Some Monochrome Madness – Florida Style


Any who have been out to sea on vessels large or small
know those days of natural near monotone sea and sky. Times when
the horizon is barely perceptible and despite dark clouds
and cast shadows there is blinding white brightness and brilliant
water shine.

I enjoy delving into the world of monochrome images from time to time, whether pure black and white, sepia or any other mono-toning choice. Sometimes the natural contrasts and textures of an image cry out to be toyed with in this fashion and other times it is a trial and error experiment in conveying mood just to see what can be made of a thing. Leanne Cole in her beautiful and educational blog has been encouraging photographers of all experience levels to remember the values of black and white and to see what may be done with an image with that in mind through her weekly Monochrome Madness posts. Just an encouragement to play a little with those nuances in our often over saturated world of digitally enhanced color. In can be beautiful and it can also tire the mind and senses. So remembering the textures of black and white without the distraction of color can enrich our perceptions of textures and shapes we barely acknowledge when enjoying the brilliance of color. For this reason, as we all need reasons and deadlines, I wanted to participate in Leanne’s project with a few monochrome contributions.

These are some I played with from various boat rides around south Florida two of which I shared on Monochrome Madness. So check out Leanne’s blog here and enjoy. Her low light, slow shutter speed color images are quite amazing and her area of Melbourne, Australia offers so much in interesting natural and man-made architectures.  Any who have not yet done so, do check out her site!


This is one is a contribution to Leanne Cole's 
Monochrome Madness. I liked the stillness of it yet with the
hidden power as the cloud formation builds. We have
great clouds in Florida.



This contribution to Monochrome Madness was under the
theme of Motion. I thought is a double whammy with the speeding
wake and the windswept clouds. Never a dull moment in sea or sky
boating around South Florida.


This swirling mass of clouds was interesting to shoot, but full
of the kind of potential that has you thinking of ways to 
direct your vessel to avoid any direct consequences. The limited clear
 space ultimately closed in. It was a great day on the water though.


Thanks Leanne for an excuse to play with some black and white clouds.


~ by Judy on May 21, 2017.

14 Responses to “Some Monochrome Madness – Florida Style”

  1. Judy, Nice review of the B/W-monochrome options that exist within what our eyes routinely see in color. During my years on the lush tropical island of Saipan, there were many days when the bright sun and abundant clouds produced a monochrome image because the colors were overwhelmed. I expect the same will be found high in the cajas of Ecuador. Just need to figure out how to be in the right place at the right time. Being without my own car might be inconvenient in this search!

    • Lack of independent transportation can certainly slow down exploration! Yeah I was thinking after I wrote about the view from vessels, that the same is true of ocean views from atop a small island in the Pacific. Something vast about the contrasts of sea and sky viewed away from city buildings or obscuring landscapes. I love it when there is no separation between sea and sky, only not sure I would from an airplane.

  2. Every one of these images, so powerful for being in black & white. But I particularly like the cloud (only, of course, I have to see animals in it!). The collection has given me inspiration to try similar (once I’ve caught up with a backlog of processing . . . )

    • Oh absolutely, you will find experimenting with monochrome images will give a completely different evocative feel. Even working with the same image, you can go with high contrast looks and soft muted looks and change the mood each time. I suspect we all gravitate toward certain moods and end up with somewhat consistent styles after awhile. Seascapes are pretty forgiving since they have natural contrasts and interesting lighting from the get go. I find it important not to over do the detail or contrast though as it can turn what is soft and serene to harsh and unnatural. Always interesting to see where balance and tastes settle out.

  3. These are amazing photographs, Judy! The last one is quite haunting. Well done!

    • Oh, nice to get feed back on the last one. I have a variety of shots of those clouds some with my wide angle lens and some closer up. Wasn’t sure if the movement was good or lost in so much swirl. It made the sky and sea pretty dark for the time of day it was but with bright spots showing here and there. It was a stormy afternoon.

  4. Judy, these rank among the best monochrome photos I have seen posted. Just fabulous!

    • Truly appreciative of the great feedback on them. I enjoyed them all for different reasons ranging from shining bright contrasty like the first one to more understated like the lone cloud suspended over the water, to the swirl of the last one. Software gives us such a wild range of actions we can do with black and white images to show texture and emotion. A wonderful thing our digital darkroom!!

  5. You really do have great clouds Judy, fantastic atmosphere.

    • Living in a sub-tropical climate does produce dramatic clouds. But, then I suppose all that heat and uprising is why we are at risk for hurricanes too!! Good with bad!!

  6. These are fabulous. It occurs to me that monochrome treatment might rescue some cloudy-day-on-the-prairie photos that otherwise simply are boring and blah. That means learning how to process them, of course. Ah, well. You know how I am about that.

    In the meantime, I’ll enjoy yours. The wake of the boat is so dramatic. I’ve never seen anything like that, and I’m just sure there has to be a boating magazine somewhere that would love to publish it. (Hint, hint!)

    • LOL on the boat wake. I guess you are more used to sail boats than motor boats! Although here in Florida we have plenty of no wake zones to protect the manatees.

      It is true that sometimes an otherwise colorless or bland image will change completely in mood and interest as a black and white. I worked on a Great Blue Heron image one time that was in wonderful detail, end of day standing in the water in Merritt Island area. For some reason the color of the light was sickly to me. That picture made a wonderful black and white as the detail was there and the contrast was there to make it interesting. Definitely should play with a few images.

      Thanks for the nice comments on this group.

  7. Really fine photos – you are a great cloud-photographer!
    I LOVE the second photo – my favorite here!

    • OH thank you! I favor that second one as well. When I saw it from the boat, I just did like the shape and singularity of it and the stillness of the scene. We are lucky here in Florida to have spectacular clouds courtesy of our sub-tropical climate.

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