Seeing Nichols Arboretum in black and white
“You see things in black and white,” is not usually meant as a compliment. But sometimes I do see the world that way, like during a walk I took in late November through Nichols Arboretum. Nature’s palette at the hinge of fall and winter can be both stunningly colorful and stark in its contrasts of light and shadow. It was the contrasting tones that drew my attention on this crisp Saturday morning, evoking familiar feelings that I hoped to convey in these photographs.
Later that day that I reflected on the source of those feelings, which drew me to Ansel Adams: An Autobiography. Adams, a master of black-and-white photography wrote, “I constantly return to the elements of nature that surrounded me in childhood, to both the vision and the mood. More than seventy years later I can visualize certain photographs I might make today as equivalents of those early experiences.”
Growing up in a small town in western Michigan in the 1950s, I was just a short walk or bike ride away from the woods and water that surrounded my community and were part of daily life. These days when I am absent from “the vision and the mood” of my childhood I experience the “nature deprivation disorder” to which Nichols Arboretum and other area parks are an antidote. And it was that childhood feeling I was seeking to capture in these black-and-white images I brought home that day.