Autumn Explorations in Black and White

Dill with dewdrops in morning sun.

Dill with dewdrops in morning sun.

Why photograph the most colorful season in black and white? To challenge what I see and what I think I know, to see the shapes and details and the compositions, leaving me with textures and patterns that are the foundations of my compositions. The colorful leaves and amber sun, all the comforting warm tones, change to values of gray in black and white, but the light…the light is still that distinctive angle, nearly horizontal sometimes, highlighting details you might not notice in any other season. And this was black and white film, because there is nothing like black and white film, with lenses and filters, not digital shots with effects, so it was even more challenging than the immediate reassurance of checking the little display on my digital camera.

Squashes making the most of the end of the season, corn tops with a tiny spiderweb, a last squash blossom like a star, more kale with dewdrops.

Squashes making the most of the end of the season, corn tops with a tiny spiderweb, a last squash blossom like a star, more kale with dewdrops.

I found a box of black and white photos that I knew had existed but had been separated from the rest. They are from 2004 to 2006, so not terribly vintage, but because black and white processing became more and more difficult during those years I had to wait to see my photos. I found local film developers who would still do a few rolls and took several at once, then tucked them all together in a box and in my studio. Over the course of those three years, just before I bought my DSLR but still had a halfway decent Olympus digital, I went out to the garden, to my neighborhood, and to the trails with a roll or two of black and white film in October or November.

Corn tops with a tiny spider web.

Corn tops with a tiny spider web.

Of course, there are cats on each roll too, and watching them enjoy their sunbaths works with color or without. Moses was always hard to resist on her bricks, and of course she works just fine in black and white. And I so enjoyed exploring Stanley at the end of his life when he was so much more relaxed. I think I’ll be featuring this theme over the next two weeks as well, and we’ll see Moses on her bricks and Stanley on the deck, Namir and Sophie in morning sunlight and watching me from the front door as the leaves fall and the sun changes from soft to stark as November comes near.

Dill, more dill, asparagus fern, more kale with dewdrops.

Dill, more dill, asparagus fern, more kale with dewdrops.

Above are all the flowers and vegetables, below the feline photos. To save time I scanned them in groups and left most of them that way, pulling a few favorites to feature; there were others on this roll too. I have so many photos I will never be able to do anything with most of them but share them now and then, but at least I can do that, and I hope you enjoy them.

Kale with dewdrops, a mountain of autumn joy sedum, feverfew reaching for the sun, sedum flowers.

Kale with dewdrops, a mountain of autumn joy sedum, feverfew reaching for the sun, sedum flowers.

Cleome in high contrast, a simple yellow marigold, dill with dewdrops very closeup, just a mass of shapes in the garden.

Cleome in high contrast, a simple yellow marigold, dill with dewdrops very closeup, just a mass of shapes in the garden.

Cleome in high contrast.

Cleome in high contrast.

Feline Photos

Moses enjoys her autumn nap on the bricks.

Moses enjoys her autumn nap on the bricks.

Moses on her bricks.

Moses on her bricks.

Stanley just can't stay awake on the deck.

Stanley just can’t stay awake on the deck.

Stanley on his rocker and on the deck.

Stanley on his rocker and on the deck.

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