Winter in Black and White

winter, landscape, black and white, Dan jurak, Alberta, prairie, snow, frost, hoar frost,

It was an interesting morning/afternoon for me. I don’t usually go out for photos long after the sun has risen but I wasn’t able to as I drove one of my daughters to the public transit for final exams in university. When I got home for as great as the sky was looking I thought that it would be a wash to try and catch it.

A few hours later after constantly checking the provincial highway webcams I decided to give it a try. If nothing else it would be nice to get some fresh air after a few weeks of poor photo weather and those two words are special, photo weather.

Black and white or color it makes no difference good light and just as importantly good weather is critical to getting interesting photos. Here the sun is at a right angle to the camera which provides texture in the snow. An hour earlier or later and that texture might not be there. Many photographers think that location is the most important part of their landscape and they are wrong. This is a clump of trees on the side of a gravel road. Hardly picturesque until the conditions are right.

The country side was covered with a thick coating of frost and the wind had not yet picked up enough to blow it from the branches.

The photo above looks good in color, that is how it was shot. For me, the test was to see what I could make of it in black and white. With the dark almost black skies and white branches it does look like an infrared photo which it isn’t. BTW, I ordered a used Nikon D800 this week for that exact purpose. I will send it away in the new year to have it converted to shoot infrared only. That should be lots of fun when summer rolls around.

In the mean time, enjoy the snow or lack of it wherever you may be.

Happy shooting,



~ by Dan Jurak on December 8, 2014.

14 Responses to “Winter in Black and White”

  1. Very nice image.

  2. Thank you Tim.

  3. You’re welcome.

  4. Great image. At first sight I thought it was an IR capture 🙂 SIlly me.

  5. I just love your thinking and the results from those thoughts- it really does look like IR at first glance

  6. @ Ray, two different animals, color and black & white. Both great in their own way.

  7. Stephan, I agree, it looks like an infrared photo. Part of the reason for that is the extra dark sky which is enhanced in processing. Lots of infrared coming this summer and THAT I am looking forward to along with long exposures.


  8. Great IR-like photo. Could you let me know where do you send your old camera for IR conversion? If there are different conversion modes – which one you have decided for? I have been studying what
    has to say and really need a final push. I would like to convert EOS 5D Mk II (replaced now with Mk III). i would appreciate your advice.

  9. Hi Zbigniew, the first camera I had converted a few years ago was a Canon Rebel, a ten megapixel version. It was done by in the US. They did a good job but the sensor came back absolutely filthy.

    I have decided to send my next camera to, the same website that you reference.

    The filter conversion that suits me best is Lifepixel’s, Deep BW IR (equivalent to 830nm Filter). My Canon had a weaker conversion which was good and bad. Good because I could swap color channels in Photoshop and get the blue skies/white foliage look and bad because it was not a really strong infrared filter.

    I intend to do straight black and whites with no colored skies with the new camera so the stronger IR filter suits me best. If you want to have the choice of IR but with the option of swapping color channels then you might want the standard IR filter conversion.

    All the best and let me know how things turn out for you,
    BTW, one of my daughters might be switching over to the U of A from Grant MacEwan for her third year, be easy on her if you see her, same last name. LOL

  10. Thank you, Dan. It gives me some helpful info to digest over. I wish your daughter good luck at UofA. This is a great place – I have worked there (in Physics) for almost 30 years until I have retired. No more teaching for me which I miss from time to time but photography makes up for the loss with one extra benefit that I do it at my own pace.

  11. You’re welcome Zbigniew. Retired? If you enjoy retirement only half as much as I do you are indeed a happy man! We all need a purpose in life and that in a large part contributes to our sense of happiness and well being. Photography is a big part of my retirement and enjoyment. Enjoy the best years of your life!


  12. Sure, I do. I also enjoy travelling and Italy is the place where my heart resides.

  13. I like this image and angle and myself converted a couple of colour hoar frost shots to black and white. I do not know infra red so look forward to seeing it. re: photo weather, I think it will be a challenge to shoot in the upcoming days when everything melts and turns to slush.

  14. @ Jane, if you google infrared landscape under the images section you will see a fair representation of photos taken that way. It isn’t a look for everyone.

    You are right about the slush. That was one of the reasons that I went out yesterday. Unless we get very humid and windless nights which would make for great foggy mornings, landscapes around here are a wash for a few days.

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