Sunday, June 28, 2015

Creative License in Black and White

Fact or Fiction

Black and White photography imposes successive distortions on the natural world. First, we compress three dimensions into two. Then we convert all of the colors into shades of gray.

This photograph utilizes a third level of distortion, the compression of time. I left the camera's shutter open for several seconds in order to render the moving water in a dreamlike blur.

a photo in black and white of ocean waves passing over rocks

It's tempting to think of photographs as accurate depictions of what was visible at a given place and time. We rely on photographs to document important events and occasions. Most people wouldn't think of traveling without a camera and snapping happy memories along the way.

But cameras can alter the appearance of reality in extreme ways. The water that I photographed wasn't gray. The water was blue, and the weather was clear and pleasant. My eyes didn't see a misty blur. Rather, I saw a succession of individual waves. What you see in this photograph looks very different than what I saw while I was standing there creating it.

Photographs aren't always documentaries. Sometimes they are works of fiction. Photographers use the tools of their craft to create moods, imply drama, and inspire an emotional response. 

I could have created a photograph of blue water with well-defined waves, and I'm sure that it would have been appealing. But I wanted to express something different with this photograph, a sense of mystery and adventure. I hope that you'll enjoy this experiment in creative license.

Camera:    Nikon D810

Lens:        Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II

Wishing you great light and meaningful moments!

Copyright 2015 Daniel R. South
All Rights Reserved