Canyon Splendor

For some unknown reason I have really had a thing for black and white lately.  Maybe it is the bold contrasts that come from those stormy winter skies; maybe I’m just regressing to my photographic roots.  I studied a lot of Ansel Adams and Edward Weston early in my photographic education, and of course back in the day I shot a lot of black and white film as it was so much easier to process in a home lab, which I had.  I used to shoot a lot of Kodak Plus X and for finer grain, Panatomic X.  Now you know how long I have been a photography buff.

Anyway, I got to thinking about what one of my very favorite photos might look like in monochrome.  So, I started messing around in Photoshop Elements.  (My software; I know it’s kind of basic, but it’s also not overly expensive.)

Here is my original color shot.  For those who have followed me for awhile, you have seen this before.

Colorado River at US 89A wp
This is my original shot taken in February 2008 on the way back from Scottsdale, Arizona.  This is the Colorado River looking westward just before it becomes the Grand Canyon as seen from US 89A.

I love this photo — the soft blue winter sky, the vivid afternoon warm tones from the rocks and mountains and how the river just leads you right into the scene.  And then the cool blue water is such a contrast to those orange, red and purple tones.

So, I used the black and white converter, and set it to “Vivid Landscape”.  The conversion tool uses different color saturation settings for red, blue and green as well as contrast to convert a color shot to monochrome.  I made some fine adjustments to the color settings, keeping the reds just a little more saturated and bumping up the contrast just a little more.  I pushed the blue down to a tad bit darker setting.  Next, I put more saturation into the mid tones and bumped the contrast just a touch more.  And then I added an 85 warming filter with about a 35% saturation.  This is the result.

Colorado River at US 89A BW2 wp

Also, I cropped the shot into a 6 x 9 format, rather than the original camera format.

This one is pretty cool, if I say so myself.  It has a different feel than its color sibling, but I think the monochrome does bring out more of that winter sky contrast and really helps the textures pop.  I won’t say it’s better than the original, just different with very different character.

So, what do you all think?  I would love some feedback here, so please drop me a note.

Well, thank you so much for taking the time to check out my blog.

Best wishes to you all,

12 thoughts on “Canyon Splendor

    1. Oh thank you so much! I am so glad you enjoyed the photos, and that you share my enthusiasm for the monochrome. In truth, I can’t decide which version I like better because they are so different.

      But I must say that I have the color version as one of my desktop backgrounds on my main work computer, and I get a happy feeling everytime I see that image.

      Thanks again, and I really appreciate you taking time to comment and visit my blog.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Wonderful pictures. I would agree with you that the sky is more striking in black and white, but I like the river in color because it shows up better. Either way they are both very nice photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Geri. I am so glad that you liked the photos. You know this is a tough one. I totally agree with you on the river. And I always get a smile when I look at that photo in color, as that cool blue winter sky just contrasts so well with those reddish orange canyon walls and mountains.

      But then the whole thing looks so visually spectacular in black and white. I have both versions as part of my desktop slide-show, and I like them both, but for very different reasons.

      Liked by 1 person

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