B & W Landscapes?

I was speaking to a photographer a while back, and I have forgotten who, but what he said has always resonated at the back of my mind- “I don’t get Black and White landscape photography”.

Maybe its because he sees the world in colour? I mentioned the greats such as Ansel Adams and Henri Cartier-Bresson. The argument followed that they only had B&W film at the time.

1.     Pig route

However on Googling the question Ansel Adams did shoot in colour. In fact over 3500 shots, but this represented a very small proportion of his work. He mainly used colour for his commercial work to bring in some income to support his family and his creativity.

However he found the colour medium frustrating as he had no control over the final print. It was definitely hit and miss those days. Even today if you get a digital print made the colours are never consistent if redone at a later date. Imagine what he could have done with a digital camera and photoshop at his disposal? And naturally he would have very exacting colour calibration tools as well!

B&W is the medium in which I started photography in the late 1960s. I had my uncles enlarger and printed in mums laundry with the windows blocked out with black plastic. I learnt to see the world in B&W. When I went to work in Hong Kong in the early 80s, only colour film was available. I had to learn to see the world in colour. To get control back in producing a print worthy of exhibition I taught myself colour printing . Those days it took over an hour and lots of test prints to produce one acceptable result!. B&W didn’t even feature much in my work apart from reproducing old work done in NZ. I was concentrating producing work without the usual colour imagery clich├ęs

Now when I do B&W it is after the fact rather than originally intentional. When the image has lots of contrast, emotion, texture, B&W can really emphasize the feeling the photographer wants to achieve.

Today, though, their is a pining for things retro.

Vinyl is back in truckloads. Film is back , why? That could be a topic for a blog another day. Over ear head phones are popular now as opposed to earbuds. Movie theatres are back, but alas no video stores. And of course B&W is back. One of my friends sent me some images taken with his Leica monochrome. Leica make a couple of cameras which only take pictures in B&W and normally retail north of $10,000 ! The blacks were gorgeous, and it had more shades of grey than the book – that made me blush ! Pentax have also brought out an SLR that only does B& W I was tempted for a few seconds….In home theatre the best projectors boast of the deepest blacks. Better whiskies have a black label. Black cars in movies have a sinister or aristocratic value. Black tie means formal and important. I love black jellybeans. Get the picture, Black is Back…….

Here are my interpretations of NZ landscapes in B&W taken on my South Island road trip 2022.


2.      Glenorchy
3.     Glenorchy


4.     Glenorchy
5.     Glenorchy
6.     Pig route
7.     Pig route
8.     Rangitata



Dart River Adventures

12 September 2023

In August 2022 , for my birthday treat, I took a Jet Boat ride with my good friend Ricky who was accompanying me doing landscape photography. This jet boat ride was not like the normal perception of what what the ride entails-Shotover River for example. This was not about zooming down rivers, getting close to canyon walls and 360 degree turns getting wet along the way- think river roller coaster. No, this is more about exploring parts of Mt Aspiring national park that most wheeled tourist don’t see. Looking back at my images gives me pleasurable memories of the rawness and beauty of the South Island. What about the jet boat ride you may ask? Fantastic, well worth the expense. I think winter will be a good time as there is plenty of snow around and this adds to the beauty.


1. 08.08.22    Panasonic G9   iso 200   8mm   f4.5   1/600sec   Leica DG 8-18 f2.8 -4.0

How not to do Landscape photography

When you do landscape photography, I recommend using a tripod, a full frame camera or larger (more dynamic range), take your time and enjoy the scenery. This is slow photography. Bracket your exposures, crop for different angles of view and try different compositions. That’s half the work done. Post processing manipulation will then help you to express your creativity to the fullest. Ideally a mounted print is considered the best output as opposed the an image on the computer screen as you see here. Unfortunately I don’t have enough wall space to exhibit all my work!.

The images before you is doing everything contrary to what I preach. No tripod as it is a bit hard to do on a moving jetboat. I used my 4/3rds small frame sensor camera (less dynamic range). But it had good on body image stabilisation. Having lens stabilisation would have helped as well but that particular lens didn’t have it on. I shot at wide aperture and a fast shutter speed. No time to compose or think. Just snatch and grab (like my travel photography style). I was surprised anything came out. My last effort many years ago was shooting from a moving train along the Otago rail trail. Everything was either blurry or very boring!



Gallery Visit

21 August 2023

On the 24th June, I had an assignment to photograph my wifes singing group at the Pataka gallery in Porirua. The group is called the Take Note singers.

At the same time there was an exhibition on new immigrants in the region. The exhibition was called ” Here and Beyond”.

It featured photographs from an Iranian photographer called EHSAN HAZAVEH . I was so impressed with the quality of the images and his ability to capture the natural emotions of his subjects. This is also something I try to capture with my travel photography. I checked out his website. I must say I have not been so excited about a NZ based photographer for a long time. Check it out.

Down the road at the Te Rauparaha arena they were having a New Immigrants day and that also means lots of interesting food. So Sally, I, and camera ventured down in search of filling our tummys.

We spotted this lovely family from Tigray Northern Ethiopia. After taking a couple of family photos I asked one of the ladies to pose for me.

This is her