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Black-and-white images capture the power of summer storms

By dpreview staff on Sep 2, 2013 at 01:00 GMT

Summer in North America means severe weather for much of the continent. Powerful storms are usually accompanied by unusual cloud formations, tell-tale signs of the violent weather patterns that spawn turbulent weather. Photographer Mitch Dobrowner and guide Roger Hill have spent the past few summers traveling the interior of the US on the lookout for foul weather, and creating inspiring black-and-white images in the process. 

Photo by Mitch Dobrowner.
Photo by Mitch Dobrowner.
Photo by Mitch Dobrowner.

Do you enjoy shooting in tough conditions? Remember you can share images in the galleries section of our site, and in the forums

Via: Wired, Source: Mitch Dobrowner

Comments

Total comments: 73
calking
By calking (7 months ago)

For those who prefer this subject genre in color by another talented photographer:

http://intotherfd.deviantart.com/

0 upvotes
bosco1955
By bosco1955 (7 months ago)

Thakur Dalip Singh, I think Dobrowner has had a DSLR infrared conversion .... http://www.lifepixel.com

0 upvotes
Darbkins
By Darbkins (7 months ago)

Fabulous images!

0 upvotes
Marcos Molina
By Marcos Molina (7 months ago)

Great meteorological opportunities thanks to being in a land particularly prone to this phenomena. Very nicely accomplished compositions.

But as a result of abusing too much of the 'structure' tool in either Viveza or Silver Efex (Nik software plugins) to exaggerate the microcontrast of the clouds' textures, these images turn up to show totally unreal sceneries.

1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (7 months ago)

people just do it especially when they are not satisfied or have no confidence. I do it sometimes, too. then it triggers me that I better give it a rest.

0 upvotes
Marcos Molina
By Marcos Molina (7 months ago)

Yes, exactly, me too, but this is something one has to learn, like training one's vision and other subtle aspects of photography that can lead you to a better artist and keep you away from mediocrity.

Comment edited 40 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (7 months ago)

a good example is Mona Lisa.

it has color but not vivid (maybe a bit brigther when new),
it's no low angle, no wide angle, just a standard portait lens.
it looks flat, balanced with no dynamic lines or shapes,
it has great artistic depth that we can never reach the end.

in the contrary, high microcontrast often means shallow.

Comment edited 12 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Thakur Dalip Singh
By Thakur Dalip Singh (7 months ago)

Great Images.
Did u shoot in color then convert to BxW or u shoot BxW in Digital cameras?
Which camera bodies?

0 upvotes
bosco1955
By bosco1955 (7 months ago)

I love this black and white IR look.

1 upvote
PeterFree
By PeterFree (7 months ago)

Excellent work! What a brilliant photographer! What a pleasure to see!

0 upvotes
Camediadude
By Camediadude (7 months ago)

Bravo for sharing it Dpreview. These photos will haunt my dreams. Unbelievable.

0 upvotes
saphotographer
By saphotographer (7 months ago)

Those black and white are just gorgeous. I would love to be on a tornado chasing crew to capture those kinds of images.

0 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (7 months ago)

And he's got even better pictures on his website: http://www.mitchdobrowner.com/

1 upvote
ChipTz
By ChipTz (7 months ago)

amazing!

1 upvote
Paul_B Midlands UK
By Paul_B Midlands UK (7 months ago)

Bring it on yabokie show ure hand, in colour

0 upvotes
Hugo808
By Hugo808 (7 months ago)

Excellent, especially the last one!

1 upvote
CarVac
By CarVac (7 months ago)

I'm not sure I like the particular tonemapping algorithm used, especially on the first photo. There are halos visible.

Striking captures, yes, but I think the post processing needs a little more work.

1 upvote
jkrumm
By jkrumm (7 months ago)

How in the world do you make out halos on such a small image on a computer screen?

2 upvotes
unknown member
By (unknown member) (7 months ago)

There are no halos. That is the way such storm clouds like when backlit with bright light.

1 upvote
Vladik
By Vladik (7 months ago)

He probably blew it up 400% :D

0 upvotes
CarVac
By CarVac (7 months ago)

I don't mean the pixel-width halos, I mean big honkin' ones that are 5-10 pixels wide on this scale.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (7 months ago)

these photos are often shot through windows of a car, some with uv shield, and wet air/rain/hail may also contribute to the halos.

Comment edited 56 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
PeterFree
By PeterFree (7 months ago)

Perhaps there are aliens in there too! :)

0 upvotes
Tee1up
By Tee1up (7 months ago)

Great images though everything like this seems to be an homage to Ansel Adams. Any time I tinker with B&W I feel like I am just riding along on his shoulders.

1 upvote
Wye Photography
By Wye Photography (7 months ago)

Excellent pictures and lovely website. I would love to go storm chasing in the US (feel really really grieved at the people who loose their homes, that is terrible). Storms in Blightly are well, just awful.

0 upvotes
unknown member
By (unknown member) (7 months ago)

It's just nature doing its thing. Everyone that lives in the interior of America knows something like that can happen.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (7 months ago)

it's easy to take the photos just like stage shows only we are not invited with place and time printed on a card.

would recommend the west (Oklahoma-Dakota) where you can drive fast to escape and less house debris that can penetrate your car easily (sheet steel becomes sheet paper).

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Langusta
By Langusta (7 months ago)

Kudos!
Some really stirring shots

0 upvotes
aarif
By aarif (7 months ago)

I prefer color for this type of photograhy

0 upvotes
unknown member
By (unknown member) (7 months ago)

I think it works both ways.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (7 months ago)

we prefer colors because that's the way we see the world. but it may attract our eyes when we see something awkwardly different (low angle, wide angle, vivid/no color, etc.) and this is a trick often used by people who may have problems otherwise.

monochrome, 2D and still, all these are temporary formats of presentations that we use not from artists point of view but because of technical limitations.

using available technologies, we develop and perfect languages of expressions before we can overcome the limitations and move on.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (7 months ago)

> low angle, wide angle, vivid/no color, etc.

of course people have the right to use them, often for an audience with little knowledge of photography.

0 upvotes
Biowizard
By Biowizard (7 months ago)

Amazing images! And perfectly suited to high-contrast B&W presentation.

0 upvotes
Kodachrome200
By Kodachrome200 (7 months ago)

gorgeous

0 upvotes
Lukino
By Lukino (7 months ago)

Beauty of the images and laugh from few pointless comments really made my day.

3 upvotes
InTheMist
By InTheMist (7 months ago)

Awesome, powerful images!

0 upvotes
unknown member
By (unknown member) (7 months ago)

Awesome post but all three of those photographs shown, and every other one on the photographer's site under "Storms," is of American extreme weather, not Canadian, Mexican, Nicaraguan, or any other country on the continent. Since that is the case why are you mentioning the continent??

Sorry, but the increasingly common habit of referring to the continent every time something America specific is mentioned is getting very old, and annoying. People that write for a living should not be making such obvious mistakes.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Sloan Cranky
By Sloan Cranky (7 months ago)

Sorry Basalite, but your country is the United States, not America. The continent is called North America; the U.S. cannot hijack the name 'America' as its own. And while these pictures are within the U.S. borders, rest assured we in Canada get some awesome clouds too. But of course, everything is better south of the border....

9 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (7 months ago)

it's Confederacy plus Kansas something (fried chicken).

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
wherearemyshorts
By wherearemyshorts (7 months ago)

Eventually you get so far south you can only go north.

1 upvote
steveh0607
By steveh0607 (7 months ago)

The name of the country is The United States of America. So saying America is shorthand for USA.

No one would think the word America refers to El Salvador.

0 upvotes
Lukino
By Lukino (7 months ago)

The name of the country is The United States of America.
No one would think the word "America" refers to El Salvador.
No one would think the words "United States" refers to Indonesia.
No one would think the word "States" refers to matter.
No one would think the word "United" refers to Manchester FC.
No one would think the word "The" refers to French Earl Gray blend.

Comment edited 36 seconds after posting
1 upvote
unknown member
By (unknown member) (7 months ago)

"Sorry Basalite, but your country is the United States, not America."

The only people that I have run into that make such a silly comment are those that are simply anti-American. The name of the country is the United States of America, or simply America, just as it is the case for the United States of Mexico, or simply Mexico. That has always been the case.

"The continent is called North America; the U.S. cannot hijack the name 'America' as its own."

When did I say the continent wasn't called "North America?" The story is of pictures taken in America, the country. A country that has always had that name.

"And while these pictures are within the U.S. borders, rest assured we in Canada get some awesome clouds too.

So? That has nothing to do with the geographical and editorial mistakes of this article. Fact is, no pictures were taken in Canada.

"But of course, everything is better south of the border...."

You're showing your anti-Americanism, as I suspected.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
arieswar
By arieswar (7 months ago)

was the photo taken using IR filter?

0 upvotes
Stefan M
By Stefan M (7 months ago)

Thought the same. The "color" of the trees look like if that's the case. Anyway, good results.

0 upvotes
unknown member
By (unknown member) (7 months ago)

I don't think any of them were taken with an IR filter.

0 upvotes
Swaleck
By Swaleck (7 months ago)

Love the drama in these images, well done !

0 upvotes
Ettishole
By Ettishole (7 months ago)

Incredible detail on the last photo! Right down to contrast with the tree on the bottom left.

0 upvotes
Rod McD
By Rod McD (7 months ago)

Thanks for posting these images - very spectacular, and well rendered. We rarely see anything in our part of the world (South Australia) quite like the cloud formations North America regularly experiences. I guess that sometimes there's some comfort in that......

0 upvotes
unknown member
By (unknown member) (7 months ago)

The vast majority of such extreme weather occurs in America, not in the rest of the continent. In fact, all three of the pictures shown, including every other single one under "Storms" at the photographer's web site were taken in America. Why the author is saying North America makes absolutely no sense considering those obvious facts.

0 upvotes
Jákup
By Jákup (7 months ago)

I think that it's only people living in USA, that think America referes to there country.

It's good that the author is more specific and says North America. Cause then people like myself, that are not from USA, know what the author is saying.

0 upvotes
dale thorn
By dale thorn (7 months ago)

Black and White makes very effective images of dynamic conditions like these. Color seems to reduce contrast in certain ways - not saying there can't be a very dynamic color image, but when the term 'stark' applies as in the stark rawness of power these storms display, black and white strips away the fluff and delivers the goods. Most violent weather as seen here tends toward black and white (or shades of grey), due to the inherent color of clouds etc. Rare is the cloud with color, except at sunrise and sunset where the color isn't a property of the cloud anyway.

5 upvotes
steelhead3
By steelhead3 (7 months ago)

Pretty dynamic photos, I love the depth B&W give them.

1 upvote
reginalddwight
By reginalddwight (7 months ago)

Good work, but Jim Reed remains the king of storm chasers IMO.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (7 months ago)

basically black-and-white photos are those that were not composed well.

0 upvotes
whitecue
By whitecue (7 months ago)

could you elaborate on that?

0 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (7 months ago)

Have you ever made a positive comment? Even once?

10 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (7 months ago)

it's a positive comment if the photographer could show us better ones next time or you can simply search image "Oklahoma storm."

or video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwxKFHZigRw
it may be a great idea to have black-and-white rainbows.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 11 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
itchhh
By itchhh (7 months ago)

To pull off a great B&W is far more difficult than color in my opion.

5 upvotes
daddyo
By daddyo (7 months ago)

I think if you visit his website, that will pretty much negate your shortsighted comment. Be sure to look carefully at his list of awards. Then you can return, give us your opinion and provide a list of your awards. :-)

3 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (7 months ago)

okay, I love DPReview only.

recently they had an article "bad weather makes great photo" but the photos are not impressive at all, while the beautiful Irish scenes at CarstenKrieger.co.uk are better.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
unknown member
By (unknown member) (7 months ago)

"basically black-and-white photos are those that were not composed well."

That makes no sense.

3 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (7 months ago)

black-and-white means technical incapability, either equipment or human.

we do see "black-and-white" in dark adapted vision with very poor image quality so I won't say it's absolutely wrong.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Ben Horne
By Ben Horne (7 months ago)

Wasn't there a TV show where people would track down users who left horrible anonymous comments on internet forums, then interview them to see what was going on with them psychologically? If not, there really should be.

5 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (7 months ago)

horrible or not it depends on mostly who you are,
the psychological state of the reader.

0 upvotes
Ferling
By Ferling (7 months ago)

@ YaBLAHkie. I've been shooting black and white since Navy Photo-school in '83. I never knew in all my 30 years of shooting that Black and White was an inferior format.

All kidding aside. I happened to check out your stats, and you have over 2000 postings and only 2 likes. You are one messed up puppy.

I got you flagged. Got get some help, son.

0 upvotes
rb59020
By rb59020 (7 months ago)

Ansel Adams was a rank amateur. - yabokkie

0 upvotes
Paul_B Midlands UK
By Paul_B Midlands UK (7 months ago)

Which planet are you from?

1 upvote
Wye Photography
By Wye Photography (7 months ago)

So, are you saying that Ansel Adams was a crap photographer? Or is the comment a case of negligent discharge of mouth?

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (7 months ago)

I'd like to concentrate on the issue instead of specific individuals, Ansel Adams or whoever are free to do what they like (there could be good explanation for that).

some people believe too much in "was vernünftig ist , das ist wirklich existence" that they might forget they got a brain, too.

0 upvotes
Wye Photography
By Wye Photography (7 months ago)

Oh! Yabokkie san, you haven't posted anything to your galleries. I wonder why? Come on, show us how it is done!

0 upvotes
Karroly
By Karroly (7 months ago)

@yabokkie,
One of the reasons to shoot in B&W is to focus picture viewers on the light...rather than the colors, because some scenes have an interesting light or shades of grey but less interesting colors. In this case, shooting in B&W allows to get rid of these unwanted colors and make the light or shades of grey more visible. If you do not understand that, maybe you are not a good observer of the light ? A prerequisite to be a good photographer...

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (7 months ago)

> to focus picture viewers on the light...rather than the colors

so you agree what I said people escape to B&W because there are some problems, think it is a convenient hideout.

> maybe you are not a good observer of the light ? A prerequisite to be a good photographer...

we don't have to escape to personal assault when failed to make a point, do we?

Comment edited 5 times, last edit 11 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Total comments: 73