First of all, I am honored for my previous post “A Black and White World” to have been selected for Freshly Pressed on November 21, 2011. I especially want to thank all of the readers for their kind words and encouragement — it is a wonderful feeling.

I never set out to be “Freshly Pressed” and sadly, I didn’t even know I had been selected. I have been so busy with my day job that I have been neglecting this blog. When I logged in, I was shocked by the number of views and pending comments!

A couple of comments really got me thinking about this passion of mine. Many people noticed that I  identify with patterns and symmetry. That’s probably the engineer in me seeking some comfort in a chaotic world. I was pleased that people could identify with my ideas of tone and contrast.

I prefer low key black and white photography — there is something mysterious about it. A couple of readers mentioned Film Noir. This genre is quite intriguing and “…emphasize[s] cynical attitudes and sexual motivations.”

Before I “show-off” some of my low key black and white creations, I think it is important to distinguish between high key and low key black and white. Here is an example of a high key black and white photograph:

Canon Rebel T1i, 50mm, ISO 100, f/7.1 at 1/400 second. (November 2010)

Here is an example of low key black and white:

Sunrise in Adak Alaska

Sunrise in Adak Alaska (1990) - Canon EOS 650 on Fuji 400 35mm, digitally scanned negative and blue toner "applied" with Silver Efex Pro.

I have been (slowly) digitizing my creations from the early days. I realized that my taste for black and white, especially low key, is evident.

I was and still am fascinated by silhouettes because they, in my opinion, invoke a sort of mystery. Here is a picture I took aboard the USS Independence (CV 62) from inside the hangar bay during an underway replenishment:

UNREP Aboard USS Independence

As my skills improved, I noticed I could take photographs more intentionally. In other words, my ability to pre-visualize an image and then take the photograph has improved — instead of just taking a picture and crossing my fingers during post processing. I must admit that it is an iterative process. I usually take several pictures with different settings from different angles.

Here is a picture I took early morning in 2010 of The Sainte Claire in San Jose, California:

The Sainte Claire in San Jose

And later that morning, this one of St. Joseph’s Cathedral:

St. Joseph's Cathedral

However, don’t get me wrong, sometimes something just grabs my eye and I start taking pictures. I often carry my camera when I walk my dog. On this day, a beautiful Harley-Davidson Road King caught my eye. The symmetrical design, tone, and contrast of the engine is simply mesmerizing.

Road King