(mostly) daily photoblog

Posts tagged “black and white

Hey! Remember when it was almost Spring?

I remember a March or two wherein the sun shone and the clouds parted.  Today?  Today it dumped snow.

I don’t know about you, but my feeling is that photos like these should not be possible in March.  Sure, in Saskatchewan or Minnesota, but in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia?  Actually, I think it was warmer in Saskatoon today than it was here in Chilliwack.

Stupid global warming.

Nice photography weather, though.

Sumas Mountain (again)

It dumped snow over the last couple of days, as though Winter is screaming out to make sure we don’t forget about it as Spring approaches.  Thankfully, it’s been mostly on the surrounding mountains.  Here’s some fresh snow on Sumas Mountain.

Sumas Mountain…in black and white

Sadly, I think most people who drive by this mountain on a daily basis miss the beauty that is right in front of them.  It’s always easy to miss that at which we don’t truly look.

Kind of obsessed…

…with black and white right now.

Maybe I’m wishing that the world would present more obvious choices – seeing the world in black and white, as it were.

Ansel Adams is one of my heroes

There’s a story I read, once, that Ansel Adams told about his “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico” photo.  It is one of the most evocative photos, with the moonlight reflecting off of gravestones and crosses in a cemetery in New Mexico.  As he tells it, he was driving away from another photo shoot.  He saw the moonlight reflecting off the cemetery as he was driving, so he pulled over to the side of the road, took out his camera and climbed up on his car, set up his tripod, managed a shot and…then the moon moved on.  A minute later and he would never have taken this photo.

It’s a cool story because of the timing.  Much of what makes a good photo is timing.

Above is my photo taken along the Sumas River.  It’s as much of an Adams photo as I’ve taken so far.  He will continue to inspire me and I will continue to photograph.

Looks run down (ooh…down again)

You knew it was going to happen.  At some point I had to get to something run down.  But, sometimes things get really wonderful when they get run down.  Think about it.

Favorite pair of jeans?  They’re run down, right?

Most comfortable pair of shoes?  Run down.

Favorite food joint that only you know about?  Run down.

Your spot on the couch, with your butt groove already nicely worked in?  Run down.

What’s your favorite run down thing?

Photo Friday: Eat

Nothing says, “Eat!” like a neon restaurant sign.

Happy Friday!

How do you like your greys?

The architecture at SFU is evocative.  It inspires double-takes and depression.  Yeah, you heard me.  Depression.  It’s probably because it’s mostly concrete, which is grey, and at the top of a mountain, so it’s often covered in clouds that only exacerbate the grey-ness.

But it also inspires those double-takes.  The “tunnel” above is a walkway leading from the Academic Quadrangle, featured in a photo two days ago, to the W.A.C. Bennett Library, featured in yesterday’s photo.  During a sunny day, it is lit in all kids of angled lines and the light keeps shifting as the sun moves through the day.  The entire Convocation Mall, the area you can see ahead through the tunnel, is lit in strange angles.  At the right time of day, the shadows and light look like they were designed by M.C. Escher.  Awe-inspiring.


Are you a bibliophile?

I am a bibliophile.

I like books.  No.  I love books.  I have books in my collection that I’ve not read yet.  There are a few books that I’m really proud of owning:  Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, a copy from the first printing with dust jacket; the Philip Pullman trilogy, much to the chagrin of some of my friends at church; the entire Bone collection; a former estate collection (donated to the MCC) of hardcover Harvard Classics that include Don Quixote and Crime and Punishment.

I love the smell of old books.  I love the smell of libraries.  I love sitting in the stacks and perusing, not glancing, through books to see if I’m interested.  I could lose hours in bookstores and libraries.

I am a bibliophile.

I love the “vanishing point”.

It’s amazing how perspective turns two parallel lines into converging lines.


Who’s the fairest of them all?

Snow White, of course.

It’s been snowing here all day and I love how white everything is.  It certainly appeals to the high-contrast aesthetic I so enjoy. As someone who has some red-green color deficiencies (not color blind, but seriously deficient), the snow turns the world into a black and white and grey paradise.  I love how, as I look out my living room window right now, I see children in the distance sledding on the park hill and the entire scene is devoid of color.  Just dark figures moving on white background.

So, hooray for black and white!  Hooray for snow days!  Hooray for contrast!  (alright, the last one was a bit lame)

The reflection is black and white

I picked out a photo that I shot a while ago, but, given the black and white treatment, it takes on a timeless quality.

Well, that’s what I think.  What do you think?


I’m not sure how I missed this photo, but back in October I had the privilege of taking forty students to Vancouver to the Writer’s Festival.  While there, I witnessed an amazing poet:  Zaccheus Jackson.  He was born an addict, a product of Canada’s foster child program, a former addict and convict and now a voice for taking life for what it is:  amazing.  Not beautiful all the time.  Not painless.

His poems were brilliant if not manic and restless.  There was a graceful, elegant quality to his words, even as he spits them out, rapid-fire.  He spoke truths of a life that none of my students had witnessed before.  One of his poems pointed to the grace of an eagle, only to be surprised by the graceful eagle’s mistake of trying to take on more than it should have.  The poem is here, but a short word of warning:  it has some inappropriate language.

What he speaks of is wings.  What he lives is a life that has been offered grace, for which he is grateful.

Street shot: The Orpheum and The Vogue theaters.

This is a shot of Granville Street in Vancouver, BC, Canada.  It is one of my favorite streets in any city I’ve been in.  Besides the comic stores and record stores, it also has two of the most amazing theaters: the Vogue and the Orpheum.  Both beautiful and classic.

Too late. Can’t think. Must post.

I promise there’ll be something well thought out and nicely composed tomorrow.  For tonight, another treatment of the “drive home” photos.  Sorry.  G’night.

The family that flocks together

The WordPress Photo Challenge for this Friday is “Family“.  Honestly, I haven’t got a clue if geese hang out in families or if it’s more of a “birds of a feather…” kind of thing.

Either way, my drive home today was quite nice.  I took the side roads and managed to get some shots of Mt. Baker and the big, puddly remains of two days of heavy rain.  I love reflections and the geese didn’t want to move so…here’s your photo for the day.

One: Photo Friday Challenge

Why is it that a photograph of one person immediately draws to mind the song “One is a lonely number”?  I only ask because my first inclination with this photo was to give it that title.  My wife, son and I went for a walk a couple of days ago and Ben decided that he’d had enough walking so he sat down on this dock.  Despite knowing that there were three of us on this walk, and that this is not a photo of some lost boy on a dock, my feeling was one of loneliness.

Maybe it’s his posture.  Maybe it’s the coolness of black and white.  Maybe it’s a psychological projection on my part to believe that when one is alone, one must be lonely.  But there doesn’t have to exist that connotation, does there?  Alone, oneness, does not have to be lonely.

WordPress Photo Challenge: Windows

WordPress’ photo challenge this week is “Windows“.  I went hunting through old photos for windows and found all kinds of photos, but nothing really stood out until I found this one of the Academic Quadrangle at Simon Fraser University.  I think this pretty much meets the challenge.

I included a few of my favorite quotations about windows.  I hope you like it.


“A house without books is like a room without windows. No man has a right to bring up his children without surrounding them with books, if he has the means to buy them.”

“Never have more children than you have car windows.”

“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.”

Always inspiring

No matter how many times I’ve been to Cultus Lake, I’ve always been inspired to take more photos.  There’s always a new angle, or the clouds are set differently, or the lake is calm or choppy.

There’s always something interesting to see.


Black and White Flowers. Hmm…

I’m torn.  Flowers are great because of three things:  beauty, smell and color.  If I take a photograph of flowers the viewer loses all sense of how they smell.  If I process it black and white, I remove the color and now you, the viewer, are left with contrast and detail, but it’s missing two of the things that draw people to flowers in real life.  Hmm…

So, I have to ask you, dear reader of this blog, is it worth it?  Does their beauty, without color and smell, still captivate?


Reflections. In black and white.

The thing about reflection is that it’s become a very loaded word.  I love reflections because they show more than the subject itself – in this case, you get to see the trees reflected back in the water of the Sumas River.  Two sets of trees, with the reflections serving as a surreal mirror of our world.  But reflections never tell the whole story.  One never gets to see everything in reflection.

If you stare into a mirror, you only see part of yourself, and it’s an opposite image.  It’s not even what the world sees.  Every reflection is, in a sense, a false image.  Yet, we’re all a little obsessed with our own reflection – we pause to glance at ourselves when we pass mirrors, windows and water to see what we look like without being conscious of the fact that what we see is not real.


Hannah’s birthday was on Saturday, and she chose to go, for lunch, to TracyCakes, this little wonderful cupcake place in Abbotsford.  I know it looks like she’s thinking this, but TracyCakes has this beautiful sign, along with many others, on the wall behind the chair in which Hannah was sitting.  I merely took the photo.

Happy 9th, Hannah.

Pentax K20D; Pentax DA 18-55mm AL II; f5.6; ISO 800; 1/20 sec.; B&W in PS, CS4

People…oh, so many people

What impressed me most in Vancouver on Sunday was the number of people.  I visited Barcelona last spring and thought that I would never again see as many people on one street as I did on “La Rambla”.  Vancouver, Sunday, rivaled my memory of La Rambla.

btw, I wish I could say I spent some time setting up this shot, and worrying about composition, but I really just lifted the camera over my head and pulled the trigger.

Pentax K20D; Pentax DA 18-55mm AL II; f7.1; ISO 100; 1/200 sec.