Black and White’s Enough for Me

I headed for the beach Friday because I plan on heading to Eastern Washington and Eastern Oregon next week, and I didn’t want to completely miss the Spring migration. Unfortunately, the sunshine in Tacoma when I left was the only sunshine I saw.

As a photographer, I’m all too aware that the bright sunshine can make a mediocre picture a good one and a good picture a great one, but if you live in the Pacific Northwest you learn to appreciate the subtle shades of grey that dominate here.

In other words, this gray picture of a gray and white Willet resonates with me in ways it might not to viewers from sunnier parts of the country,

Willet On a Gray Day

and the same can be said for this shot of a Brown Pelican lumbering just above the waves like some ancient ship.

Brown Pelican

Even the birds I got close enough to that I would have been able to capture their native colors were black and white, like this Pigeon Guillemot.

Pigeon Guillemot

At first I was frustrated with the shots of this bird because they all looked fuzzy, but when I looked closely I could see several drops of water in sharp detail. Apparently there’s something about the bird’s plumage that make it appear dull and fuzzy.

My main goal on the trip was to see loons, a bird I rarely see locally. They were everywhere, but usually so far out that even a 1000mm (a 500mm lens with a doubler) lens couldn’t get a decent shot. I spent nearly two hours in Westport trying to get close to one and was finally rewarded with this shot, so close I had a hard time getting it in the frame.

Common Loon in Breeding Colors

Rain or not, I would have been thrilled with the day if I hadn’t managed to get a single shot because I just love seeing loons, particularly one so close I could have reached out and touched it if I’d wanted to.

8 thoughts on “Black and White’s Enough for Me”

  1. Fine series of grey day images. The pelican is my favorite. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a pelican, much less up close.

    The Willet photo would make a beautiful book cover.

    I was shocked this morning at how bright the light was at 5:30, even with the cloud cover.

  2. I agree. That shot of the willet is terrific, and just shy of excellent, but for that odd seashell fragment that interrpts the reflection of his bill. It’s the NEXT shot that takes first prize: that pelican is really good, his wings hiked around him
    and his flight seeming so effortless he could have been propelled from a slingshot.

  3. Loren, these photos seem to me to range from the excellent to the awesome. I hardly dare begin in enumerating the pleasures they give, but I will say that ending with the loon was inspired, and inspiring. So beautiful. Thank you!

  4. Loved the last picture… but oh dear oh dear, I can never get over the north american name for the magnificent Great Northern Diver!

  5. I loved the next-to-last picture, the bird with the bright red feet and the reflection that shone green.

  6. Love your “black and white” photographs. The loon is amazing! Am just catching up here and enjoying all your wonderful photos. We spent the weekend at our cabin for the first time this season and saw the trillium are blooming already, and all the ferns are popping up.

  7. a little late to the pile, but I too love the pelican, in a group that is all terrific. thanks. kjm

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