Category Archives: Monochrome

Summer Grass

In the traffic island in the middle of our Morning Glory Circle, as spring turns to summer the grass is drying and turning a California brown. I cut and carefully arranged a few stalks on my light box, and used LAB inversion to add a black background.

Before I had left for my Camino, I started photographing grasses and “weeds”—I think this has become a whole, interesting sub-genre for me. After all, it is the wise botanical artist who knows the distinction between flower and weed is somewhat arbitrary, and in the eye of the beholder. The less-well regarded weed can often surpass in structural interest the hoity-toity flower.

Summer Grass © Harold Davis

More images of grasses and such: Oxalis; Street Grasses; Decorative Grass; Blades of Grass; no real flowers need apply!

Also posted in Photograms, Photography

Geometry

This is the ancient and magnificent Pont Valentre in Cahors, France and its reflections in the Lot River on a clear day with still water.

Geometry © Harold Davis

Also posted in France

Above the Gran Via

The grand hotels and stately buildings in Madrid have to be seen to be believed, and they are often best seen from above the ground floor. This image of the decorative balconies along Madrid’s Gran Via is a composite of eight images—to manage the extremes of the dynamic range—and was made on the fourth floor. Actually, the fifth floor by US designation (here in Europe what we’d call the first floor is floor zero, and one-off discrepancy between the continents).

Above the Gran Via © Harold Davis

Egg

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Coming downstairs on a school-day morning, I found a boiled egg that Nicky spurned alone in a small white bowl. The bowl was lit by beautiful ambient (but strong) sunlight from the kitchen window.

Somewhat groggily (it was before my first dose of caffeine) I contemplated my technical options from iPhone to full-court drill with camera, tripod, and Zeiss Otus. I went for the middle ground: the DSLR (Nikon D850) with a macro lens (Zeiss 50mm f/2), handheld, bumping the ISO to compensate for the lack of a tripod (I wanted to get to the cup of coffee sometime in this life!).

My interest was to use the available light to make the ovoid shape of the egg stand out above the shadows, and it is always fun to create an abstraction (or a semi-abstraction) from the everyday things around one.

Egg © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photography

Devotional Pose

Devotional Pose © Harold Davis

Click here for a related image, and here for more in my Multiple Exposure series.

Model: Muirina Fae

Also posted in Models, Multiple Exposures

New print on Moab Entrada Rag Textured

As you can see here, I just made a new print on Moab Entrada Rag Textured. I’m pleased with the way this came out, and I think the moderate texture of the paper contrasts but works very nicely with the styling of the image—a rendering of a coastal oak tree, with the image shown at the bottom of this story!

New Print on Entrada Rag Textured © Harold Davis

California Oak Tree © Harold Davis

Also posted in Landscape, Photography

Point Bonita

At dusk the outer cliffs of the Headlands become shrouded in mystery. Point Bonita Lighthouse guards the approach to the Golden Gate, as it has since the days of steamships. A formidable approach indeed, who is to know from the rugged coast that the way is open to a vast inland bay?

Point Bonita in Black and White © Harold Davis

Point Bonita Lighthouse © Harold Davis

Also posted in Landscape, Photography, San Francisco Area

So it begins

That Embarcadero Center and those back stairs get my juices flowing every time. This one is based on a single, handheld exposure using the Zeiss Milvius 25mm f/1.4, exposed at 125 of a second, f/1.4, and ISO 1250.

So it begins © Harold Davis

Some related images: Spirals, Endless Stair, and Calling Alice. By coincidence, in a life cycle spiral, I had my oldest son Julian with me yesterday when I made this photo, just as I did many years ago for the earlier versions.

Amaryllis Unfurling

I photographed this white Amaryllis unfurling using dappled and diffused sunlight for illumination, and a black velvet cloth for the background.

Amaryllis Unfurling © Harold Davis

The image is comprised of three exposures, each using the Lensbaby 85mm f/1.6 and an extension tube, with my camera mounted on a tripod. I varied the aperture (and adjusted the shutter speed to compensate) to take advantage of the different effects this lens has depending upon how wide open or shut down it is. The exposure at f/1.6 yielded the bright sunlit areas on the upper right, the exposure at f/4 covers most of the mid-tones, and the exposure at f/16 sharpened the inner unfurling.

Also posted in Flowers, Photography

Grizzly Falls

Just off the road along the South Fork of the Kings River in Kings Canyon National Park, Grizzly Falls presented great contrasts of light and dark. I used a neutral density filter to make a long exposure (fifteen seconds) and to soften the flowing water. As I setup my camera and tripod, I glanced at the top of the falls. Someone, no doubt a good climber, had placed the Republic of California grizzly bear flag on a wood stick at the top of the falls, where it was fluttering in the breeze—and, as such, showed the only grizzly bear likely to be seen around Grizzly Falls, since the species is, of course, extinct in California.

Grizzly Falls © Harold Davis

Also posted in Landscape, Photography

Lonely Road

I had hoped to leave the haze and smoke of the Bay area behind, but coming across Yosemite and then down the eastern slope of the High Sierra we descended into a miasma. As the light and visibility faded, I stopped beside a lonely road to photograph the line of telephone poles fading into the scarcely visible mountains in the distance.

Lonely Road

Also posted in Landscape

Black Dahlia

Two Dahlias in black and white, photographed on the light box (above) and as an extreme macro (below).

Black Dahlia © Harold Davis

 

Dahlia Doodles © Harold Davis

Also posted in Flowers, Photography

Rose Rose in Rose and in Black and White

Patterns in these roses intrigued me, and I decide to photograph up close. My “Georgia O’Keeffe” red rose was something of a stylistic inspiration.

Rose Rose © Harold Davis

I started with a macro lens and an extension tube. This worked pretty well, but I soon decided I wanted a little more flexibility, of the sort you can can get with a focusing bellows. Who knew that my old Nikon PB-6 bellows on a rail still worked just fine? There’s nothing really changed about this photographic appliance with the advent of digital, and I have kept mine all these years.

White Rose with a Pink Blush © Harold Davis

I found the PB-6 bellows in a box named “Macro Things”—a surprisingly accurate categorization. After cleaning a little dust from the flanges, I attached  the bellows to a tripod, a macro lens to the front, and my D810 to the rear.

By the Light of the Rose © Harold Davis

This session with my roses was so much fun! I couldn’t resist converting some of the images to black and white!

Rose Rose in Black and White © Harold Davis

 

By the Light of the Rose in Black & White © Harold Davis

Which rose do you like best?

Also posted in Flowers, Photography

Bay Bridge

This is an iPhone photo from Treasure Island over the Bay Bridge towards San Francisco, taken during my recent (very much fun) San Francisco in Black & White extended field workshop!

Bay Bridge © Harold Davis

Also posted in iPhone, Photography, San Francisco Area

Perfect Dandelion

It’s great to be home again after my interesting photographic tour of Romania, with domestic quests on hand like finding the perfect dandelion core!

Nucleus 1 (on Black) © Harold Davis

Nucleus II (on White) © Harold Davis