I read the paper, old school I know. But Seattle is one of the few places that has an old-school, independent, local newspaper, which makes it worthwhile on several levels, and I like to do the crosswords on paper.
As I mentioned we went to The Mountain last week. (“The Mountain” is Mount Rainier.) Inspired in part by the old black and white photos on the walls of Paradise Inn and in part by the Lens Artists Photo Challenge for this week, I’ve spent some time experimenting with photos from our trip in black and white (a gallery with the color photos is at the end of the post for comparison).
The Mountain is classic, which makes it a great subject for black and white. Every year is both the same and different, depending on the weather and when we can get reservations. This year was on the early side, although the hot weather we had last month sped up snow melt some.
For these photos I used the Gnu Image Manipulation Program, a.k.a., the GIMP to create the black and white images. I used two different tools, both found in the Desaturate submenu of the Colors menu: Desaturate and Color to gray. I put the color to gray image over the desaturated one and experimented with different blend modes. In the cases above I chose the soft light mode. Then I adjusted the opacity of the color to gray layer to get the effect I liked.
The steps were:
Load the image.
Resize the image and sharpen it (resizing usually softens an image).
Fine tune the tone and contrast using either the levels or the tone curve (black and white often looks better if the contrast is greater and the whole range from black to white is used). In the photo of the falls I used layer masks to use different settings for the falls, which were in shadows.
Make two duplicates of the adjusted image.
For the top layer I used the Color to gray filter (Colors>Desaturate>Color to gray). Adjusting the parameters to suit the image.
On the lower layer I used the Desaturate tool (Colors>Desaturate>Desaturate). I tried all of the methods available and chose the one best suited to the photo.
For the Color to gray layer I changed the layer mode and adjusted it’s opacity.
Usually we go to the mountain a bit later in the year, after most of the snow melt, so we’ve never seen Narada Falls so vigorous. This year the snow melt was accelerated by the record breaking hot weather in our area. The water really was everywhere, even in the air! It was hard to photograph the falls this year without getting my lens covered with water.
The trees together look a bit like a rocket launch, especially in the fall when the maple goes golden. The Japanese maple is in my yard and the Douglas Fir is in the next door neighbor’s yard. When we moved in, 34 years ago, the Japanese maple was only about as tall as I am: 5′ 6″. We had no idea it would get this big…but, boy, do we love it, and the shade it casts on hot summer days.
This was taken yesterday at Fern Cove Nature Preserve on Vashon Island in Puget Sound. A typical forest for the shores of the Puget Sound: mostly the brighter green trees are alder with a few big leaf maples. The evergreens are a mix of Douglas fir, hemlock and western red cedar.
These trees help to keep us cool. One of the factors heating up our area is cutting down the forest and replacing it with grass and pavement. When I was a child (a long time ago) we never saw temps in the 90s (degrees Fahrenheit), let alone days over 100.
Not far inside the southwest entrance to Mount Rainier National Park, Kautz Creek is a good stop for a bit of out of car time. There is a short, flat path to the creek and a nice view of the mountain framed by trees. The board walk to the viewpoint is comfortably handicap accessible.