This is a cropped version of the image I took recently on a wonderful hike on some trails in West Simsbury, Connecticut. The hike took us up and down hills, along ridges, stream beds and up to a peak with a fantastic view of the valleys and hills that make up the topography of this part of Connecticut. Most of Nature’s hues have congregated to the browns and grays, though the prevalence of moss this year, due to an incredibly wet fall, splashed a bright and engaging green throughout the woods.
As we made our way along the trails, at several spots we crossed a flowing stream creating little waterfalls, rivulets and eddies. I was shooting an Olympus E-P3 (which I have to admit was much easier to carry than either of my Canon 7D or 5D DSLRs) and decided to try capturing an image of the flowing water at a slow enough shutter speed that the water would appear smokey or foamy. This image shows that I achieved a bit of success in that regard, for which I’m pleased. But once you’ve captured the shot and have uploaded the image to your computer, the call on your creative nature doesn’t stop. Looking at this scene, I needed to decide what elements were important and how best to convey them. Was it the pattern and hues of the colors that drew me to the shot? What emotions did the subject elicit in me that made me take the picture? Does the presence of color add or diminish that attractive element and should I make this monochrome? What about the composition? Did I leave too much in the frame and, if so, how much and what should I cut out? In this case, while I like the color version, I though that a black and white treatment would bring out more of the mystical element that the “smokey” water reflected. Here’s the first version –
Here’s the second –
Of the two, the first lends itself to a panoramic mounting in addition to (in my mind) conveying a darker mood. The one directly above, again to my mind, conveys a more “open” and less ominous mood due to its more “open” crop.
Of course, each of us will have a different view as to which of the 3 images works for him/her. I have friends who automatically will prefer the color version because they can’t “connect” with most black and white images or because they generally assume all black and white images are intended to convey sad or morose moods. In the end, it will depend on your intended viewer and it behooves you to understand where they are coming from when they view pictures. With the advent of digital photography, it’s not difficult to prepare, preserve and offer multiple interpretations of images that your have captured. The nice thing is that you can change your mind as often as you like as to which one captures the essence of your experience of the subject. Today, for example, I’m in a black and white mood and feeling expansive towards life. Therefore, the second image touches me more as I view it. Cheers.