Experimentation

Sunrise 4Ohawe Beach

Photography is both a technical and an artistic endeavor. If it was just a technical, then there would be just one way (the right way) to process an image. But it's not, there are a myriad of ways you can approach an image depending on what suits the image and communicates your intent.

I like to explore the image play with it, try different things and see what works. It's not uncommon for me to sit and take an hour or two to work with an image. Hearing myself say that, that is an interesting choice of words, 'work with an image'. To say you 'process' an image, sounds very automated, mechanical. By describing it as 'working with the image' it sounds like both the image and I affect the finished image, which is how I feel it works.

Sometimes I go one way with an image, getting it to a point where I consider it worth showing. Then as I look at the image occasionally over the next days and weeks, new ideas surface, and I can see small issues I may have missed. This is part of the finishing process. 

In the case of this image, you might have seen the colour version earlier on (I still think there is more work to be done to the colour image by the way). When I did a black and white course a few years back, one of the many things they taught us was that to make a good black and white image, first you need a good colour image. You may wonder what they mean by that, what they meant was a few things. Black and white is not a cure all, you still need a good image to start with. Also if you bring out the colours in the image, then when you convert the image to black and white, you will have more information to work with.

Initially I loved the colours of the image and how they conveyed the drama of the morning sunrise. But the black and white version somehow brings a mystery to the image, to the drama of the composition. The texture of the cliffs, the gravel and the rocks gain greater weight in the black and white version. Sometimes it is hard to pick a favorite, but rather than picking a favorite I think it is better to enjoy them all.