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A Study in Black and White

I love black and white photographs. The contrasts between the colors and the shades of grey draw me into the lair of the subject. As a matter of fact, the winner of the Digital Photography School’s best 2008 photo contest was a black and white picture.

Although shooting in black and white is somewhat new to me, I know my passion for it is matched by the greats—Ansel Adams, Brassei, Alfred Stieglitz, Henri Cartier-Bresson, etc. So my visit to the Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden located on the UCLA campus, put my black and white shots to the test.

On the right, The Nest, an outdoor classroom with semicircular bench seating, was constructed by the Garden staff and dedicated in1996 to the memory of Hazel (Lisa) Kath McMurran, a UCLA alumna.

Later that year a massive effort was undertaken to build new paths on the western side of The Garden.

The gently sloped paths and entrances provide access to The Nest and special collections to all visitors.

The concept of an outdoor classroom doubling as a rustic and artistic refuge is something we can all relate to. Who doesn’t want to get away from it all in the middle of a busy day, or in the middle of school or work?

The spiraling and effervescent limbs and branches of this tree are both inviting and a bit intimidating; asking its visitors to behold its magnificence while enabling you to seize your day.

Hopefully by Travelin’ Local your appreciation and enjoyment of life’s simple and satisfying offerings will oblige you to keep finding those sanctuaries that you enjoy; whether it be a black and white study in contrasts—or an afternoon get-a-way at U.C.L.A.’s botanical garden—or Travelin’ Local to your local favorite sanctuary.


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7 Comments on “A Study in Black and White”

  1. #1 Walk My World » Blog Archive » UCLA’s Mildred E. Mathias Garden in Black and White
    on Jan 17th, 2009 at 7:04 am

    [...] A Study in Black and White [...]

  2. #2 Lance
    on Jan 17th, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    Hi Lisa,
    I love the B&W look here - it’s something I like to experiment with when taking pictures, too. My favorite - the last one looking up in to the tree - like a web of branches intertwined…

    If I were to take a picture today…it would be white (as in snowy!)…

    Lance’s last blog post..This Is A Day Of Joy

  3. #3 LisaNewton
    on Jan 17th, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    I love to see pictures of snow. After living in the Midwest and East Coast for most of my life, I miss the look, but not the cold……………………:)

  4. #4 Evelyn Lim
    on Jan 18th, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    I love pictures in black and white too. The different shades of grey show up to make a picture. Strip away the color and we can see the intensity of what each part represents. I enjoyed your pictures of the trees and the branches. Great job!!

    Evelyn Lim’s last blog post..Mouths Are Flapping

  5. #5 Daphne
    on Jan 18th, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    Hi Lisa,

    I have always liked B&W photos. My favourite of your three photos was of the outdoor classroom. Without colour, I could focus on the light and it was beautiful to see the outline of every pebble and leaf on the ground. I felt very Zen just looking at the photo!

    Daphne’s last blog post..The Illusion of Right vs Wrong, Good vs Bad

  6. #6 Trey Baird
    on Jan 19th, 2009 at 12:10 am

    I enjoy black and white pictures too. I also enjoy black and white movies as well. There’s absolutely no other way I would have Night of The Living Dead, Clerks, or The Munsters. Black and white just lends itself to some forms of art in a way that color simply can’t. I think that it taps into the very root of our subconscious, away from the rods and cones of our eyeballs.

  7. #7 LisaNewton
    on Jan 19th, 2009 at 3:43 am

    @Evelyn Thank you. You’re so right about the shades of gray; just like life. Nothing is really black and white.

    @Daphne Zen is a great feeling to have.

    @Trey When they started colorizing films, I thought they were taking away part of the film. I totally agree with your black and white assessment.

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