Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Photo of the day: Winter field

Winter field, originally uploaded by The Bacher Family.
Black and white is such an interesting challenge, because we do not see in black and white, and yet often an image is more interesting when reduced to its fundamentals of light and tone. That's the way I feel about this image, which was pretty mundane in original viewing, just a sleepy countryside view near Scio, Oregon, but it takes on a sightly brooding aspect when converted to black and white. Of course, there's no such thing as simply converting to black and white, because there are so many judgments to make about which gradations of color to tease out into shades of gray and which to convert to higher contrast dark and light. I experimented with a couple of versions of this image, including one that had less contrast; it was probably truer to the original scene, but not nearly so interesting.

This photo also benefits from careful cropping. I wanted to emphasize the line of the fence, so I cut out much of the foreground, which was mostly just muddy tire tracks anyway. The road on the left was a dilemma: leave it entirely visible, or make it disappear along the edge of the frame? I chose the latter because otherwise the road dominated the picture too much, pulled the eye toward it too much and away from the tree and the fence and the great expanse of snow. This way feels more balanced. What do you think?

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