Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – You Pick It

This week’s photo challenge is my choice. Tina’s comment on the subject is simply, “This week it’s all up to you – you get to choose your subject and to share whatever it is about it that you find interesting.” You can read her entire challenge post and view her impressionistic images here.

Since working with my first images as black-and-white prints in high school photography class (over 50 years ago now,) I have appreciated monochrome photography. For my challenge-response, I choose black-and-white photography. I hope you enjoy a few of my favorite monochrome images.

My opening photo features a view of the White Tank Mountains near our home in Buckeye, Arizona. It was one of three images of mine that was selected to be mounted and displayed in the White Tank Mountain Nature Center as the outcome of a black-and-white photo contest sponsored by the park conservators.

Wet streets always make interesting reflective surfaces. On an otherwise dry evening, a 10-minute rain shower over Music Row in Nashville, Tennessee caused us to run into a doorway to keep dry.

The image above is a panorama featuring the iconic Mittens and Merrick’s Butte in Monument Valley. In northeastern Arizona in the Navajo Nation, Monument Valley was host to seven motion pictures directed by John Ford. Ford’s first movie in Monument Valley, released in 1939, was Stagecoach, followed by My Darling Clementine (1946), Fort Apache (1948), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), The Searchers (1956), Sergeant Rutledge (1960), and Cheyenne Autumn (1964). The first three of this stellar movie list were filmed in black-and-white.

I don’t do a lot of portrait photography, but at a family gathering a few years ago, I found a shady tree with a pleasing background, used a fill flash, and captured a few portraits. This one was the only black-and-white conversion I made, the inspiration came from the fact that both ladies were wearing black-and-white print dresses.

Canyonlands National Park in Utah features many canyon overlooks, but if I were to pick a favorite, it would be Shafer Canyon. The road in the valley creates a leading line that allows the viewer’s eyes to wander through the image.

In Rocky Mountain National Park, Sprague Lake on a chilly November day became the subject of a black-and-white conversion partly because of the unusual cloud formation that seemed to begin over those two peaks on the left.

My final image features a diorama at the Denver Nature and Science Museum. For those interested in viewing taxidermy specimens in a recreated natural environment, the museum is a treasure with many dioramas that make for great photography (if you can avoid catching the reflections off the protective glass display fronts.)

Thanks again to Tina for letting us choose our own subjects this week. I’m already looking for next week’s images in the Alphabet Challenge, the Letter ‘A’.

John Steiner



  1. Beautiful B&Ws John – congrats on being chosen for the nature center, how fun! Loved the Nashville shot and thought your final image was a live bighorn for sure!! Terrific choice for the challenge.

  2. Beautiful choices, John! B&W can be so great – yours are terrific. I was totally fooled and believed the last one was a real life! Well done. And then I have a soft spot for wet streets – love your Nashville capture! Sometimes I like rain too…

  3. WOWWW! Great monochromes (and sepia tints) John! Every single one. White Tank Mountain has great textures, contrasts, shadow and shades. Superb photo. LOVE Nashville, Canyonlands (one of my favorite annual haunts, back in the day), Monument Valley. Great people shot. Love the ‘in your face’ mountain goat. Excellent!!

  4. I liked your Monument Valley and Canyonlands shots in particular, John. We didn’t quite make it as far south as Monument Valley on our tour of parks in neighboring Utah. Maybe on a future trip…

  5. Beautiful black and white images John! Black and white is a favorite of mine. I usually do a quick conversion in Lightroom to see if a picture would work in black and white.

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