Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fall Colors in Black and White–Golf Landscape Photography

Blue 1-1

Last week I spent a couple mornings shooting the golf course at Army Navy Country Club in Arlington Virginia and posted a few photographs to the blog (Golf Landscape Photography at Army Navy Country Club).  As the regulars to the blog know well, I am biased toward black and white photography but the striking fall colors were quite compelling and led me to process (most of) the shots in color.

Blue 4-3

Even though I relented to the color, I could not completely give in.  The photographs in this post are a few that I decided to process in black and white.  For the most part, these shots were either similar to other photographs I had processed in color, or the color was not sufficiently dramatic to convince me that retaining the color information was the best choice.

Blue 4-5

One of the difficult aspects of shooting a golf course in black and white is providing context and scale.  Our mental image of a golf course includes lots of green (fairways, greens, rough, and trees) with a smattering of white bunkers.  When processing in black and white, the color context of a golf course disappears and challenges our mental image.  In other words, the greens, fairways and rough loose some of their definition and the result is something that looks much less like a golf course.

Bridge at Red 6

In order to make these black and white photographs “work” I selected compositions with strong foreground elements, texture and strong lighting to provide a sense of scale and context.  Without these components, I feel the “golf course” is lost.

Red 3-6

As an example, look at the next photograph.  While having the bunker as a foreground element, and the cart path leading the eye through the composition, this shot (in my opinion) is much weaker than the previous photographs which have stronger foreground elements, texture and light enhancing scale and context.

Red 4-3

Even though the fall colors were clearly the star element of this project, my bias for black and white photography leaves me satisfied with the B/W results as well.  As we transition from fall to winter, I am excited to extend this project to the more austere views brought on by the skeletons of barren trees.  And although I would prefer to golf, some photographs with snow will make for some interesting and challenging black and white shots.

To see the whole shoot, visit my ANCC Set on Flickr.

Have fun, and go make some great photography.


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