Film Photography, Travel

Rosses Point Beach in black and white

Why is it that beaches look so good in black and white?

Rosses Point Beach

I never would have guessed until I saw J. R. Smith’s photostream on Flickr. He lives on the northern California coast and photographs the beach in black and white all the time.

Rosses Point Beach

This beach isn’t in California — it’s in northwest Ireland. on a peninsula in County Sligo called Rosses Point.

Rosses Point Beach

Rosses Point is a peninsula with this beach, a harbor, and a small town. Famed poet William Butler Yeats spent his summers here when he was a boy.

Rosses Point Beach

We spent about an hour exploring this beach, and in that time dark clouds parted for full sun, only to yield to gray overcast. The changing sky is a lot of why we stayed so long: new light brought out new and interesting things to photograph.

Rosses Point Beach

My color photos of this beach do not at all show the scalloping in the sand.

Rosses Point Beach

We had other places we wanted to see this day so we reluctantly moved on.

Rosses Point Beach

Nikon N2000, 35mm f/2.8 AI Nikkor, Kodak T-Max 400

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13 thoughts on “Rosses Point Beach in black and white

  1. Nancy Stewart says:

    Black & white photos always bring out the contrasts, shadows and contours much better. Very nice pictures.

  2. You certainly picked just the right combination of film, lens and camera for that subject. The monochrome tonalities, shapes and textures nicely combine a detailed representation of reality with a suggestive sense of abstraction. That last shot is particularly evocative of something lurking in the shapes of the grass, ready to jump out as soon as you turn your gaze away.

    • Thank you so much, Mike. I was deeply impressed by how this combo performed throughout the trip. The results at this beach, and also at a giant mansion in County Galway I’ve yet to write about, were the strongest.

  3. I shot almost exclusively color film when I moved to Northern California 7 years ago from Arizona. Believing that the beach was awash in middle grays, I was as surprised as you with the satisfying results I got shooting black and white film.

  4. Christopher Smith says:

    Great photos Jim I love your black & white’s I feel it brings out the mood of the place you photograph especially coastal beach scenes.

    • Thanks! The T-Max and that lens are a smashing combination. It also helps that the place that processed the film does good work with T-Max. I’ve not always had good luck having it processed elsewhere.

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