Different Impressions

All of you probably know The Photodiarist. I visit her blog practically everyday and learn a lot about photography from her through her pictures. She takes most of her pictures in Black and White. Her pictures are stunningly beautiful.

Today she posted a series of beach pictures and we got into a discussion over them (read it all at her blogpost). My first impression was that beach pictures with lots of people should be in color, otherwise there seems to be something missing to me. Biana from A little something something brought up the idea of giving them a vintage color theme, which made me think, that if you turn the "pure" black and white into sepia this impression of something missing would be gone. On third thought, to me it seems that this impression of something missing was brought forth by the "plain" sky, there is no structure or depth to it. Well there was obviously cloudless sky, so what should provide this structure?

In any case this inspired me to play around with a picture and iPhoto (I've got Gimp but I simply haven't found the time to learn how to use it. *blush*). Here are five versions of the same digital picture I took one evening a few weeks ago. I would love to discuss them with you, so don't hold back your thoughts.

The original, no alteration.

Turned black & white.

Turned sepia.

Faded colors.

Saturated colors.

So what do you think works and what not? What impression do you have, when you look at the sepia or the faded or ... picture? How would you do it?

PS: You find my opinion in the comments. Please read those only after you made up your mind on the pictures impressions, as to not cloud your first impression with the other readers thoughts. Thanks.


  1. I like the original and the black and white. Faded is okay but it looks a bit like B&W but with a greenish tinge - in other words a not so well executed B&W. I don't like the sepia or the saturated colors. Sepia doesn't do it for me - I am not sure I like "created" vintage. Saturated doesn't work because I cannot see the details of the bench. It's sort of a toss up for me between B&W and original. I like the original because you can see the blues and whites of the sky whereas in B&W, those distinctions fade away. But I love the B&W because of the beautiful contrast between the darkness and solitude of the tree against the lightness of the sky. What do you think?

  2. Haha, this is going to be interesting. I'm the opposite from you.

    My favourite is the faded one, exactly because of the tinge. I like the sepia one, because it feels blistering hot and shows off the benches. The saturated one gets to dark at the bottom and the original is not very original but kind of boring.

    The b&w. It feels lonely and sad to me, which I dislike immensely, since it's one of my favourite places in the world and I have a positive bond to it. The b&w doesn't bring out the peace of this place to me. That said, if I didn't know this place and just saw this pic in a gallery, I would probably like it very much.

    Perceptions change with your experience and feelings towards special places...

  3. For me, the black and white version works best with this photo.

    The Sepia is too sepia for me, there is no balance between light and dark in that one. And the sky is overexposed. I would lower the sepia tinge, lower the exposure of the sky and add a tiny bit more shadow and a little more brightness to the foreground.

    The faded colors... hmmm, I like the creative idea behind it. But maybe the tinge predominates. I would have lighten up the tinge a little bit, but still not sure if that would work as well.

    The saturated colors don't work for me, for the same reasons it doesn't work for you. Way too many essential details of this photo are covered by it. It's too dark, the lower part of the photo has become a dark stain.

    The original version is pretty, but doesn't work for me as well, I just don't feel it.

    That's why I choose the black and white. It gives character to this photo, a bit of dreaminess and emotion (as you have an emotional bond with this place..) The black and white is a timeless photo. I don't feel sad when looking at it. It demonstrates the beautiful different textures of this photo. The grass, the horizon, the tree, beautiful reverberation of the sunlight on the bench. It stimulates the natural beauty of this place.

    Nice post, though. I love getting into discussions. You can invite me anytime for that :)

  4. The original does it for me.
    Unaltered and in it's raw element.
    The truth.

  5. I would say all versions of the picture work, but it depends on their purpose. Best might be the original. You could probably have saturated it just a wee bit more without losing too much detail by moving the mid greys (on photoshop levels for example).

    Perhaps you want to experiment with the option in order to see what you can obtain? It then becomes easier to choose what you want to obtain.


  6. I think the original could be great if you corrected the levels a bit, added some contrast and sharpness. It might get a very dramatic look, even. (I'm thinking something like this tone-wise: http://browse.deviantart.com/photography/civilization/?order=9#/d1ru9d)

    The other versions don't really do it for me(I should probably note that sepia never works for me, reminds me too much of old timey photos). The faded one could have some action going on if you made it more contrast-y. Tinged photographs are hard to "get right".