Heaven and Earth – black and white photography

Sound like a big subject, but it is not.  I am just pleased with what I captured. It was on a Valentine’s Day and my husband secretly arranged an overnight stay at Mount Hood Lodge. I have looked at this gorgeous mountain (the highest in Oregon) very many times and from different angles.  Its perfect peak looks prominent, sacred and peaceful.
That was the first time when I was actually right on the foothill of Mount Hood to pay it my respect.
This picture was taken early in the morning with thick cloud dwelling outside the lodge. I was first drawn by the steaming cloud. When I walked down to the edge of the road, I was completely stunned by the scene.  Honestly, at that moment, I had wondered where I was.  I was above the cloud feeling that I was floating in the air.  And yet, I know I was absolutely standing on a solid ground with grass, on the earth.
Heaven and Earth

Still early in the year, snow-covered mountain and cloud are white. Grassy ground is in the shade, so the ground looks dark and grass almost looks black. I named this picture Heaven and Earth because of its contrast in colors and also because it prompted that thought into my mind.

Strolling around the foothill area, our feet were buried deep wherever we went. The sun was shining, bright. The snow was taking over the ground, deep and white. There were still spots of small creek waters running here and there with icicles hanging down.  People were walking on snow, black footprints on white snow.
Nature presents its natural colors. When we observe the details only through black and white two colors, we actually perceive more truth and details. Monotone looks compelling when the subject is simple and the background is not too complicated. I was kneeling down the ground to peek the snow pack from the side. It looked like ocean waves and also reminded me of Chinese brush painting strokes for some reason. In fact, I think I know why, I miss my deceased Dad too much. He wrote beautiful and powerful Chinese brush stroke calligraphy 毛筆字.

I have not done much black and white photography, but I happened to take these pictures, naturally, black and white and I love them.  I am not a professional photographer and not looking into photo quality perfection at this point.  It is more about the content of what I captured and the emotion that I was engaged during the process.

Every once a while, I found some color images that I think better in black and white format.  When a picture is colored, our attention is on colors. I am a female and colors mean everything. But I discovered that black and white images tend to show more details and we pay closer attention to the visual content while not distracted by colors. 

I took above picture when I visited Spanish Royal Palace in Madrid, Spain. I’d toured inside the palace provided by palace administration and seen all the glamorous  chandeliers, famous paintings, intricate tapestries and fancy furniture.  But among everything I’d seen, my eyes were set on this guy who played accordion to entertain the visitors outside the palace. 

He played jazz music and with an easy smile on his face.  Not being disturbed by the crowd and obviously not in for the pennies, he was just here enjoying himself and to help others enjoy themselves. I found him my most attractive subject for the day. Just for you to compare it with original color image. Accordion is classic. Black and white colors seem to portrait that nostalgia flare more.

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