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Thread: Waves of Black and White

  1. #1

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    Waves of Black and White

    A view of the southern Oregon seacoast, on a stormy morning.

    This was a complicated image to process into black and white, with lots of options explored, but only one that was chosen. Comments of any sort are welcome, but if you have any thoughts about composition and tonal balance, those would be particularly appreciated.

    (Please click the image to open the superior original, larger version into the Lytebox.)



    Waves of Black and White
    Last edited by Arlen; 13th July 2012 at 04:24 PM.

  2. #2

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    Re: Waves of Black and White

    Hi Arlen, assuming some comment is better than none, I have to say this looks like a heavily-processed HDR-type image to me, which is not at all to my taste...
    But as far as composition is concerned, I think it's good
    Ian

  3. #3
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Waves of Black and White

    I like this as an art form rather than a documentary image. I think it is beautiful...

  4. #4

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    Re: Waves of Black and White

    I like it--brings to mind the old black and white horror films where the werewolf or frankenstein falls off the cliff into the sea. Hats off to you with the PP.

  5. #5
    Loose Canon's Avatar
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    Re: Waves of Black and White

    A rose by any other name, Arlen!

    This is a gorgeous image.

  6. #6

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    Allan Short

    Re: Waves of Black and White

    Arlen: I see that you went to the dark side, like it very much, this is in some ways my kind of shot, moody with that beautifull sky. One thing has me puzzeled, the smooth backwash of the wave, I would thing somewhere around 2-3 seconds, which would be I think about right with those skyes, however it is the 2 spots that have breaking waves, which would require a faster speed. This as I said had me puzzeled.

    Cheers:

    Allan

  7. #7

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    Re: Waves of Black and White

    Terrific composition!

    Your choice of shutter speed and high-contrast processing sends contradictory messages to me. The shutter speed is fast enough to nearly stop some of the waves but most of the waves are silky smooth. The silky smooth waves convey a mood of tranquility to me, which contradicts the ominously dark clouds and the high-contrast scene.

  8. #8

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    Marco Andrade

    Re: Waves of Black and White

    Arlen you have a great photo over here by all means, for me it all fits well here, mind you I would put this as my wallpaper keep taking great photos mate.

  9. #9
    terrib's Avatar
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    Re: Waves of Black and White

    I'm not qualified to offer anything helpful. But I can comment as a viewer and I can say that I love the photo. I think the composition is beautiful and my immediate reaction was "wow, how beautiful" which is not something that happens too often for me in B&W.

  10. #10

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    Re: Waves of Black and White

    Thanks to all of you for taking the time to post comments. They accumulated faster than I expected, or I would have checked back sooner.

    A couple of you mentioned the effects of shutter speed. It was actually faster than you might expect, 1/13 sec. I shot this at a variety of speeds so I would be able to later choose one with an effect that I liked the best. Of course with the constant surge of the surf, every shot was different in terms of composition. So final selection was based on a combination of composition and pleasing water motion effect. As for different areas exhibiting different degrees of motion smoothing, remember that even if all the water in the image were moving at the same speed, the closer to the camera it is, the longer its path across the image frame in a given time; resulting in more smoothing. Add to that the fact that some spots are moving faster than others--e.g., the near water is running rapidly downhill back into the sea--and you get this complicated smoothing pattern. It was one of the things that attracted me to this shot.

    Mike, thanks for your thoughts about the possible "clash of concepts". Now that you've put it into words, I'm not sure if that's an undesirable conflict, or a desirable tension that holds attention. I'll have to muse about that. But the amount of contrast was of course a deliberate decision, and I'm very interested in your and others' reaction to it. I wanted the overall look to be dark, but decided to hold a bit of the highlights to near-white to maintain a full tonal scale.

    Ian, I appreciate your honest reaction. I don't think this is really HDR-like, as that's a situation where a very high dynamic range scene is compressed down into a lower contrast image. And this image, if anything, is the reverse of that. But I think perhaps I do understand what you're getting at; that the scene, probably because of the way the contrast is handled, looks unnatural to you, in a way that you are not fond of. I accept that. In my own house, my wife and I often disagree on which pictures we like and don't like. I will say that a black and white image is already a big departure from reality, so I personally don't feel too constrained unless my purpose is documentary--in which case I'm more likely to stick to color.

  11. #11

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    Re: Waves of Black and White

    Having read all the comments I think this is still a dang good image.

  12. #12

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    Re: Waves of Black and White

    Glad you liked it, Bobo. And that you made it through the comments, particularly my overly long one. In the light of morning it appears that I got carried away and became rather verbose in my response. I need to remember that short is sweet.

  13. #13
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    Re: Waves of Black and White

    Call if photography, call it art, call it processed, I dont care. It simply moves me. What a magnificent metaphor for life, with the juxtapostion of light and dark, turmoil and tranquility, foundations of bedrock and shifting sand, and elements moving at different speeds. Including the home on the cliff suggests that we are a witness to and a participant in all of it. I wish I had taken this shot, but am glad you did. Heartiest congrats

    Kevin

  14. #14

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    Re: Waves of Black and White

    Arlen,

    After reading your response, it's clear to me that, for the most part, you had a clear vision in mind. I think you did a marvelous job of making the image to conform with your vision, regardless of any misgivings I or others might have about particular aspects of it. Looking forward to more of your images from the Oregon coast, and particularly so because I'm very jealous of how convenient it is for you to shoot there.

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