The Portland grey has come home to roost and the temperatures are flapping around cold enough to wish for snow to lighten up the freezing December drizzle. I was happy to discover that both my camera, and my favorite 35mm lens are weather-sealed so they can take a little wet without resorting to protective plastic wrap. On these cold slatish days, the shape-shifting on Alberta Street is so novel that I’m not noticing my cold nose and finger tips until I stomp back inside after a photo-walk.

During this seasonally high-contrast time, my instinct is to start playing with black and white processing, but then I see small vibrant color blasts against the grey and I think maybe not. I also don’t really have a good handle on what makes a black and white photo beautiful. I’ve been snapping photos since I was eight or so with various film and then digital cameras, I never learned how to develop film in a darkroom and I feel a tiny bit less-serious because I’ve never turned film into prints with chemicals in the dark. I’m working on abandoning my need to do everything “right” with regards to my photographic habit, because it’s daunting to think that I need to learn everything that every working fine art photographer learned in art school and 20 years of street photography experience to make beautiful images.

I started to love color when I left Michigan. Or rather, I started to notice eco-color once I was out of my home-environment. School in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and time spent in New Orleans introduced me to an entirely different eco-color palette – coppery-orange, reds and fiery pinks in the South West, and the cobalt, corals, and lime-greens of the Deep South. When you start really traveling you realize the world is filled with colors in combinations you’ve never seen before shimmering in impossible ways.

This photo was first processed in black and white.

Twigs and Spikes B&W

The spikes, spirals and lines are so different than the summer time wisteria that is supported by those twigs, that it seemed like black and white was a perfect option. Then I took a look at the color version, and the deep royal hues seeping through those spikes, spirals and lines, and loved that version more.

Twigs and Spikes