november in b&w

The Gray Fossil Museum

Sunday we went to the Gray Fossil Museum to see some old bones. The site was discovered in May 2000 and is the largest-ever tapir fossil find.

This is a fossilized tapir noggin. Tapirs don't look nearly so big on Go, Diego, Go!

v gray fossil site 061

And this is V giving the tapir a smooch.

v gray fossil site 063

Unfortunately, it was right around this time that V decided she needed to run through the museum at break-neck speed and check the quality of the echoes in the emptier rooms.

But I stopped and took a photo of the red panda fossil on our way out. Angry looking little fellow, isn't he?

v gray fossil site 109

So we hung out by the fountain outside so that it might feel like we'd actually done something with our time. Didn't work, but at least we tried.

v gray fossil site 129

And V had a chance to expend some of that boundless energy of hers.

v gray fossil site 151

And play with some turtles.

v gray fossil site 155

Which is really all she wanted to do anyway.

v gray fossil site 177


I'm taking all black and white photos in November and you're welcome to join me! For more lovely b&w photos, visit Alexis for what must be lower calorie cakes, Kristen for a beautiful dandelion and more,  Gayle for pinecones and a sweet childhood memory, Toni for a boy and his mom, Cloudscome's kitty cat, and Howard for two photos of alleys in Singapore's Little India.

Shutter Sisters / Superhero Challenge

I read Shutter Sisters every day and so I always see the superhero photo challenge, but I almost never go out and take the photo. When I saw the latest challenge on Friday - to take a picture of a leaf from the leaf's perspective - I thought it'd be great to do because of the whole black & white thing. I was a little worried that I couldn't take a picture of leaves on the ground in b&w and have it turn out looking like leaves, so it sounded like a good challenge to me.

Out of about 40 photos I took, here are the two that I liked the most.

leaves in b&w 1

I did what Maiz suggested in the comments of this post and used a few different adjustment layers, including the hue/saturation layer to give it a very slight green tone. Can you see it?

leaves in b&w 2

I think they look like leaves. What do you think? I really like the crazy shadows of the grass and the funky sunspot at the bottom in the second picture.

If you'd like to see more lovely b&w photos, check out Sarah's photos from the park, Alex's sweet little kitty cat, Kristen's gorgeous leaves and reflections, Toni's not-quite-b&w-but-close-enough photo of Lake Coeur d'Alene. Wonderful photos! Y'all are really inspiring me. Anyone else want to join in? Feel free - just let me know!

Lazy Sunday

This is Grace. She's a plush lapcat extraordinaire.

lazy sunday grace 004

This is how I feel today. Like sleeping all day.

lazy sunday grace 007

I'm sure perk up after some coffee (which R just brought me a nice, big mug of. ah!) and the best buttermilk pancakes I know how to make.


For more beautiful black and white photos, go with Cloudscome on a walk through the neighborhood, say good morning to ELK's shadow, or spend a moment in remembrance with Robin.

I forgot my mittens

Check the new header - see it up there? There's a quote from a song in it. From now until November 3rd at 10pm EST, you can email me at springtreeroad (at) yahoo (dot) com with your guess as to the title and artist of the song. I'll choose one at random out of all the correct entries and the winner can have an 8x10 print of your choice of any photo from my flickr photostream (with the exception of any pictures of my family). On Tuesday, go vote (if you live in the US) and then check with me here where I'll announce the winner.

Now, if you're playing along with the November in black & white project, whenever you post a photo on your blog that is in b&w, leave me a comment on my most current post, or email me, with a link to your post. I will post a link to your post in my next post. Please have fun with it! This shouldn't cause you any stress or strife in this holiday season! Maybe you've had an idea for a b&w photo for a while - now's your chance to make it happen. Maybe you just wonder what a certain subject would look like in b&w, like green peppers or candlelight - explore that! And people in b&w? Awesome!

Here are my first three b&ws for the month. I took these all on my trip to Georgia, just to get a feel for what this month is going to be like (though any other photos I post here this month will be taken in this month). 

At the gas station:

vb GA 4 V BD 027

I was shooting in color and getting some fun bokeh through the rainy windshield of our car from the lights at the gas station next door, so I decided to see what it would look like in black and white.

A thicket at my dad's house:

vb GA 4 V BD 107

I like the contrast between the trees at the front and all the growth in the back. Looks so much more serious and moody than it did in color.


vb GA 4 V BD 110

This one is my favorite. The leaves were a really dark green and it had been raining so they were still a little wet - makes them look almost metallic.

For each of these photos, I opened them in Photoshop CS and adjusted the levels to make them more dramatic. Beyond that, I wasn't sure what to do with them. If anyone has any good tips or finds a good tutorial on processing b&w photos in Photoshop (or whatever software you use), please let me know and I'll post that too. I've been meaning to look for some info myself, but haven't had time yet.

Happy November! It's my favorite month of the year - it's my birthday month, which is on Thanksgiving Day this year. Yay! I love it when my whole family has the day off for my birthday.

I hope we all have some fun with this and that next month, colors seem even more vibrant than before.

November in b&w

Since two or three people have expressed interest (that's roughly double what I thought it'd be. har har.) in my monthlong November black and white photography project, I thought I'd go ahead and make a button and a spot to link to people who would like to join in. So feel free to take the button above and put it on your site, linking to this link exactly, which will contain all the posts for this project as the month progresses.

There aren't really any rules. My plan is to put my camera in b&w mode on November 1st and change it back to normal on December 1st. So every photo I post here in the month of November will be in black and white. If you want to play, I would prefer that you put your camera in black & white mode (since that's half the fun), but I'm not going to complain if you convert a particularly nice color photo to b&w. Don't feel you have to spend the whole of November in b&w, but if you want to play along at any point in the month, create a post on your blog with your b&w photos, then either leave me a comment or send me an email at springtreeroad (at) yahoo (dot) com with a link to your post. I will link to your post in my next post and put a general link to your blog in my sidebar.

All the fun starts November 1st (not before! I'm not ready yet!!).