Feature Week 24
So why would you shoot a very colourful scene in Black & White, that sound like a reasonable question and it is. Well because nice colours give you great gray tones and because Black & white is what I do.
While we were traveling through Argentina this was one of the parts I was looking forward to. The whole area around Salta, Cafayate, and Tilcara is magnificent. The landscape changes rapidly where you pass through one scenery more beautiful then the other. We were staying in Tilcara for two nights and were planning to visite Hornocal and the Salinas Grandes amongst some other places.
It was the day before my girlfriends birthday when we drove up the mountain from the village Humahuaco. The trip took us over an hour over rough terrain until we reached the top of the 4.300m mountain which gave us a wonderful view on the Hornocal area, also called "Cerro de 14 Colores". From the top You have to walk down a very steep road before you reach a plateau for the best view on the colourful landscape. Because of the height it is quite an exhausting trip but worth ever step.
The picture you see on the left is one of the many pictures I took and is now part of the Stillen Collection.
The gray tones work very well, they make you aware of the special history that underlies the events that led to this landscape.
The pictures below were taken just before and after the main picture.
Location Hornocal, near Humahuaca, Jujuy, Argentina
Details you can find in the picture
They tend to look like teeth or a layered cake. It is quite astonishing when you see it for the first time. The colours are dark and light green, brown, orange and red. It's hard to imagine what happend to create these structures and colours.
At the time I was working on the Stillen collection so I knew that I would also try a composition with a low horizon and strong sky. Although I found it quite hard to imagine if the structure would pop out as much as in real life. The contrast in the final result is what I was hoping for.
The mountain range on the right side of the picture behaves like an animale who just woke up, stretching himself out after a good night sleep. In the far bottom-right corner the dark area has a nice texture created by the bushes which grow in these heights where no tree can grow. I wanted to have the colourful mountains to be part of the rest of the landscape and choose to layer the composition with this dark piece of mountain. The gray texture work great on Ilford FP4 Plus, just like the left bottom part and dark sky. Those areas keep the picture in balance.
I'm a sucker for a dramatic dark blue sky, filled with clouds. It must be because of my Dutch roots, the Dutch Golden Age painters like Van Ruisdael were famous for it. Normally I would use a orange and ND filter for such a photo but in this case the light was not very bright so I measured on the landscape only.
The center of the landscape contains the most distinguis-hed gray texture.. Although I hesitated to horizontally com-pose the picture in that way, but because of the vertical compo-sition I saw this would compensate for the obvious positioning of the main subject. In post the contrast has been lifted a bit to let the "pop out" more.
Backstage work in progress
Photo: Natasja de Jong, Nikon Z6
I didn't want to keep the colours from you, although this site is all about Black&White the title of the picture kind off gives it away. We spent more then an hour on this spot, from the place where we parked our car to the photo spot was a very steep walk and we knew we had to go back as well. That would be a hard walk because of the 4.300m altitude and it was not a punishment to enjoy the scenery. I took about 20 pictures with the 50 and 28mm lens. Because of the light, it was not very sunny, I hesitated to use a gradient ND filter or Orange filter to pop the sky. In hindsight it wasn't necessary.
When we prepared for this trip we noticed that the Tropic of Capricorn was located around this area. On our trip in Namibia we stumbled upon one by chance as well and found out there are 4 of these markings around the world, Chili, Argentina, Namibia and Australia. Being a Capricorn myself I couldn't resist the opportunity to have my picture taken.
Series part of Stillen
Gear used for this shot
Camera Nikon F4s
Shutter speed 1/60s
Lens Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 AF
Film Ilford FP4 plus
Developer Ilford DD-X
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