Sunday Stills: Your Best #Black-and-White Photos

Inked hummer

Black and white photography is not at the top of my list of favorite photography techniques. I prefer color photography, but I enjoy seeing others’ black and white images and I recognize the special eye and techniques it takes to create just the right image.

“Black and white photography removes any distraction of color and helps the viewer focus on other aspects of the photo, such as the subject, the textures, shapes and patterns, and the composition.”

David Kindervater

As I challenge myself with this theme, I start by sharing two images of people, which in my opinion, especially lend themselves to black and white photography. I cannot take credit for the images, but they are two of my favorites.

This was taken by my husband’s brother-in-law. He caught this image of my husband lighting a cigar. Not only does the light balance work here, but the smoke curls in contrast to the dark background. His expression shows the anticipation of the first inhale as he lights the cigar. This would be the kind of black and white photography to which I would aspire.

man smoking cigar

We recently celebrated my mother-in-law’s life with a family memorial service. Aside from other wonderful images of her, my sister-in-law took this one of Hella for her high school photography class in 1974.

Hella Schrandt

Again, NOT one of my images, but she captured her mother’s joy and zest for life in this now eternal moment.

A Black and White Gallery

I dug into my archives for these images shown in the gallery. *Note–the black sand beach was actually black and white…cheating?

Birds in Black and White

Any subject can be finished in black and white. In the example below, I have the same image of one of my backyard hummingbirds (incidentally all puffed up from a spring rain shower and a good example of next week’s theme “spring green”). I feel that the color image really pops compared to the black and white image I created. Here is how they look side-by-side.

Fluffed up hummingbirdall fluffed up in BW

Since I was not thrilled with the B&W version, I also used a black and white filter (Painnt app) as seen below to enhance what should remain a wonderful color image but doesn’t lend itself to black and white.

Inked hummer

What do you think?

While we are on the subject of birds, I happened to have an oldie-but-goodie image of a Pacifica shorebird in sepia format, taken on the beaches of San Diego. Shared for Lisa’s BirdWeekly.

sepia shore bird

Whatever your own techniques for creating beautiful B&W images, please share a little about your process.

Looking for Black and White Photo Challenges?

I love coincidence! This photo was taken for Cees Black and White Photo challenge in 2015 (when I was newer to blogging and photography). Why coincidence? I am resubmitting this same image for Cee’s B&W challenge for kitchen objects (started this week!) again 6 years later! This was one of my first attempts to focus a color into a black and white image. I know it’s lacking, but we all start somewhere. Cee offers her black and white photo challenge weekly.

blackand white kitchen

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

porch light

If we were having coffee this week, I would happily tell you that we may be within two weeks of moving into the house! I hope I haven’t jinxed it…but the manufactured home company told us that carpet was installed this weekend, and I’ve had assurances that the septic system goes in this week. Above is the cute porch light recently installed. So much happened at lightning speed over the last three weeks, almost as if to make up for the lo-o-ong wait for just electricity last month. A few more small items to check before the final walk-through. And just in time for spring-like weather. For those who observe daylight saving time, did you spring your clocks forward last night?

Please join Natalie’s Weekend Coffee Share each week and see what other bloggers are up to!

Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders

  • Please create a new post for the theme or link a recent one.
  • Title your blog post a little differently than mine.
  • Don’t forget to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be posted all week.
  • Use hashtag #SundayStills for sharing on social media.

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Each week I will share the links from the previous post so you can continue to meet and support each other. And with that…please visit our…

Rainy Day People

I truly admire folks who can capture lovely images in black and white, so this week, the challenge is YOURS!

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Sunday Stills: All #Lined Up

lines in a jump center

October kicks off another month of Sunday Stills photo challenges, but did you know that Becky B, square photographer extraordinaire, is back to hosting her squares challenge this month? October’s theme is “lines and squares.”

Why not join in for Sunday Stills this week and post some lines and squares for both challenges! Think of it as photo blogging squared!

Each Fall semester, I arrange for one of my university classes to visit two recreational facilities to learn more about the daily operations and management of such.

My class visited the Sky High Jump Center, a large indoor trampoline and jump facility. As we toured the facility, I took several photos of the interesting perspectives of lines and squares. Since we were there at lunchtime on a weekday, there were very few people jumping. But that didn’t stop a couple of my students from doing so after the tour.

lines in a jump center

How many lines and squares can you count?

On another day, we visited a community recreation and sports center seen below. On this surprisingly overcast day in late September, taking the image to black and white gave it an unintended brooding appearance. By the evening though, this field was alive with players and teams enjoying softball games.

lines in a softball field

Not only does it sport the lines I was seeking, it coincidentally works with Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge: The side of things, for this week!

The Blue Angels are back at the Capital Air Show in Sacramento with their high flying tricks. Quite the straight line at 700 mph (just under Mach 1)!

Blue Angels Air Show Sacramento

The same jets appear to fly between the overhead power lines…of my backyard! We are within a mile of the Mather Air Field where the show commenced this weekend and I can stand in my front yard and watch most of it! They practice all week right over our heads!

Blue Angels beween the lines

Lines are also found in nature. I couldn’t resist sharing this line of pelicans flying high, although not quite as fast as the Blue Angels.

Pelicans follow the leader

Please welcome a set of new participants to September’s Sunday Stills challenges and please visit their blogs when you get the chance:
Travel with Tech, Joe’s Musings, Cath’s Camera, and Take A Walk.

Over the next month, I will be incorporating lines into my images for the Sunday Stills’ themes so I can link with Becky B’s challenge. I look forward to what you will share for this week’s lines and squares!

have a good week

© 2019 Copyright-All rights

Another Redhead: Cee’s Black & White Challenge

Black and white image of woodpecker with red head

I have been busy on the blog this week, so this post is short and sweet as I share my black and white version of this woodpecker.

Back in early 2017, with my new Lumix camera in tow, I strode along the American River Bike Trail hoping for some good photo ops! Although it was late January, it was a sunny day and birds were out. I was so excited to see Mr. Woodpecker here.

Woodpecker in black and white

Cee’s challenge accepts black and white photos with these elements: I chose the third one to highlight the pop of red on his little birdy head.

  • Black and white photography
  • Sepia tones (browns)
  • Selective color with the majority of the photo being in black and white
  • Desaturated – very little color tone left in your photo

Here he is in full color with minimal post-editing. I zoomed in on him quite a bit, and was pleased with the clarity.


Black and white photo beachFeel free to join Cee’s Black and White Photography Challenge every Thursday where she provides a new theme.

If you are on Instagram and enjoy challenges, check out the Instagram Summer Photo Challenge that begins July 1st.

Sunday Stills themes for July are ready for planning purposes, too!

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WPC: Thanks for the Photographic Memories

Dragonfly nymph sheds into adulthood

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge has been a staple on my blog since January 2015, when I began submitting to its new theme each week. 

This is the last week that the weekly photo challenge will prompt bloggers like myself to stretch our imaginations and take a photograph that depicts the theme. The last theme, appropriately is All-Time Favorites, where we are to share our favorite images from past WPC posts.

This was one of my first entries into an amazing world of photo blogging! Expressive Dock Eagerly Awaits Visitors

Lake Dock

Not only did this photo pop, but it was one of my better attempts at a decent blog post title.

Here are a couple of fan favorites and one of mine:

Legs cast shadows and reflections
Reflections and Shadows

SpaceX Launch
SpaceX Launched 10 satellites into space from Southern California

Dragonfly nymph sheds into adulthood
Dragonfly nymph sheds into adulthood

These photos are different in nature but all seem to have unusual features: a downward focus to catch both shadows and reflections; a fleeting moment in space, or a macro shot of Mother Nature in action. This is the creativity the WPC inspired in me,  to think and see like a photographer every minute of the day.

The weekly photo challenge was responsible for providing me with hundreds of followers over the years and was instrumental in improving my photography over the last three years, and I credit it for linking me with so many other amazing bloggers who share their photos in posts each week. I will seriously miss this blogging event!

I must give a special shout-out to a fellow blogger and Northern California neighbor, Frank at Petaluma Spectator Blog.

Lumix cameraWhen I began shopping for a REAL camera, I reached out to Frank by e-mail asking what camera he used for the WPCs. Not only did he share the information on his favorite camera (Panasonic Lumix FZ300, which I purchased), he sent several messages with the links to good photography practices. And he even sent me a hard copy photography book!

Without Frank’s help and inspiration, this amazing world of photography I find myself in would not be the same. My photography has certainly leveled up all because I developed a relationship with a fellow blogger on the subject.


To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them. Elliott Erwitt

Although I hate to see the WPC go, I thank the WordPress team at the Daily Post  for the support and prompts to help new and veteran bloggers stretch our wings and soar!

Stuck for ideas? Why not join these photo challenges hosted by your fellow bloggers?

Cees Photo Challenges 
Thursday Doors 
Tourmaline Jennifer Nichole Wells 
Sunday Stills (hosted by me)
Visit this WordPress Daily Post Community Event page for more blogging events!


Zombie Plants Attack!

Zombie Plants

As this is the week before Halloween, let’s play with some black and white photography of spooky objects made of wood.

The community garden planters at the local school appear as tombstones laid side by side. Zombie-like plant life comes alive as they appear to crawl out of their coffins.

Zombie Plants

Living in the old mulberry tree in my own front yard is a burl full of ghostly faces ready to pop out and scare the trick-or-treaters as they walk by!

Ghostly Faces in Wood

These were submitted for Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge: Things Made from Wood

Join Cee’s Photography challenges any time.

Also posted on Lucile De Godoy’s The Clinic: Photo 101 Rehab.