Landscape and Nature Caught on Black and White Film

By | 1:41 PM

Photograph of a stormy sky, taken in black and white. Hawaiian weather provided the great contrast for this photo.
So many times we are struck by the beauty of monochrome landscape, it is hard to believe that the powerful beauty of nature can be translated and recorded on black and white paper making a bigger impact then color images. Today's photography is full of nice colorful pictures, brightly expressing great weather, warm sunset colors, green mountains, clear lakes, blue oceans and skies. The secret of black and white photography lies in great composition, texture, shapes, forms and contrast of the image. It is important to combine all those elements, organize all objects and shapes so everything looks united. There are usually couple of elements that are the main subject of the landscape and this is usually the focus point of the entire image. Master photographers can easily find that point and place it in the frame of the image in such a way that viewer will feel the energy of the place.

The early pioneers of photography had no choice but monochrome film, many have became masters and are admired till today, many have set standards for all kinds of photography that include, color, digital and analog. Landscape photography has evolved tremendously over the years, offering a lot of options but black & white did not die and never will. A lot of people use digital mediums to produce their work but convert it to monochrome; today it is a matter of preference.

Nature is offering great potential, weather can change the same place into hundreds different landscapes, the natural light is the essential part of the composition. Light is giving the entire image contrast, by which we can distinguish the shapes and forms and this is the whole magic.

black and white landscape taken by night in Lanikai, Oahu, Hawaii. Full moon night and reflection in the water.

On this image stormy weather, rainy sky is the focus point, this is hard to record such a big range of contrast, photographer has to use different techniques to keep the image bright and not loose any detail, cameras tend to overexpose the light areas and underexpose the dark areas, that results in either grey photo or photo without detail. This sky is definitely not an everyday occurrence; it takes a lot of evenings and traveling you get lucky to be in the right place when this happens. The right equipment is critical as well, lens, camera, tripod, filters has to be ready for this unique show.

In here we have an example of night landscape captured in monochrome. This is extremely hard to do, light is limited and the intensity of the moon light and the rest of the elements is so extreme that taking one image will not produce the right effect. There has to be two images taken at different settings and then connected, overlaid so we can see all the details.  

Nature really is a wonderful subject; here the field of sunflowers provided the great topic for a great image. The shapes of the flowers and color intensity were essential, notice how the sky and diverse mountain shape with dark trees are creating gorgeous photograph. Dark trees are adding balance to the background of this piece, light symmetrical flowers calming the image down, everything seems organize on the bottom of the frame until we move to the top where the sky is the complete opposite.

Sunflower's landscape with white flowers and black sky.

Author: Rafal Maleszyk Fine Art Photos
Rafal Maleszyk is a fine art photographer taking photos in Hawaii, using the digital camera Haselblad and producing black and white pictures. His work has been published in numerous magazines as well as exhibited.
Black and White Landscape Photography
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