1/11/2011: Light in the Forest

After church on Sunday, my daughter and I stopped at Saco Heath again, just to see what it looked like in winter. She was impressed with the beauty of the light under the tall fur trees where the trail works its way toward the bog, and we were discussing how difficult it is to catch that particular (and undeniable) beauty in a photograph…how the eye and the brain…the mind…absorbs the impression of beauty without needing any center of focus, as we move through the landscape, but how in an image, once you place a frame around it, without that center of focus, the result is, most of the time, just a clutter from which we fail to recapture the original impression.

So I took a few shots to demonstrate the limits of what can be done. I explained as I worked and showed her the results that I was also visualizing the image in B&W, using a green filter effect, which lead us to discussions of how B&W photographers used to tailor the light and the response of the film with a whole bag full of different colored filters…how it was, in a very real sense, the one control they had over the image once basic exposure decisions were made. I told her that often, in situations where it is really the light you are photographing, B&W can be more effective, or at least, just as effective as color.

So here is the same image processed in Lightroom using the green filter B&W effect. This treatment brings the little fur into some prominence and is perhaps better focused as an image than the color version.

I am not sure which I like better, or, even if I like one better. Of their kind, and given the limitations of forest photography, they are both satisfying. Just. Unfortunately the experience is fresh enough so I still remember the impression I was attempting to catch!

Canon SX20IS at about 110mm, f4.5 @ 1/160th @ ISO 80. Snow Mode.

Processed for light, intensity, and clarity in Lightroom. Cropped for composition. Green filter B&W effect.

4 Responses to “1/11/2011: Light in the Forest”

  1. 01/11/2011 at 10:23 am

    Have to visit your site more often Steve Ingram…. love these photos… but the drama is in the black and white photograph. I agree with you that it’s hard to decide when you have the memory so close and fresh. Both are great pictures but I feel different things from each of them. Interesting experience… thanks for that and for the tips. You have several beautiful sites. A delight to explore. thanks for sharing your view of the world.

  2. 01/11/2011 at 7:09 pm

    They are both beautiful, and different from each other.

  3. 3 Kevin
    01/12/2011 at 2:10 pm

    Both are nice pictures. I wonder if the B&W version would look even better if you’d add some contrast.

  4. 4 singraham
    01/12/2011 at 2:33 pm

    I tired adding contrast, but the tree trunks go black and the snow totally blows out. Not an effect I want. 🙂

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