Friday, 13 August 2010

Digital Photographic Practice 1: Exercise 16: Strength of Interpretation

Part 1: A photo processed with a strong increase in contrast.
I took this photo of a thistle for this exercise because of the very pronounced shape, which i felt would probably benefit from conversion to B&W. The hairy stems in the background caught the light over quite a large area area in the background and detracted somewhat from the composition. As an exercise I burned it in, after conversion, to examine the differences between colour and B&W in this area. My experience is that the burning in was simpler on B&W as the greyish tone that results blends better with the photo.
Anyway – here is the original image – taken at 1/250sec, f/10, ISO400

And here are the two high contrast versions. Examination in Lightroom showed extensive shadow clipping as required by the exercise.

Interestingly , in this example I think both work. The difference is that the B/W version encourages you to concentrate on the shape and edge lighting of the thistle, while the colour version provides a more surreal colourscape. Preference in this case seems a matter of personal choice, but in a different photo the rather dramatic colour shifts could easily result in a less acceptable result. This is illustrated in the next set.

Part 2: A photo processed to give a high-key result.
I struggled in image choice for this exercise. High key is not a treatment I enjoy – to my mind it is overused, particularly in portraiture. I finally settled on this image, from a recent family holiday. (1/200sec, f/6.3, ISO200) because I felt that the obvious sunny setting might be emphasised by a high key treatment.


The two high key versions are here:



In this example the B/W version seems, to me anyway, to have a lazy summer afternoon feel.The slightly pale tones give a summer sunlight effect that matches well with the calmness of the water and the generally relaxed attitude of my son and daughter. The colour version on the other hand simply looks over-exposed and washed out, and the colours are somewhat un-natural – particularly the pinks of the skin. So my initial assessment for this photo was correct – the high-key black and white does complement the sunny setting.

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