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I can’t believe I haven’t posted in a week! For shame! 🙂

Well, we survived the 3-day art fair despite the hot & humid temps and sparse crowds. Another indication this economy is hitting artists quite hard as there were fewer vendors than ever this year. Many we spoked to confirmed sales were down for them as well. Not good. Please support your local artists!

"Tempest" (Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' aka Black-eyed Susan) Nikon D300, 105mm, F/9, 1/160s, +0.3EV, ISO 320

“Tempest” (Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ aka Black-eyed Susan) Nikon D300, 105mm, F/9, 1/160s, +0.3EV, ISO 320

"Lady Macbeth" (Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' aka Black-eyed Susan) Nikon D300, 105mm, F/9, 1/200s, +0.3EV, ISO 320

“Lady Macbeth” (Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ aka Black-eyed Susan) Nikon D300, 105mm, F/9, 1/200s, +0.3EV, ISO 320

I’ve actually been in sort of a photography lull, finding myself seriously lacking in inspiration. After a few days of feeling this way, I decided to kickstart my creative juices by shooting only in black & white. Removing color from the equation immediately forces me to look at my world a little differently and it wasn’t very long before I found a lovely subject.

Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ (aka Black-eyed Susan) is a fairly common perennial flower and so far, my small clump has managed to elude the radar of the resident bunny! As lovely as they are in color, I find their stunning form is even more evident in black & white, especially when lit so beautifully in late afternoon.

"Much Ado About Nothing" (Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' aka Black-eyed Susan) Nikon D300, 105mm, F/9, 1/160s, +0.3EV, ISO 320

“Much Ado About Nothing” (Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ aka Black-eyed Susan) Nikon D300, 105mm, F/9, 1/160s, +0.3EV, ISO 320

Not much was done in post except for some petal cleanup (who likes spots on their crisp white flowers?) and tonal changes to accentuate all the details.

"Romeo & Juliet" (Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' aka Black-eyed Susan) Nikon D300, 105mm, F/9, 1/100s, ISO 320

“Romeo & Juliet” (Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ aka Black-eyed Susan) Nikon D300, 105mm, F/9, 1/100s, ISO 320

Oh, I would be remiss if I didn’t give a big ol’ nod to my pal Shakespeare for helping me with the image names. Thanks, Bill! 🙂


  1. It sure does focus the mind to intentionally shoot for black and white doesn’t it, and you’ve picked the perfect subject too with these… The last two are my faves… Very nice indeed Tracy..

    • It certianly does! In my summer classes at the studio, I always include a b&w session to show students just how differently you have to look at things when shooting in b&w! I start the class by setting up different colored items in front of a white, black, grey and green backgrounds and they are always amazed at what greyscale values the different items end up being. (For examply, did you know that red and green shades can read the same in b&w?) Then, once they have the basics under their belts, I set them loose in the landscape to shoot. It is always an adventure!

      Thanks, Brian! 🙂

  2. No need to warned us.

    Besides, look what you brought us after a week off. Stunning (even in B&W) flowering photographic art.

    • Ha! I guess I did, Scott! I just really didn’t think I’d let it slide this bad so quickly! 😉

      You are kind Scott! Thanks so much!

  3. Really lovely in b&w. I’m surprised that they are black eyed susan’s – I would have thought the yellow petals would have been around a zone 4 or 5. Maybe a little push of the contrast? I think it would be interesting to have b&w susan’s in one’s moon garden.

    • Thanks, Lynn.

      I didn’t push contrast but I did slightly over-expose. Yellow always goes to the lighter end of the grey scale and it was pretty much all green in the background going to the dark end. Oh, and the scene was pretty brightly lit, so that also helped with the drama.

      I agree – these in a moonl garden would be very pretty!

  4. Love the contrast in these!! I think they look great in b&w… much more interesting than they would have in color.

    I’m sorry to hear that the art fair didn’t go as well as in previous years (I AM my local artist 😉 )
    Ugh, and I know how you feel… I’m in desperate need of some photography subjects myself. Took the camera to the MALL with me today (now that’s getting desperate!) and didn’t find much to photograph. Still have to bring myself to look at what I got to see if they’re even worth keeping. I can’t wait for our vacation!

    • Thanks, Michaela! I am still planning on doing more with b&w and hope to find something with less contrast to show that b&w doesn’t have to be such drama all the time. It can be soft as well.

      We actually did ok at the art fair…lots of cards and a few prints sold, but I was really hopeful that we’d sell some bigger pieces. I am really hoping the Interior Designer who stopped by our tent will call since he seemed to really dig my stuff and thought his clients would as well. That would be a sweet gig.

      Phew! So it ISN’T just me! I really think it is the heat. Lots of the landscape is suffering from the lack of rain and watering is getting tiring. All I feel like doing lately is lounging in the pool! MUCH better than sweatin’ in the office!

      Wow…the mall. Now, that does sound desperate! lol! 🙂

  5. Love them all!

    I’m glad to see that someone else deliberately shoots in B/W anymore. The latest edition of OP has several articles that drive me simply nuts. Who would want to go through more than a dozen steps to get the image in B/W when you could have done it right in the camera to begin with….

    • Thanks, Derrick!

      A dozen steps? Yes, that does seem crazy! My BEST days are when I get the shot right in camera – whether in color or b&w. I just don’t have the time to fuss with extensive post-processing. I’m always looking for the quickest route! I actually don’t give the b&w colorspace enought credit and I plan on shooting much more often in this mode.\..

  6. These are beautiful, especially numbers 3 and 4. They look great in BW. Great contrast and the bright looks just right.

  7. Great detail as always. This is a great little series. I’m not even looking at the blogs much, let alone posting. Your new speed is right there with mine. 🙂 I think summer is causing everyone to keep away from the computers.

    • Thanks, Sean. 🙂

      I think you are right. I find myself simply wanting to enjoy the warm weather while it is here. I’m still shooting and have probably things I could post, but that would take time away from the pool… 😉

  8. Fabulous and what a great way to kick start new inspiration. Love these in black and white – really, love them.

    • Thank you Tammy! I’m actually getting a kick out of shooting in b&w. Even if I don’t post the images, I am looking at things sooooo differently. Makes me also appreciate color. Fun, fun, fun! 🙂

  9. Rudbeckia looks great in high contrast B&W. Pretty curves and lines, sharp edges and delicate shadows.

    • Thanks, Tom! When I saw them, I simply hoped I would be able to capture just what you’ve described…

  10. After finishing a 365 project, you can feel like you’ve photographed everything to death! I felt like that and barely picked up my camera for a few months after I finished mine. (Personally, I’m still in the honeymoon phase with the new camera, so I haven’t felt desperate for subjects yet!)
    I’ve never been a huge fan of B&W, but I do like the way you’ve created interest in these shots. Where did the Shakespearean inspiration come from?

    • Good to know it is not unusual to feel this way! Thanks, Karma! 🙂

      Today is the first day in awhile I’ve felt I’ve been able to breathe. Just too many things going on, lately.

      Hmmmm, the idea just popped into my head when I looked at the fourth image and thought ‘Romeo & Juliet’. From there, it was pretty easy to think of appropriate Shakespearean plays for the other images! 🙂

  11. mmmm the shadows in the first are awesome! and love the composition of the last.
    so that background is really the dark green background in real life? cool!

  12. Love them all. Michaela was talking about going to the mall to take photos. I was taking photos in my church lobby for goodness sake.
    I love these photos, all of them!… and the names too.

    • Yes, it seems we are all feeling a little bit un-inspired lately?? What is up with that?

      Thanks, Jan! 🙂

  13. Beautiful pictures.
    The power you managed to extract from such a little flower is unbelievable.
    That’s creativity! Who cares if the right inspiration occurres only once a week?
    Keep up the good work.

    • Hey, thanks Mauro! (btw…sweet new Avatar 🙂 )

      So sweet of you to say that! 🙂

  14. Tracy, you have been working concentrated to finish your book, and need some time without thinking in pictures now. If you had done a marathon, you would also have to rest before start running again. You should keep the camera locked away and spend the time by the pool while you can. (Think about the camera, perhaps it is tired, too…) Relaxing will fill you with new ideas, and before you know it, you have to grab the camera again.

    • Your words are very kind, Birgitte! And, you’re probably right but, I’m afraid to lose my skills. When you shoot every day, you get really, really good. I find if I take too long of a break, I get rusty. Not a win-win.

      I am trying to relax and take it easy. There is alot going on right now, aside from the book, so I do need to take a step back and regroup. I never thought about it like a marathon. Yeah, it is like that. Thanks for the ‘permission’ to take some time off! 🙂

  15. I have just come back from my “summer-break” (in Greece and Denmark) and saw your b&w post: Surprising and beautiful!!!! – I really must soon dare taking this step into the b&w-world again soon…. I have not been doing that since I was young playing in the darkroom 😉

    • Greece and Denmark – how exciting! Thank you, Truels! I highly recommend it! 🙂

  16. These are really beautiful and some great work. Processing them the way you did shows the elegance of the plant. My favorite is Lady Macbeth.

    An inspiring and creative post!

    • Thank you, Bob! I don’t think b&w images get as much press as they deserve, especially in the flower world.

  17. I can’t believe I missed this post – for some reason your stuff doesn’t seem to be showing up in my blog reader. But better late than never – these are great shots.

    • Well, you saw it eventually so that is good!

      Thanks so very much! 🙂

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