Category Archives: Monochrome

Secret Garden

I composed this image to emphasize the arch within an arch effect. In post-production, I carried through on the same visual idea by adding an outer frame with slightly rounded corners.

Secret Garden © Harold Davis

Also posted in France

Church and Lighthouse on Gozo

This is a view of a church and lighthouse on Gozo, an island that is part of the Maltese archipelago of three islands. We photographed the view in the morning light before everything was too harsh. Gozo is a beautiful and laid back place where I think one could spend a fair amount of dreamy time wandering the cliffs above the Mediterranean. For some reason, there are a large number of out-of-scale and out-of-the-way big, fairly modern churches—like the one shown—in many places on Gozo.

Church and Lighthouse, Gozo © Harold Davis

I’m caught up in the rush of being home in California, photographing flowers, organizing future workshop and travel plans, and being with family. But I’m trying to go through my images from the past several months travel in Vietnam, France, Spain, and—yes!—Malta, and gradually process some of these images.

Special thanks to Paul, we could not have wished for a better photographic guide to Gozo. Gozo, the mythological Ogygia, home to Calypso in the Odyssey, is a place I really, really hope to visit again.

Also posted in Landscape, Malta

Lace from Gozo

This is a piece of handmade lace from the island of Gozo, one of the islands in the Maltese archipelago. I bought the lace notionally as a present for Phyllis, and photographed it on a light box. To put the lace on a black background, I inverted it in the LAB color space in Photoshop, then converted the image to black and white.

Lace from Gozo © Harold Davis

Also posted in Malta

Cliffs of Gozo

Gozo, the second largest island in the Maltese archipelago, is often said to be Ogygia, where the nymph Calypso detained Odysseus, using her wiles to make Odysseus her mate, and to keep him from returning to his wife Penelope and his mortal life.

Whether Gozo is indeed Ogygia I cannot say, although certainly the Maltese tourist bureau would like to have it so. In any case, this is a tremendously beautiful island, much quieter than the larger island of Malta, ringed by cliffs, with today a vast and dreamlike offshore wind pulling the waves into the island.

Cliffs of Gozo © Harold Davis

Cliffs of Gozo © Harold Davis

Also posted in Malta

Tables and Chairs

I photographed these tables and chairs at a cafe with no customers yet from above in strong early morning light from the terraces of the Upper Barrakka Gardens in Valletta, Malta.

© Harold Davis

Table and Chairs, Valletta © Harold Davis

Also posted in Malta

St Ursula Street, Valletta

This is one of the interior streets in the compact, picturesque, and fortified city of Valletta, Malta. I don’t think there is anyplace else in the world like Valletta—and I’ll be writing more about Valletta and Malta when I get the chance—but despite the world-class uniqueness, this view up a long and narrow street somehow reminds me of a more pedestrian version of San Francisco (when it is in a noirish frame of mind!).

St Ursula Street, Valletta © Harold Davis

St Ursula Street, Valletta © Harold Davis

Also posted in Malta

Old Olive Tree

I photographed this ancient olive tree on the grounds of Robert Graves’s home. The house and grounds have been turned into a small museum. The location is in the world-heritage town of Deia, perched on a rocky mountain on the south coast of Mallorca, the largest of Spain’s Balearic islands. The scenery is of the Mediterranean, spectacular mountains, and small stone and white-washed villages clinging to the cliffs.

Old Olive Tree © Harold Davis

Old Olive Tree © Harold Davis

If you don’t know him, Robert Graves is worth your time. Robert Graves was a poet, classicist, historical novelist, critic, and essayist; also, a thoroughly unconventional fellow in terms of his various living arrangements. He’s perhaps best known for his historical novel of the ancient Roman empire, I Claudius, but he also (among many other books) wrote the first biography of Lawrence of Arabia (and the only biography authorized by T.E.Lawrence) and a compelling memoir of life in the trenches of the first world war, Goodbye to All That (the title also refers to the definitive passing of the old order and class structure brought about by the war).

Entrance to the Warlord’s Palace

In the early years of the twentieth century a Hmong warlord ruled in the remote and high mountains in the triangle between Vietnam, Laos, and China. Opium poppies were the source of his income and power.

Entrance to the Warlord's Palace © Harold Davis

Entrance to the Warlord’s Palace © Harold Davis

There’s some confusion as to who built the palace for the “King of the Hmongs”. The guidebook says it was built by the French. Our local guide credited the people the warlord ruled, as a kind of tribute. In any case, the warlord was clearly sought after by the great powers, and also handled all issues of life and death for those who lived under his sway.

Incidentally, like many a building of the rich and powerful, the entrance to the warlord’s palace is far grander than any of the chambers on the inside.

Also posted in Vietnam

Tom Toa Church Steeple

On a quiet, gray day Eric and I walked along the banks of the Nhat Le River. This river bisects the city of Dong Hoi, a provincial capital in central Vietnam.

Pretty soon we came upon the steeple of a ruined church (shown below) in a fenced enclosure in a small riverside park. It has been preserved in its ruined state, according to the plaque at the site, as evidence of the war crimes of the American aggressor when the church was bombed into ruins in 1965.

Tam Toa Church Steeple © Harold Davis

Tam Toa Church Steeple © Harold Davis

Also posted in Vietnam

Rice Paddies with Reflected Tree

Rice Paddies with Tree Reflection, Vietnam © Harold Davis

Rice Paddies with Reflected Tree, Vietnam © Harold Davis

Also posted in Landscape, Vietnam

Thap Rua

Thap Rua—Turtle Tower—is a structure in the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake, an island of peace in the bustle of downtown Hanoi. The Turtle Tower is linked to an ancient legend of a magical sword, a powerful Dragon who helped defeat Chinese invaders, and the protective Golden Turtle God.

Thap Rua (Turtle Tower) © Harold Davis

Thap Rua (Turtle Tower) © Harold Davis

Also posted in Vietnam

White Rose Blushing in Color and Black and White

I thought this white rose with a hint of satin-like blush was going to look great in black and white, but when I processed it I saw that the color had some appeal as well. One of the great things about digital black and white is that you can have a “two-fer”: a color image and a monochromatic image. 

White Rose with a Blush 2 © Harold Davis

White Rose with a Blush 2 © Harold Davis

 

White Rose in Black and White 2 © Harold Davis

White Rose in Black and White 2 © Harold Davis

I photographed this white rose using ambient sunlight with my 200mm f/4 Nikkor macro lens on a tripod, and a 18mm extension tube to get a little closer. Each image is a blended combination of six exposures, stopped down to f/32 and bracketed one EV apart for each exposure (by shutter speed).

White Rose with a Blush © Harold Davis

White Rose with a Blush © Harold Davis

 

White Rose in Black and White © Harold Davis

White Rose in Black and White © Harold Davis

Also posted in Flowers

Harold Davis on Black & White Vision at B&H Photo in New York: the Video

I was in New York as part of a trip to promote my new book The Photographer’s Black & White Handbook. My presentation at B&H Photo was well attended and fun for me. The good folks at B&H were very kind to a somewhat jet-lagged peripatetic photographer. The video of my presentation is now available.

If for some reason the video of my presentation doesn’t load here, you can also watch it on YouTube!

Also posted in Photography

Tuscan Road

Wandering the fields and byways of southern Tuscany, I came across this tree-lined road, and settled in for a photography session, enjoying the action of the high-flying clouds. I processed the image to look intentionally anachronistic, essentially like a kind of illustration rather than a photo.

Tuscan Road © Harold Davis

Tuscan Road © Harold Davis

Also posted in Italy, Landscape

Last Light

As the last light of day touches the sea-kissed cliffs, it is important to keep in mind that although night may follow day, day also follows night. Be of good cheer, and Happy New Year! There is always light beyond.

Last Light © Harold Davis

Last Light © Harold Davis

There is always light beyond © Harold Davis

There is always light beyond © Harold Davis

Sunset beyond the Bridge © Harold Davis

Sunset beyond the Bridge © Harold Davis

Also posted in Landscape, Photography