On two recent posts, Sunset, Pedra de Itaipava and Serra dos Órgãos, I showed photographs of Itaipava’s landscapes in color. Itaipava is a neighborhood of Petrópolis, RJ, southeastern Brazil, where my family has a house.
One of the most conspicuous mountains in Itaipava, and the subject of this post, is Maria Comprida. This 1,926m peak can only be reached by a combination of hiking and climbing. If you like trekking and want to learn more about the trail to the peak, I provide a link to a video. I took the photograph above while climbing another peak, Morro da Mensagem, on Aug 21, 2021.
While many photographers are satisfied converting a complex landscape scene into monochrome, I tend to associate black and white compositions with simpler scenes that highlight shape, form and/or texture. Looking back on this blog, the closest I can find to a grand landscape in monochrome is Ocean View, which includes land and sky elements on a foggy day. The other black and white scenes I have posted, for the most part, are details of the ocean and isolated trees in fog.
A simple composition with few elements is not always easy to create with the help of a camera. For example, in southeastern Brazil, the landscapes are generally busy and disorganized, including the complex vegetation of the Atlantic Forest. The predominant color is green, which in post-processing generally appears as yellow: definitely, NOT the color palette you want to work with when converting to black and white. To worsen the situation, the constant presence of haze in the landscape tends to result in low contrast scenes that are devoid of interest when converted to monochrome.
The mountains and their peaks around Petrópolis are often naked or are covered with low vegetation, allowing the photographer to reveal the shape and texture of these geological formations. Maria Comprida is certainly one of those interesting peaks which, given the right light and atmospheric conditions, has the potential to look gorgeous in monochrome .