When I first began studying photography, I learned to shoot in black and white. We used black and white film, processed it ourselves, and made black and white prints in a darkroom under a safelight, bathing each print in photographic chemicals.
Though I eventually moved on from black and white to color negatives, color slide film and then, as most all of us have, to digital, I remain inspired by black and white photography, especially by Ansel Adams’ masterful landscapes.
Ansel Adams chose the breathtaking Yosemite National Park as the location for some of his most famous pictures. I recently explored Utah’s Fishlake National Forest and couldn’t help but draw comparisons to its awe-inspiring landscapes, naturally conducive to stark black and white photography.
This gallery shows images primarily photographed during time spent riding the Paiute ATV trails, as well as other trails in and around Fishlake. I hope you enjoy and draw a little inspiration, too.
Photographed at Upper Box Creek Reservoir, not too far from the town of Koosharem, Utah, this a great spot for trout fishing and camping at an elevation of about 9,000 feet. The reservoir is only reached using one of the ATV routes in Fishlake National Forest.
Photographed at Manning Meadows Reservoir near Marysvale, Utah, on what began as a relatively sunny day but got progressively cloudy as my trail adventure went on. By the end, the scenery looked downright angry against the darkening sky.
Aspens -- I ran across this dense stand of aspens off one of the Paiute ATV trails in Fishlake National Forest and was captivated by the repeating patterns of the trees and their white bark.
As I was heading up to Monroe Peak, the highest peak in this area of Fishlake National Forest, a tree line stood out on a ridge against the gathering clouds. This was taken at about 10,000 feet.
Taken along the Paiute ATV trail, I loved the juxtaposition and somewhat symmetrical balance of the skies and clouds at the top half of the image and the hills, mountains and trails at the bottom half.
This towering cliff made me think of Half Dome at Yosemite National Park, a spot often photographed by Ansel Adams and the scene of one his most well-known and loved prints, “Clearing Winter Storm.” I couldn’t help but wonder if anyone had made an attempt to climb this cliff.
For about four years, I lived in the Eugene, Oregon, area -- one of the most beautiful places I’ve lived -- and was always on the hunt for interesting images. One morning I got up early because fog had been predicted (I’m a sucker for fog and silhouette photos) and was greeted with a dawn that had both frost and fog. So out I went, determined to beat the sunlight. I happened upon this grove of trees in a field, just as the sunlight was on the verge of breaking through the dissipating fog.
While on the same “frost and fog” shoot, I encountered this scene at a pond next to lumber mill that’s now closed. While the mill was open, this pond had been a holding area for logs waiting to be cut down to useable lumber at the mill.
I’m not sure what this horse was more curious about: the frost and the fog or me. This is my favorite photo from my “frost and fog” series and one of my all-time favorite images that I had the fortune to photograph.
The perfect symmetry of this stand of trees in Veneta, Oregon, captured my attention. This was one of those images that looked just fine in color, but really popped when transformed to black and white.