photography from the ground up

Black and White (Sands)

White Sands is an incredibly beautiful place. I don’t go there as often as I should; it’s only about a four-hour drive from my door. Every time I do go, I wonder why it’s been so long since my last trip. Of course, for me the attraction is the photography.

The stark landscape provides the perfect ingredients for great black and white images.  Each of these photographs was made on the edge of light. The sun was low above the San Andres Mountains to the west.

Simplicity is the key; images that can be reduced to basic compositional elements are the ones that work best in monochrome. They can stand well on their own without the need for color. Don’t get me wrong I love making color photographs; I will continue to do so, but right now, I am re-discovering the power of the black and white image.

These three started as color versions because they were captured in RAW format. I followed my normal workflow, making global post processing adjustments in Adobe Lightroom and then moved them to Photoshop for the fine tweaks. The last step, the black and white conversions, were done in Silver Efex Pro.

I am pleased with the unexpected turn my photography has taken. As I mentioned in a previous post, I started out as a black and white photographer back in the day of chemicals, enlargers, and safelights. I feel like my work has come full circle.


12 responses

  1. wow! love those shots!


    March 23, 2012 at 8:12 am

  2. Great images!


    March 23, 2012 at 8:42 am

  3. smackedpentax

    these photos are stunning – I would be so proud if I took these…


    March 23, 2012 at 9:47 am

  4. Stunning and beautiful.

    We have some dunes about 4 hours from where we are as well. There is a lot of off-roading that occurs on them though, I would have to get lost to find untouched wilderness.

    Next time I am in New Mexico, I will have to visit White Sands.


    March 23, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    • Thanks Kelly. The nice thing about White Sands is it’s a National Monument, so motorized activities are pretty tightly controlled.


      March 23, 2012 at 4:09 pm

  5. dinasdesktopdesign

    Reblogged this on dinasdesktopdesign and commented:


    March 24, 2012 at 6:12 pm

  6. Wow. Truly wonderful.


    April 2, 2012 at 8:30 am

  7. I have been to White Sands twice, I think. After seeing your photographs, I’m wanting to make the trip again. As I recall, the sand is gypsum from dried lake beds, and the crystals are rather flat and very white. Their lightness makes them very beautiful, and I can remember how differently it felt to walk on them compared to quartz sand. Just marvelous!


    April 8, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    • Thank you.The sand is very fine and the wind makes these great ripples. If you go I wouldn’t recommend the summer. Any other time is fine, summer temps can reach 110 and above.


      April 9, 2012 at 6:56 am

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