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IN THE FIELD: Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

As photographers, we visualize and shoot a scene based on decisions we make in the field. After returning to our studios, the image may not match our intended vision for the scene.

Maybe the color rendition is not right, or maybe the mood of the scene is not portrayed the way we imagined. Cameras don’t always record things the way the human eye sees, so sometimes we need to make adjustments in the studio.

And thanks to the digital camera age and computer programs, converting a photo from color to grayscale, for example, is a lot easier than back in the day.

I originally photographed this bronze statue in color, but when I viewed it full screen in the studio, I thought it may actually work better as a grayscale image. So I converted it and viewed it alongside the color version. After comparing the two for a few minutes, I then left the studio for awhile, so I could come back and make a more objective decision with a fresh eye.

I found I still liked the the grayscale version better. It evoked the mood I wanted to capture when I was in the field.

The bronze statue is named “Boy With Gulls” by Charles Cropper Parks.

  1. December 5, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    Good post, good image.

    • December 6, 2011 at 3:49 pm

      Thanks Bob, maybe someday I’ll show the color image or wait till spring and photograph it with the cherry trees in the background in bloom.

  2. December 5, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Looks great, David! Your photo shows lots of realistic elements in the statue. I can easily imagine those elements having less impact in the color version.

    • December 6, 2011 at 3:51 pm

      Thanks Karen, the only thing…the golden morning light doesn’t show in the B&W version. I’ll have to post the color version to see what you guys think.

  3. December 5, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    It works very well as a B&W. I like it.

    • December 6, 2011 at 3:52 pm

      Thanks Meanderer, funny, sometimes I like the other version…it has a different impact/feel to it.

  4. December 5, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Don’t I know about staring at photos and then walking away…except I come back and still stare some more. It looks great this way!!

    • December 6, 2011 at 3:55 pm

      Me too!!! I still like the color version, but I think the B&W version has a more timeless feel and the subtleties show up better.

  5. December 5, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Love the photo, looks very good in greyscale 🙂

    • December 6, 2011 at 3:56 pm

      Thanks Anne, in grayscale it changed the whole look of the statue to something a lot older looking.

  6. December 5, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    I enjoy reading about your thought processes that go into your works. Photography is SO much more than pointing and shooting.

    • December 6, 2011 at 4:03 pm

      Thanks Tara, I am so glad you are enjoying my little writings…I believe in sharing knowledge or techniques, or as you said, thought processes with other folks. I hope to be able to help people see rather then just look.

  7. Steve
    December 5, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    Beautiful capture, and the BW treatment is perfect for this one! Cheers!

    • December 6, 2011 at 4:04 pm

      Thanks Steve, this was a tough one with the bronze reflecting the morning light…plus it was 28 degrees Saturday morning!

  8. December 6, 2011 at 7:20 am

    Grey is great! It brings out the shadows and makes the image stronger! I love it! And you are so right; cameras don’t always capture things we see 🙂 But that’s the fun part of it, being able to adjust and play around with images 🙂

    • December 6, 2011 at 4:07 pm

      Thanks Kristina, the shadows are stronger in the B&W version but the bronze reflecting the morning sun is pretty awesome too! Exactly right…you are the “creative director” of your camera and your vision!

  9. December 6, 2011 at 9:31 am

    I like this shot, and the black and white simplifies the image and makes me notice the the textures and the subject. I think digital manipulation is a lot easier when you start with a good photo, and you did. 🙂

    • December 6, 2011 at 4:08 pm

      Thanks Katie, the textures do show a bit better in the B&W version, but I have to admit the color version is pretty powerful (I went back and stared at it some more.)

  10. Nandini
    December 6, 2011 at 9:59 am

    This is great picture David.

    First of all, it’s a beautiful piece of art. And the way you have captured is is truly awesome. The shadow of the arm is so nice! It looks good in B&W. Great great photo!


  11. December 6, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Thank you Nandini, it is a beautiful statue. It kind of reminded me of when I was a boy playing by the ocean…never had sea gulls eat from my hand though.

  12. December 6, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Impressive photograph. You did great job, dear David, Thank you,
    with my love, nia

    • December 7, 2011 at 10:50 am

      Thank you Nia, the sculpture and it is placed near a stream that has some resident ducks and other water birds!

  13. December 6, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    I think the grayscale probably brings out the light and shadow and form more, without the distraction of color. And … you’ve given me an idea to try on some photos I took last weekend that I haven’t been very excited about. Thanks!

    • December 7, 2011 at 10:52 am

      Hi Lee, I was comparing the two versions again last night and the grayscale does in fact show the detail better. Hey maybe the photos you took last weekend will take on a whole new look after you play with them!

  14. December 6, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    I much prefer the grayscale here. The color would have just been a little too overbearing in my opinion. Great photo Dave as always 🙂


    • December 7, 2011 at 10:55 am

      Thanks Jim, the color version does evoke a different feel…it’s not bad, just different. The grayscale has a more personal or relatable feel if that is the right choice of words.

  15. December 7, 2011 at 11:00 am

    absolutely fantastic shots David 😉

    • December 9, 2011 at 10:03 am

      Thanks Xandi! I would like to re-visit this sculpture at a different time of day to see how the light effects the image.

  16. December 9, 2011 at 7:44 am

    Although I haven’t seen the colour version, I do like this in black and white. It’s a great sculpture — and photograph!

    • December 9, 2011 at 10:04 am

      Thanks Mufidah, it really is a neat sculpture and it is positioned perfectly near the stream!

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