I cannot believe I have not published a post to my blog in so long. It is enough to slip one week without posting and then another week and then not writing becomes a norm rather than exception. Time to break out of that habit. Expect lots of image in rather random chronological order over the next couple months.
It is one of a rare hot summer weeks in Seattle. The temperature is constantly over 30 during day and nights are warm and humid. On the days like today I want to throw all food out of the fridge and close myself in it. It is a nice thought that I doubt I’ll ever make come true. I’m not that desperate. But that certainly makes a memory of the last winter refreshing. And that’s the memory I want to share with you today.
I love color to the point when I just photograph some color without even any subject. But sometimes the color is a distraction, a nuance that does not add anything or maybe even takes away something. In those case black-and-white image might still be more powerful. I find black-and-white especially working well in winter. One of the main reason is likely that there is not much color in winter in the pacific northwest mountains. The only color is the tone of the sun light breaking thru the clouds and that one is typically weird.
Like in this case the Sun broke thru the clouds just for a moment putting a spotlight on a bunch of trees in a valley. The color was strange but black-and-white tonality of the scene was beautiful.
Patience is a virtue for landscape photographer. Waiting for the right weather, for the right light takes indefinite amount of time.
In Olympics when it rains it pours. But it can stop as suddenly as it starts. This is my favorite time to photograph as I get great cloudy sky. All I need is a bit of patience.
On my second day of the last trip to Olympic Peninsula I woke up to a pouring rain. Well, what could I do about that? Nothing, really nothing. What I can do is to read a book or a magazine. And that’s what I did. I was sitting in a car in a pouring rain reading thru a recent issue of Lenswork. Once I was done with it I moved onto a photography book.
By the noon the rain stopped. I got out of the car put on my backpack and headed to Second Beach. I was rewarded with great skies. Just the kind I like.
I do like color. I have whole collection of photos with nothing but color in them. But there is still room for black and white photos in my heart. Sometimes black and white is what’s needed to bring out a drama in a photo. Photo like this one.
The first week of this September this year my family and friends went to Pacific Coast of Olympic Peninsula. We went to First Beach, Second Beach and Rialto Beach. We had a lot of fun. My son as always was heading numerous construction projects on the beaches or maintaining fire. And I as always used any time available to do some photography.
This time there were no breathtaking sunsets, no amazing colors but there were spectacular clouds, textures, reflections. Sounds like a good opportunity for black-and-white photography.
I’m mostly doing color photography nowadays but whenever I try converting some of my photos to black-and-white they still look great. Which leads me to thinking that color can add something to a photo but it cannot make a photo. The photo should be strong even without color. Color is just an icing on a cake.
Other times the color is weak, or unpleasant, or destructive. Like on this trip the color was boring, it was not adding anything to photographs. And sometimes it was unpleasant yellowish color on the clouds that I did not like. Thus I was completely focused on making black-and-white photography.
As I wrote a while back Photography Starts on a Plane. My photographic journey to Shelter Cove starts on an airplane too. This time our seats were over an airplane wing, which limited a view out of our cabin window to pretty much the wing only. That did not stop me from photographing. I just focused on lines and graphics of the airplane wing and specular lights created by the Sun.
Flying thru a cloud:
I love color photography. At the same time I have a great appreciation for good black and white photography. Once in a while I do black and white photos myself albeit not as often as color. To be more accurate I do monochromatic photos as I like to tone or colorize them.
And sometimes the nature presents a photo that is monochromatic even in color. Like this photo of fog over Port Angeles. This is an actual color photograph and as you can see it is almost monochromatic.
Fog over Port Angeles
The people who I’ve met in those small towns are down to earth Americans. Friendly, hardworking people. They invited me to their houses, welcoming me into their lives.
Maybe their country did not care about them much but they care about the country a lot. They proudly display their country flag everywhere. You can see it in old buildings, on the streets and next to each post office.
Just how deserted is Olde Town? Imagine you’re standing in the middle of the main road at noon, waiting for a car or human to pass by. At first you worry that you can be hit by some random car. Five minutes pass – no one. You’re surprised. Ten minutes pass – no one. You’re not worried about cars anymore. Half an hour pass and you’re wondering if this town is alive.
That is about how I felt standing in the middle of the main street of one of the towns in central Washington photographing. No car or person pass me by.
This project is very different from the kind of photography I do. It is not a landscape as most of my photographs. It is in black-and-white while most of my photography is color. It is not a single photographs as usual but rather a set of photographs which I’m trying to create an impression with. And lastly when I think about this project I want to share my thoughts and impressions of these town rather than talk about how I took specific photographs and why.
Is highway a good thing? Well, of cause – most of you probably say. They let you get from point A to point B by car faster than ever. They are like blood vessels, they help to move things faster. And I say – what about those that left away from them? What happens to those towns?
I’m sure that’s not the only reason but some of the abandonment that I’ve seen in those towns can be contributed to not being on important road anymore. Some time in the pass they were important nodes in network of local roads. Then a highway was built and from that moment on travelers would have to take a detour from a fast moving traffic of highway to visit those towns. And as someone who travels by car a lot I know that once you get in a fast pacing rhythm of highway it is hard to slow down take a side road.
Well, we could say at least those towns which happened to be on highway prosper. And that is not the case either as cars are passing by those towns in a blink of an eye. At most some would stop to refill their gas tanks and what happens over time is that there is not much of a town left besides a gas station.
An interesting thing I found in these towns – wall art on buildings. It is not graffiti like large scale letters. It is often fading away paintings on brick walls.
The paintings capture towns in their previous life – how they looked a century or more ago. Were the painters in nostalgic mood when painting them as I were when photographing them? Or did the paintings actually survive a century?