Cee’s Black and White Challenge: What is Beautiful to You

As a child, I sat in barber shops and doctors’ offices scouring the pages of Life magazine looking at photographs, reading stories, transporting myself to other worlds for brief moments. I fell in love with B&W photography and it has lead me to a creative outlet that is limitless, thanks in part to Steve Jobs.

30 years ago I shot, developed and printed my own B&W film. These days I can use my iPhone (thank you, Steve) and a few apps to achieve in minutes what used to take me a day to do in a darkroom and there are no toxic chemicals involved.

I took the photo below at the San Francisco Theological Seminary late one afternoon using the MPro app and its Infrared filter. I love, love, love the black sky (in case you haven’t guessed by now). My friend, Egmont (The iPhone Arts), showed me this app last July when a group of us went on a photosafari at Fort Point. MPro gives the photographer a number of manual control options including shooting in uncompressed .TIFF format, as I did in this photo.

For me, this photo is a combination of timing, location, tools and inspiration. Enjoy.

Black Sky
© Allan G. Smorra, All Rights Reserved




  17 comments for “Cee’s Black and White Challenge: What is Beautiful to You

  1. October 10, 2014 at 7:51 AM

    It took a while for me to recognize the building. Because how you transformed it. Did you in the app or edit in t? Thanks for the lesson.


    • October 10, 2014 at 11:17 AM

      I used SnapSeed to make a slight adjustment to the exposure on the stone.


  2. October 9, 2014 at 8:11 PM

    I love the black sky too!!- and the angle- fantastic shot!


    • October 10, 2014 at 7:29 AM

      Thanks. I like your images of Edinburgh this week and your masterful use of composition and exposure.


      • October 10, 2014 at 8:46 AM

        you’re welcome and thanks for visiting me too!!- and your wonderful comment! I too love infrared. Your work is really interesting and unique!! I’ll be back!


      • October 10, 2014 at 11:18 AM

        I’ll be here following you, now. Thanks.


  3. October 9, 2014 at 5:46 PM

    I can see why you fell in love with B&W. I’ve always enjoyed it myself, but that sky takes B&W to another level.


    • October 9, 2014 at 5:51 PM

      Thank you for your kind words. I discovered the infrared filter in MPro the day that I took this photo and have used it many times since then.


      • October 9, 2014 at 5:55 PM

        Checked it out. Only two reviews. Not very promising according to them, but it is only two. I’m guessing you wouldn’t agree. I might rake a chance. Sometimes it’s easier to shell out $40,0000 for a vehicle than it is to spend $1.99 on an app. What?!?!?!


      • October 9, 2014 at 5:59 PM

        You are exactly right about spending the money on an app. It is even harder to throw them out if we don’t like them anymore, even though we wouldn’t think twice about discarding old magazines that cost 2 to 3 times as much.

        It is a puzzle, that’s for sure.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. October 9, 2014 at 2:02 PM

    That’s a killer sky. It makes for a creepy image.


  5. October 9, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    Fab, I loooove that sky!


  6. October 9, 2014 at 8:31 AM

    Stunningly beautiful and it works so very well in black and white. Thanks Alan.

    Liked by 1 person

Questions? Comments? Let's talk...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: