Trixie and I went on a little hike this morning and, as per usual, I took my camera, this time giving myself a challenge: only shoot in black and white. That challenge probably had something to do with browsing some Ansel Adams photography yesterday.
We live in a color-filled world, and limiting oneself to seeing in black and white forces one to look at the world differently. Because black and white really isn’t black and white – It is dark and light. And that’s how one has to see, in darks and lights.
Composing a shot in color means paying attention to the color palette, paying attention to the color texture and mood of the background, how the sun distorts or realizes the color of the subject. Shooting in color means that the foreground and background actually have to “match” or complement one another, without splashes of distracting color forcing the eye away from the focal point. Shooting in black and white, however, is a whole different ballgame. Instead of composing colors, one has to compose lights and shadows and textures and contrasts. Highlights and lowlights, sunlight and shade.
The delicateness of the flower has to be conveyed not in the delicacy or whimsy of the color, but in the transparency of the petals, the shapes and contours and contrasts. Those things obviously are important in color photography, but they become the essence of black and white photography. The pale green of the sprig of leaves might catch your eye, but in black and white it is the stained-glass quality of the leaf with the sunlight behind it that defines that leaf, not the color. Just a different way of marveling at this wonderful world.
A sunny morning gave way to clouds in the afternoon, and by evening a gentle thunderstorm had rolled in. For a good hour and a half or two hours, we enjoyed a steady May rain, which in turn gave way to an awesome western sky, flaming with sunset. A rainbow glimmered in the eastern sky. What a testament to God’s wonder and power and might.
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
make melody to our God on the lyre!
8 He covers the heavens with clouds;
he prepares rain for the earth;
he makes grass grow on the hills.
9 He gives to the beasts their food,
and to the young ravens that cry.Job 5:8-11
8 “As for me, I would seek God,
and to God would I commit my cause,
9 who does great things and unsearchable,
marvelous things without number:
10 he gives rain on the earth
and sends waters on the fields;
11 he sets on high those who are lowly,
and those who mourn are lifted to safety.Romans 1:20
20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Those words, without excuse, should be haunting and convicting. Convicting, because how often do Believers see the works of God and dismiss them, either because we are used to them, or because there is a “scientific” explanation, or because we have hard hearts? Haunting, because many people on the earth today have no excuse for their unbelief, yet persist in unbelief. But God in His great love and mercy has given us a way to know, deep within our souls, of His existence, His power, His might, without ever needing to be told. Just look around. The Heavens declare.
Even a drive home after cleaning at church can dazzle and amaze. Here at home, there wasn’t even the slightest bit of frost. But in the higher elevations around Mount Rushmore and Harney Peak, the frost and snow suddenly began. I drove in sleety rain for a very little while, and Harney Peak was veiled in fog. On the way home, however, the clouds had rolled back, leaving the peak frosted white. Even under a cloudy sky, the whitened trees and rocks were dazzling white – How wonderful they would have been under a clear blue sky!If it hadn’t been for the rain and damp, today would have been a great day to climb to the top of Harney Peak!