Looking down the spiral staircase in the Trustee House at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Ky.

Travelers rush through the main concourse inside Grand Central Terminal, New York City.

The November midday sun casts long shadows from a fire escape, New York City.

Skylight in the roof of Guggenheim Museum is framed by the spiral walkway, New York City.

Steps exit a tunnel carved through rock, Hocking Hills State Park, Logan, Ohio.

Arched walkway at Union Station, Washington, D.C.

Bennett’s Mill covered bridge, South Shore, Ky., photographed on black & white film, June 1976.

Diana, a statue created by sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens in 1893, stands atop the stairs in the Philadelphia Museum of Art's Great Stair Hall.

Stones mark military graves in Section 51 of Green Lawn Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio. Most buried in that section died before 1910.

Visitors stroll through the Bethesda Terrace Arcade in Central Park, New York City.

Looking up at the Texas Capitol dome from rotunda floor, Austin, Texas.

Cemetery in snow, shot on 35 millimeter film in January 1977, Ashland, Ky.

Overcast sky and buildings are reflected by the reservoir in Central Park, New York City.

Grandfather’s clock between doors in the Centre Family Dwelling, Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Ky.

Stairs curve up a hill on Broadview Avenue, Grandview Heights near Columbus, Ohio.

Gravestones stand in lines in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va.

Pilings in San Francisco Bay, a ship anchored on the horizon and a lone seagull, near Pier 30, San Francisco.

Lion guarding the entrance to the public library, New York City.

Obelisk on Navy Pier with John Hancock Building in background, Chicago.

Looking up at the former Enron building, 1400 Smith St., Houston.

Atlas in front of Rockefeller Center’s International Building, New York City.

Equipment at the ready in front of the fire engine, Engine 6, Station 49, Beekman Street, New York City.

Traffic waits on The Mall before passing through Admiralty Arch toward Trafalgar Square, London.

The skylight in St. Pancras International Train Station, London.

A rusting chain remains wrapped around a fallen post in the woods, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, West Jefferson, Ohio.

Gravestones line a hillside in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va.

Sun Triangle sculpture in front of McGraw-Hill Building, New York City.

Light filtering through the forest, Clear Creek Metro Park, Rockbridge, Ohio.

The interior of Trinity Church, located on Broadway at Wall Street in New York City.

Columns outside Union Station, Washington, D.C.

GE Building at 30 Rockefeller Plaza stands bright against a January night sky, New York City.

A chapel is surrounded by graves in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va.

Walkers silhouetted near the end of Playmates Arch, Central Park, New York City.

Equipment at the ready in front of the fire engine, Engine 6, Station 49, Beekman Street, New York City.

Stones mark military graves in Section 51 of Green Lawn Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio. Most buried in that section died before 1910.

A sign warns hikers to avoid a dangerous area near cliffs above roots on the Cedar Falls trail, Hocking Hills State Park, Logan, Ohio.

Street lamps hang in front of a stone building on Park Row in New York City.

A rusting chain and bolt are still connected to rusting metal in the woods in Prairie Oaks Metro Park, West Jefferson, Ohio.

Light filtering through trees, Highbanks Metro Park, Lewis Center, Ohio.

Frost covers plants in a field in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.

07.21/Black and white

Photography is much different in today’s digital world. You take the shot, then immediately check the LCD screen on the back of the camera to analyze the photo. 

I like black and white photography.

Maybe it’s because a black and white photo reminds me of my early days with a 35 millimeter film camera, shooting black and white because it was less expensive than color and much easier to process. It allowed me to learn photography through experimentation without wiping out the limited funds I had.

Drop a roll of Kodak Tri-X into the camera, take some shots, rush to my home darkroom, run the film through some D76 developer, then a quick pass through the stop bath and some time in the fixer before hanging it to dry and checking what I had.

Photography is much different in today’s digital world. You take the shot, then immediately check the LCD screen on the back of the camera to analyze the photo. Since there’s no chemical processing, it costs the same to shoot color as black and white.

So color photography rules the day.

But when I’m out with my camera I still look for scenes that will work best in black and white. These are usually scenes with distinctive shapes or patterns, sometimes formed by interesting shadows, or objects with texture. Color in a photo can mask these details.

I also look for scenes where the absence of color can enhance the mood.

Two of the photos in this collection were shot on black and white film in the 1970s. The digital photos were all shot in color, then converted to black and white. A handful of these were shot with the intention to use them as black and white. I knew they would work best that way. The others have been used in both black and white and color. Some days I like the color versions better. Other days I lean toward the black and white.

It’s all part of the creative decision making that makes photography so enjoyable.

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Photographs and text: Copyright - Pat D. Hemlepp. All rights reserved. Photographs may not be used without permission.

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