Photographing the Old West


Josefina's Winery and Café

Josefina’s Winery and Café

Driving into Mesilla, New Mexico, is like driving 150 years back into time.  While Territorial-Style architecture is most closely tied with Santa Fe and northern New Mexico, Mesilla is home to an incredible number of prime examples.

Territorial Building

Territorial Building

Territorial Style on Parade

Territorial Style on Parade

Basilica San Albino

Basilica San Albino

Looking at some of the examples above and on Monday, you might be getting the mistaken impression that Territorial Style is all about colorfully dull earth tones.  Not always.  Many Territorial Style buildings sport bright blue doorways and window casings.  Sometimes, however, the entire building may be a splash of color.

Galeria Azul

Galeria Azul

The Colorful Side of Territorial

The Colorful Side of Territorial

Courtyards are also a popular feature of the Territorial Style, and some of the more popular eating establishments reflect this.

Courtyard at Peppers Café/Double Eagle

Courtyard at Peppers Café/Double Eagle

Color isn’t everything in photography, however.  Texture also counts for a lot, as you’ll recall from my blog: When to Convert to Black & White—Landscapes.  If you have a picture that contains a lot of texture and is already primarily monochromatic in nature, you can often enhance the viewing experience by completing the monochromatic nature of the subject in post processing.

Outside Galeria Azul

Outside Galeria Azul

Josefina's Old Gate

Josefina’s Old Gate

If you do decide to convert to Black & White, don’t forget the color.  I know that sounds oxymoronic, but don’t forget that the color information contained in the original picture is a wealth of data that can be easily manipulated in post processing to increase contrast, darken skies, highlight clouds, enhance vegetation, or even bring out the character in an aging face.

A Little B&W Fun

A Little B&W Fun

The picture above is a good example.  It was filtered for red in post-processing, resulting in wispy clouds against dark skies.  Without that filtering, this is what you would have seen instead:

Unfiltered B&W Conversion

Unfiltered B&W Conversion

And what of the original photograph?  Here it is:

Original Color Shot

Original Color Shot

If you’d like a refresher of Black & White conversions and Color Filtering, go to:

When to Convert to Black & White—Landscapes

More Fun with Color Filtering for Black & White Photography

Black & White Filtering After the Picture is Taken

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2 Comments

Filed under Automobiles and Driving, Photography, travel

2 responses to “Photographing the Old West

  1. Linda

    I love your Black & White conversion pictures. Beautiful area.