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Not Just Black & White

We are used to seeing beautiful color photographs of the Thousand Islands. The brilliant blue skies and green islands of summer, or islands silhouetted against a fiery orange sky at sunset. However, seeing them in black-and-white reveals a completely different and stunning perspective.

Color can often be a crutch for the landscape photographer, masking ho-hum lighting and poor composition. Stripped of the “seduction” of color, a landscape is reduced to its essential nature and form. The absence of color allows us to focus on the details of a scene that may be otherwise overlooked. Form, texture, and differences in brightness are the rule, and are often much more powerful and emotional than a scene’s tint and hue.  Black-and-white forces us to see in an unusual way, thereby allowing us to see something we may have never noticed before. It’s not a question of whether a photo looks better in color or monochrome. Very often a scene will work in both mediums, albeit in different ways.

In my early years as a photographer I had little interest in exploring black-and-white, considering it a thing of the past. However, my growth as an artist has enabled me to see the beauty of monochrome and to recognize the elements that comprise a stunning black-and-white photograph.  With the advent of digital cameras black-and-white photography has never been easier.

No longer is it an either/or proposition: do I load color film into my camera or black-and-white? With today’s digital cameras every photo starts out as a color image and can simply be converted to black-and-white with the click of the mouse in any photo editing software.

Here I have assembled a collection of Thousand Islands images that I feel have a strong impact when viewed in black-and-white. This does not necessarily mean that they “look” better in monochrome (that’s for the viewer to decide), but that they have the qualities discussed above that make for a beautiful black-and-white photograph.

© 2014 Chris Murray Photography
Evening Light from Camelot Island
© 2014 Chris Murray Photography
© 2014 Chris Murray Photography
Island Calm
© 2014 Chris Murray Photography
© 2014 Chris Murray Photography
Lake Ontario
© 2014 Chris Murray Photography

© 2014 Chris Murray Photography
Storm Clouds Building
© 2014 Chris Murray Photography
© 2014 Chris Murray Photography
Winter Afternoon on Wellesley Island
© 2014 Chris Murray Photography
© 2014 Chris Murray Photography
Winter Branches
© 2014 Chris Murray Photography

By Chris Murray

TI Life readers were first introduced to Chris Murray Photography in July, 2010 and then in January, 2011 he wrote “Thousand Islands Rocks”, providing a unique perspective on the Island’s geology.  This this past December, Chris won our Thousand Islands Life Photo Contest!  Thankfully, Chris often shares his beautiful photographs with TI Life on Facebook.  His unique shots of the Adirondacks and the Canadian Rockies are outstanding.   All can be found at  Chris Murray Photography.

Posted in: Photography
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lynda crothers
Comment by: lynda crothers ( )
Left at: 6:54 AM Saturday, February 15, 2014
Ahh so beautiful , this winter so many white, black days also restful just looking at the pics. Thank You
Sandy and Jes Zeck
Comment by: Sandy and Jes Zeck ( )
Left at: 9:31 AM Saturday, February 15, 2014
What wonderful shots, Chris. Enjoyed seeing your entry into the Silent Auction at STR Conference too! Especially enjoy your "winter branches" above. WOW!!! What an "artist's eye" you have!!!! Thank you for sharing.....
Chris Murray
Comment by: Chris Murray ( )
Left at: 11:28 AM Saturday, February 15, 2014
Thank you, Sandy and Jes, I appreciate your kind comments. Yes, "winter branches" seems to be a popular image and is one of my favorites as well. I was sorry to miss the STR Conference this year. Incidentally, I notice you're from Sodus, the Lake Ontario image in the article is from Chimney Bluffs State Park. Thank you again!
sid manes
Comment by: sid manes ( )
Left at: 2:05 PM Saturday, February 15, 2014
As you grow older it hurts to wait for summer. seeing the lovely pictures of Chris Murray makes it easier to wait. thank you.
Chris Murray
Comment by: Chris Murray ( )
Left at: 6:54 PM Monday, February 17, 2014
Thank you for appreciating them Sid!

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