Driving Through the Rocky Mountains by Todd Henson

A view from the road while driving through Rocky Mountain National Park

A number of years ago I had the opportunity to spend a day in Rocky Mountain National Park.This particular photograph was created from one of the many scenic pull offs on the road that weaves its way through the park.

The sky was full of clouds and the light was always changing. At times you could see a storm in the distance dropping rain or snow. The view isn’t one of the iconic views from the area, but I still like it. It’s a very beautiful location.

These scenes seem to work well in black in white, so that’s how I chose to process this image. The photo then becomes about tones, textures, and patterns. It simplifies the image. I most often shoot for color, but lately I’ve been exploring black and white.

Give it a try with your own photographs. First try picking photos from your back catalogue that might work as black and white and experiment with different conversions. Then start looking for scenes that might look great in black and white and create images in camera with the specific purpose of later converting them.

If you shoot in RAW (which I recommend) it might be helpful initially to set your camera to its black and white or monochrome setting. This should only affect the JPEG that gets embedded in the RAW file. Your camera will still capture and store all the color information. Doing this will let you view the photo in black and white on the back of the camera and help you see how the scene might look in black and white. Later, when you import the photo into your computer you can work on it in black and white, or process it in full color. That’s one benefit of RAW: it records all the information. It’s up to you how you choose to process it.

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Evening in the Blue Ridge by Todd Henson

Evening in the Blue Ridge

You just never know what a scene will look like when you travel any distance from your home. Sometimes it’s less than you might have hoped for. Other times it far exceeds your expectations. But it’s always worth bringing along a camera, just in case.

Today’s image (click on it for a larger view) was created in March of 2015 just after 6 in the evening. We had spent the day elsewhere but decided to head home by way of Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. This road weaves over the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the park, offering many scenic pull offs. There are also many miles of trails if you have enough time to hike or camp.

This particular evening had a nice mix of clouds in the sky and a few lower lying clouds hovering in the valleys. The sun was low and the light was shaped by and sometimes blocked by the various clouds.

I had originally bracketed the shot so I could process it as a high dynamic range photograph to capture as much tonal range in the shadows and highlights. Then I converted it to black and white and performed some dodging and burning to lighten and darken different areas of the image, bringing out the textures of the mountain slopes and the clouds.

I think it worked reasonably well. Let me know what you think. Maybe you would have processed it a bit differently?

The resources below contain affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. This is at no extra cost to you.