What crazy photographer would take pictures of a sunset in black and white? Colours delight and even mesmerise the viewer. They are addictive. Some photographers, though, have gone off the beaten path to make unforgettable images of sunsets sans the colours everyone is used to.

The following three photos (with my annotations in italics) are a testament to the power of black & white in the hands of a skilled photographer. Click on the images for a larger view.

Sunset, Kapiti Island, no date
Photo by James Walter Chapman-Taylor (New Zealander, 1878–1958)
Courtesy of the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa

The photographer opted to leave out the solar orb and focus on the broad expanse of water reflecting the dying light of day. The sea is calm, but the ripples convey a sense of forward rhythmic movement. The shadowy row of trees on the shore serves to frame the majestic view while hinting at the coming of night.

Sunset over Banks Lake and Steamboat Rock with man fishing in foreground, October 31, 1952
Lawrence Denny Lindsley (American, 1878–1975
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections Division
NOTE: Image is republished by Marine Café Blog under the Fair Use principle.

A tangle of clouds makes up the upper half of this photo. In the lower half, the sky is mirrored by the lake but is transformed from a state of confusion to one of absolute calm. Reinforcing the quietude of the landscape is the solitary figure of a fisherman at the bottom of the picture.

Sunset in the Royal Gorge, Colorado, c. 1901
Photo by William Henry Jackson (American, 1843–1942)
Detroit Publishing Co., publisher
Courtesy of the Library of Congress, USA

This striking photo would have wowed the great landscape photographer, Ansel Adams. Light from the setting sun streams down to accentuate the rugged and timeless beauty of the Royal Gorge. The word “dramatic” is overused, but it is apropos in this instance.

~ Barista Uno

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