I’ve disappeared from blogging for a while. As I understand it, I have just gotten over the worst sinus infection that any human being has ever survived. At least that’s what I think I heard from the PA who looked at my ears, nose and throat and started laughing. Or maybe it was from me.

I decided to share a couple black-and-white images that I just printed and, of course, this title, a line from the old Simon and Garfunkel hit, “Kodachrome” came to me. Actually, they used the line in the Central Park concert, not the original recording, but who’s counting? As I typed the title, I thought I was experiencing a little deja vu, so checked back on old posts and found that I had, indeed, used the title before. And, interestingly enough (to me, anyway), just after I had gotten over the worst case of flu any human ever had and survived.

At any rate, here are the photos:

Fallen Roof Ruin

Fallen Roof Ruin

Fallen Roof Ruin is something of a cliché photo. It’s a beautiful place with interesting geology around it, so it gets a lot of photographer traffic. Most of the images I’ve seen, however, are in color. Well, why not? The redrock country is beautiful in color and when the sun is at the right angle, the rock simply glows. But there’s something about black-and-white.

 

Here’s another:

Cold Spring Ruin

Cold Spring Ruin

I’m not sure how this one will come across, but you will probably have to look at the full size image to get the detail that’s in there. Just click on the image and you’ll see the full size version of each.

My thinking here was to make the ruin look as mystical and mysterious as I usually feel the ruins are, so going with a low-key exposure was by design, not by accident. This is the Cold Spring Ruin, I think. I thought for a long time that this was the Monarch Cave Ruin, but then stumbled on the real Monarch ruin, so I’m kind of making an educated guess here.

Why black-and-white? Good question. When I started photography a millennium or so ago, I started with color slides and printed them on an especially attractive paper, which made the images seem to glow. Nothing wrong with that, of course, my images were well-accepted and I had a pretty good eye for color.

But I could never get a decent black-and-white image. I studied with the best: Chris Rainier, Cole Weston, my old friends Rodger Newbold and Mike Adams come to mind as mentors. With talent like that in teaching roles, I should have figured it out. And, I did finally start making some progress. I remember one monochrome print in particular that I was finally happy with. It was in the enlarger nearly 20 minutes, what with all the dodging, burning, exposure gimmicks and all, but it made a fine print that I was happy to show.

Well, I still love black-and-white photos, and I think these subjects are particularly good for that presentation. The Fallen Roof Ruin looks interesting in monochrome because that presentation seems to fit in with the antiquity of the ruin. Additionally, it’s possible to ‘pop’ the contrast a little and accent the white alkali that has leached into the top of the alcove. I think the Cold Spring ruin image cried for a monochrome treatment, too. The rich blacks add to the mystery of what’s inside a ruin and why they are ruins, while the light areas give a sense of the outside world. I’m hoping that your monitor will show that there is some detail in the dark areas that shows the texture and construction of the ruin, but at least there’s no color to get in the way. You’ll have to add that on your own.

More to follow.

Bob