A Stark Contrast

A wonderful way to photograph the desert before the wildflowers bloom, is to edit your photographs in black and white. The stark contrast between cactus quills and branches that have long lost their moisture, juxtaposed with billowy clouds and deep shadows on the mountains in the background, make for dramatic lighting. The harshness of the environment is exaggerated when color is no longer in competition with the landscape. Textures become dominant and you can almost feel the sharpness of the spines and the brittleness of the bare branches of sage and ocotillo. It will be another couple weeks before the flowers become the focal point of the composition, so I thought I would share a few photographs taken before and later on, I will post the same photographs with wildflowers.

It was a blustery day in the desert but the storm did not produce moisture, just wonderful clouds and a small rainbow off in the distance. The temperature was mild and it was a lovely afternoon to go for a stroll with the intent to take photographs.  I actually took a walk right behind the house and will attempt to replicate the walk when the flowers start to bloom. When there is a storm inland, the clouds struggle to cross over the barricade of mountains in the distance, and the battle that ensues is wonderful to photograph. It takes powerful winds and clouds heavily laden with moisture to succeed in bringing rain to the arid desert. When taking a photograph that you want to show off in black and white, try to capture the contrast of light, shadow and texture. Cholla cactus are a perfect subject matter to photograph in black and white. The sharpness of the quills make for a dramatic overall scene. Today did not disappoint me…

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