Why Photographing The Grand Canyon in Black and White

The Grand Canyon is one of the most famous landscape sites in the world. It is also one of the most photographed. The list of superlatives is not long enough to describe it. Black and white is certainly the best photo technique to show the richness and variety of landscapes of this mythical place.

The South Rim of the the Grand Canyon in Arizona in United States.
The South Rim of the the Grand Canyon in Arizona in United States.

Out of the Ordinary

The Grand Canyon is in the north of the state of Arizona in the western United States.

The Grand Canyon is 450 kilometers long (279 miles). The average depth is 1300 meters (3900 feet) with a maximum depth of 1600 meters (4800 feet). It has been recognized as World Heritage since 1979.

When someone arrives on one of the rim of the Grand Canyon whether it's the first time or not, the sensation is always the same. Gigantism gives an impression of vertigo. The breath is cut. The eyes are wide in front of the show.

It is a dive in time because all geological layers reveal unique and extraordinary colors. The Colorado River took thousands of years to dig the rock to make its way through the colorful rocks. It continues to meander into the abyssal depths of the canyon. Its typical green color offers a striking contrast to the red colors lining the vertiginous walls.

The Grand Canyon is Handsome

The Grand Canyon is certainly not the largest canyon in the world. Others are deeper and bigger like those in Peru or in China.

But what is certain is that the Grand Canyon is beautiful. Its landscapes offer a magnificent harmony of colors and shapes. The Colorado River has taken its time to carve it and make it so desirable to the spectators.

The beauty of the landscapes are certainly the best assets of the Grand Canyon.

Yet, paradoxically enough, we meet many Americans who have never been to admire it. There is always a good reason not to go and discover the hidden treasures of his garden. The grass always looks greener in neighbors.

This is not our case. Every year, we will spend at least 4 days on the shores of the Grand Canyon to enjoy the spectacle we never tire of. But above all we go to try to capture the subtle nuances that are offered to us.

Everything Has Been Said and Yet Everything Remains to be Done

Often, we hear that everything has been done in photography on the Grand Canyon. It is a terrible mistake to think so. The landscapes are so vast and so varied that it is always possible to find an angle, a technique to make it different.

For years we have been strolling the shores. We have often tried to use the technique of color to show the different scenes. For two years, we have made another bet: the one of black and white.

As professional landscape photographers, the Grand Canyon is one of our greatest passions. But it's also a real challenge because we must create different photographs that express our emotions and send out personal messages. It's sometimes complicated. We need time and perseverance as in all our projects.

Sublimating the Grand Canyon in Black and White

As we have often said and described in this article, black and white photography is a difficult technique for landscapes because it requires special conditions. The Grand Canyon follows this rule.

First, you have to choose the season to photograph it. Fall and winter are for us the best times of the year. On the one hand, the days are shorter. On the other hand, the weather is more favorable with the presence of clouds. Finally, the low lights on the horizon perfectly highlight the details of the mineral walls and shapes of the Grand Canyon.

These black and white photographs are part of our artistic approach that we have called "Shades of Blacks and Whites". We have tried in accordance with our artistic vision to create simple scenes, ethereal and dreamlike.

As always, making simple things is very difficult.

Click on a thumbnail to enlarge the image.

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