monacelli Press.

Under the Aqueduct at Nanzen-ji

Under the Aqueduct at Nanzenji © Harold Davis

28mm, 4/5 of a second at f/22 and ISO 100, tripod mounted; processed in Photoshop, and converted to black and white in Photoshop and Nik Silver Efex Pro.

Click here for more blog stories about Japan.

Related image: Under the Yaquina Bay Bridge.

Also posted in Japan

Gourds

I realize that I never blogged this iPhone image of gourds, which I rather like. It was photographed locally at the wonderful Berkeley Bowl produce market. I processed in on my phone in the Snapseed app.

Gourds © Harold Davis

                                               Gourds © Harold Davis

Also posted in iPhone

Remains of the Clematis

What happens when the bloom on the clematis fades? When the leaves fall off, and all that is left is the wabi-sabi of the central flower core?

Remains of the Clematis © Harold Davis

Remains of the Clematis © Harold Davis

Shown here photographed on a light box, in Photoshop converted to monochromatic, and duplicated—with the duplicate L-channel inverted in LAB color to substitute white for black, and black for white.

Also posted in Flowers, Photography

Fetish

Technically speaking, a fetish is defined as “an inanimate object worshiped for its supposed magical powers or because it is considered to be inhabited by a spirit.” I photographed the fetish object shown here in the lobby of my Paris hotel with my iPhone, then processed it on my iPhone to convert to black and white, and to add the background texture. By the way, if you noted that my iPhone itself is a fetish, you might not be far off.

Fetish  Harold Davis

Fetish © Harold Davis

Also posted in iPhone, Photography

Eglise Sainte Jean

The doors to the church in Najac, France are closed tight—which helps lead to the visual sense that one never really knows what goes on behind closed doors. The entrance to the church of Saint Jean is photographed here with my 16mm rectangular fisheye to emphasize the circular effect of the placement of the doors.

Entrance, Eglise Sainte Jean, Najac © Harold Davis

Entrance, Eglise Sainte Jean, Najac © Harold Davis

Also posted in France, Photography

Opera Garnier Stairs

It was fun to photograph again today in the crazily ornate Opera Garnier. This one is nine exposures using a fisheye lens. Since no tripods are allowed, I very carefully placed the camera on a ledge. I used auto-bracket mode and a remote trigger to fire nine exposures separated by one f-stop each. The bracketed sequence was combined using Nik HDR Efex Pro.

Opera Garnier Stairs © Harold Davis

Opera Garnier Stairs © Harold Davis

Also posted in Paris

Lot River Valley

Today we walked to the small town of Calvignac, France perched on a rocky crag, and about 3 kilometers from the Mas de Garrigue. The weather threatened rain, and was misting when we set out. But along the way the clouds opened up, the threatened rain never arrived, and from the ledges in Calvignac there were glorious views across the valley and the bends in the Lot River.

Lot River Valley © Harold Davis

Lot River Valley © Harold Davis

This is a seven exposure blend shot on a tripod using the Zeiss 35mm f/1.4. Each exposure was shot at f/6.3 and ISO 100, with shutter speeds between 1/40 of a second (for the dark trees in the foreground) and 1/2,500 of a second (for the bright clouds in the sky).

I used the image as a black and white demo for the group, first processing the seven exposures using Nik HDR Efex Pro. Next, I tweaked the color version. Finally, I converted to black and white using a layer stack, layers, masking, and a number of different conversion filters and presets.

Also posted in France, Landscape

Metamorphosis

A metamorphosis is a transformation. In this image, a model, also shown in Nude Descending a Ladder, is transforming into a portion of Multnomah Falls (or vice versa, the waterfall is transforming into the model). More abstractly, there is a larger view in which the waterfall is itself becoming a figure—vengeful Goddess or otherwise!

Metamorphosis © Harold Davis

Metamorphosis © Harold Davis

The two images I combined to make Metamorphosis are Waterfall (below) and Shout to the Soul (far below). Waterfall is a fairly straight photo of a portion of the upper Multnomah waterfall, while Shout to the Soul has been manipulated and transformed to fit together with the falling water.

Waterfall © Harold Davis

Waterfall © Harold Davis

Shout to the Soul © Harold Davis

Shout to the Soul © Harold Davis

 

Also posted in Models

Yaquina Bay Bridge

In the fog, the Yaquina Bay Bridge seemed to stretch on forever. The ending was obscure, and vanishingly difficult to find.

Yaquina Bay Bridge © Harold Davis

Yaquina Bay Bridge © Harold Davis

Also posted in Landscape, Photography

From Darkness into Light

Photography is famously about “writing with light”—or rendering light. In fact, light is integral to photography. You can’t photograph a physical object. You can only capture the light reflected or emitted by your subject.

Upper Horsetail Falls © Harold Davis

Upper Horsetail Falls © Harold Davis

How interesting then that the choice of rendering can lead a subject—such as Upper Horsetail Falls, shown in these two images—from darkness into light. Keep in mind that the choice is yours. But often the dark side is more mysterious, and therefore potentially more interesting!

Behind the Waterfall © Harold Davis

Behind the Waterfall © Harold Davis

Related stories: Fairy Falls; Cold is the colour of crystal; White River Falls.

Also posted in Landscape, Photography

Fairy Falls

Yesterday, after photographing Multnomah Falls, I walked up the icy path to Benson Bridge. From this bridge, I climbed the numbered switchbacks to the top of Multnomah Falls. From the vertiginous overlook I peered down the rushing waters to the floor of the Columbia River Gorge.

© Harold Davis

Fairy Falls © Harold Davis

From this cliff-top vantage point I continued up the trail past Dutchman Falls, Weisendanger Falls, and Ecola Falls. I turned right on a side trail to contour round towards Wahkeena Springs. From Wahkeena Springs, I headed down the long loop trail back to the Multnomah Falls lodge. Along the way I passed many waterfalls, including Fairy Falls, shown in the image.

As I started photographing Fairy Falls, I was struck by the way the light funneled from the top of the falls, almost as if the arc of lighted was flowing with purpose with the water.

Waterfalls are one of those subjects that are inherently uplifting—the majesty of nature is easily apparent. When it’s possible I’d like to try for something more in my waterfall imagery, a suggestion of the spiritual and a deeper echo of the emotional resonance that waterfalls have for us. Here’s to falling water, and here’s to something deeper than a pretty face!

Also posted in Landscape, Photography