I was inspired by a few photographers I follow (here, here, and here) to try my hand at black and white landscape photography. The closest place for me to practise landscape photography is the valley just behind my apartment complex, called Rock Island Valley. I just wanted to walk up and down the valley and make a few test pictures at first, so I left the tripod at home, stuck a 50mm lens on the D810, and set the ISO to 1600 because it was quite an overcast day. In just an hour I had forty-odd photos on the SD card and I hadn’t even gone up into the hills. I am pleased that there are so many things to photograph just a few minutes’ walk from the apartment. I didn’t meet any people at all while on my walk, which suits me just fine.

Rock Island Valley. Bridge and Path. 2019

This path will take you up into a hill where there are some lovely woods, tombs, and even deer. This was a low contrast scene so I did some dodging and burning to make the bridge and path stand out more. I made this on a heavily overcast day, and I think it’ll be better if I return on a brighter overcast day. I’ll bring more lenses and a tripod to see if I can’t find a nicer angle.

Rock Island Valley. Trees. 2019

I used a green filter effect on the camera to lighten up the foliage in contrast to the brown tree trunk and branches. Again, I think that returning to this spot with a tripod and some more concentration will get me some good photos of this tree. I should have lightened up that little background patch in the upper left hand corner. Next time!

Rock Island Valley. Crockery. 2019

I found these bowls and pots at the edge of an orchard. I have no idea why they might be there.

Although these photos were all made at ISO 1600, they are quite clean. You can see noise/’grain’ if you look carefully in the out-of-focus areas of the photos, but it’s not more than you’d find in ISO 50 or ISO 100 black and white film. And it’s possible that the high ISO gives the photos some nice character. I’ll have to compare with ISO 64 when I go up the valley again. Which I hope is soon!

5 thoughts on “Rock Island Valley

  1. Looks like a nice place for a good old walk in the hills, Marcus. Great \”hands-on\” information about your thoughts on the snapping and the post processing as well. Oh, and thanks for spreading the link as well 🙂


  2. Nice shots, Marcus and some subtle dodging&burning on that first one – I couldn't have told it was touched at all. I think a lot of us shoot film for the grain so I think you might be right about the higher ISO giving the shots 'character'. It's a fine line, of course – too much and you end up looking at the grain/noise rather than the subject, which is not really what we want. Oh – and thanks for the link also…


  3. And I meant to say, that footbridge made me smile. It reminds me of one I made to cross the stream at the end of our field about 15 years ago. It didn't last long before it broke up and it was always a heart-in-the-mouth moment when I crossed it. Not that it was dangerous – wet boots would have probably been the worst outcome possible, but still, sufficient to focus my attention for those few seconds crossing it.


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