Contrasting Colors, Shadows and Light

Banded Hills of South Dakota Badlands

How often have you heard someone say that in the middle of a cloudless day, the sun is too harsh to get a good photograph? Really?  Well I have to admit that I was truly wondering about this as we approached Badlands National Park.  The cool but clear early autumn morning had provided some wonderful opportunities at Horsethief Lake and Mount Rushmore. Now, it was three hours later and the sun was beating down on the arid hills.  Well a few adjustments with exposure, circular polarizing filter in place and going around the next bend and over yonder hill got us in position to gather some great colors. What I didn’t know and understand at the time was how all of these different colors affect light and contrast when transferred to black and white.

Banded Hills of South Dakota Badlands - SEP

When I was adding these photos from our 2010 trip in western South Dakota to Lightroom, I hadn’t planned to work on the RAW photos again. But as I’ve mentioned in the last few posts, I was tempted to see what I could do with the Nik Software.  On the color photo, very little if any change is to be noted. However, that lighting, the colors and contrast I mentioned earlier just popped out when I ran the capture through Silver Effects Pro 2. This is one comparison I definitely wanted to share with you as one can readily see how the red, yellow, blue and green shades of color present themselves in black and white.  The light sun-baked clay and darkly shadowed washes between the hills also intensify and bring out the various zones of light.  So when you are out in the middle of the day, don’t shy away from capturing some photo’s. You just might grab a great color or even a BW keeper.  Keep warm and have a great night.