Working the Photo Library

Post by blogger | August 19, 2009      

Been working on some retrospective photo projects. Digging through the archives. Once a week or so, I’ll post an image that’s a bit more “developed” than our usual blog currency. Today, a shot from up in the Sawatch Mountains of Colorado. I’ve always been a fan of black-and-white. Shot B&W a bunch for years. Love the way it gets past the somewhat arbitrary color pallet that color film or digital paint your photos with. Instead, just the raw power of light. Stripping away the fluff.

The challenge with B&W snow shots is to get snow that shows detail but isn’t too grey. Computer display adds challenge, as your brightness/contrast settings can make huge changes to how a photo looks. Anyway, here is an attempt.

Backcountry skiing photography
Ski tracks and snow near Independence Pass, Colorado, 2008. Please click image to enlarge.

This was shot with my Canon A720 point-and-shoot, in manual mode with a low ISO for that crisp look, and exposure control for shooting into the sun as well as working the lens settings so everything stayed in focus. A bit of processing in Photoshop, but really not much. Some of the snow might be a bit dark for my taste, but I’ve seen a few well known photogs that go for this look, so…


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16 Responses to “Working the Photo Library”

  1. Mark August 19th, 2009 11:01 am

    Very cool. In the same realm, David Roberts has written a biographical book on Bradford Washburn, one of the greatest mountain photographers.

  2. Lou August 19th, 2009 12:58 pm

    Louie and I have been studying the Roberts Denali book rather intently… what may come of that, who knows? :angel:

  3. Jason August 19th, 2009 1:30 pm

    Nice shot for sure! I love B&W. More contrast generally you know? Have you been into Keoki Flagg’s gallery in Olympic Valley? If not, drop in a check out the B&W of McConkey on McConkey’s (old Eagle’s Nest). AMAZING! 🙂

  4. Todd Goertzen August 19th, 2009 5:37 pm

    Hi Lou, a little off topic but regarding retrospection… I came accross Paul Horton’s summit register project for the Teton’s.
    It’s alot of fun to find past climbs and old friends if you want to kill a few hours sifting through these. I guess you don’t get to RETRO-spect until you have a few years under your belt… I guess there are a few bonuses other than senior discounts!!

  5. Lou August 19th, 2009 5:59 pm

    Right on Todd!

  6. JW August 20th, 2009 7:17 am

    Hi Lou, is your camera a water proof model, and if not, what precautions if any must be taken to protect a digital p&s from water and/or cold while bc skiing?

  7. Lou August 20th, 2009 7:48 am

    Hi JW,
    First, see

    That’s extreme, but the Canons we use are more forgiving as to moisture than one would assume. The only precaution I take is in spring/summer/fall I carry a plastic ziplock to store it in if I get caught in the mother of all rainstorms or wet snowstorms. But we have the advantage here in Colorado of a very dry humidity, so that helps. On the other hand, I’ve used these extensively in central Europe as well, in some pretty bad weather, and never had any problems. I carry the camera in an external pouch, so it doesn’t get any body moisture and stays at ambient temperature while in use. Different theories on that, but it works for me.

    See our Photography category.

  8. Matt Kinney August 20th, 2009 10:01 am

    I think digi works best for broad mountain landscapes. All my route book photo’s were done in BW versus conversion from color. This was inspired by Washburn who has 4 of his original photo’s in the Valdez Museum. Washburn actually opened his 1st photo shop on main street Valdez in the 30’s and took some pics locally including a photo of Old Valdez from a plane mounted with skiis that landed on the tidal mud flats. Washburn flew out of Valdez in the same plane with Bates on his epic ascent of Mt.uciana. Thanks for mentioning his new biography and hope to get it soon. I was lucky enough to have chatted with him a few times in regards to his life in Valdez.. There is a permanent display of his photo’s in wall size at the Kluane Visitor center in Haine Junction, Yukon. Amazing detail even at that scale.

    I use a Canon A7 and like lou, prefer an external case looped into my chest strap of my backpack(summer and winter) for quick and easy access. I use lithium batteries and never miss a shot no matter the temps.

  9. Lou August 20th, 2009 11:39 am

    Matt, indeed, I shot B&W on film for years, including a bunch of medium format stuff. Have thousands of negs we’re in the process of scanning the best of. I still love the B&W. Back in the film days when using color you were stuck with whatever pallet some chemical engineer came up with, at least nowadays you can adjust things on the computer, but even then the color can sometimes obscure the sprit of a photo. Then again, the color photos can be incredible as well. Main thing is that sometimes stripping out the color from the equation can yield good results and anyone should try it now that it’s so easy.

  10. dan August 21st, 2009 12:35 am

    i like the way the tracks cut softly and evenly through the hintingly hard and variable appearance of the snow

  11. Lou August 21st, 2009 6:35 am

    Thanks Dan!

  12. dongshow August 21st, 2009 3:40 pm

    anyone began playing around with the Canon OS CHDK?

    I’ve been having a great time with this all summer, makes my SX110 pretty fun.

  13. Wayne Nicholson August 22nd, 2009 7:33 am

    Really nice shot! Manages to recreate the beauty of the outdoors that only the adventurous know about in a picture!

  14. Lou August 22nd, 2009 8:43 am

    Dongshow, indeed, I’m always experimenting with those camera hacks, they’re fantastic!. Here is a post from some ago that covered it.

  15. Paul November 17th, 2009 4:38 pm

    Hey Lou –

    I’ve been following your blog for sometime and always love everything you bring to the table here on Wild Snow. Not sure if this is the best place for this comment/ question but I wanted to give it a try.

    We recently launched a blog for some of our efforts here including world cup ski racing and I just wondered how much of on the Word Press platform includes standard apps so to speak? The things you can just plug in on your own to increase the functionality? That, or did you have to enlist a serious developer to bring all the sweet features to the table? Just curious as we have been fumbling around with Blogger for some time and don’t even come close to where we want to be.

    Thanks and best of luck in AK. I’ll be sending you guys all my thoughts as you head out on your adventure!


  16. Lou November 17th, 2009 6:05 pm

    Paul, He he, a serious developer with the initials LD, with some outside help now and then. Most of what you see is indeed WordPress, with a customized template and a number of plugins, some of which are tweaked, some straight out of the box. And it’s always a work in progress, with some ragged edges if you dig a bit. Thanks for visiting, and best wishes with your project.

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