Friday, February 22, 2013

Focus On Life ~ Week 8 ~ Monochromatic

This week's photography lesson was monochromatic photos.

Here's what Sally said about them:

"Monochromatic photos tell a story, evoke emotion and uncovers the soul with the simple contrast of one color.  Monochromatic photos enable the viewer to see a deeper meaning behind what may be concealed by multiple colors."

 I have to confess I did not pay attention to this challenge. I did take photos while I was gone on a 3 day vacation to Santa Cruz, and I did get some which meet the criteria, but those happened by accident. I did not TRY to find deeper meaning, or to find good subjects for a black and white photo.
Maybe, because deep down, I cannot, or maybe do not want to, imagine life without color. I don't want to see the stark realities that are made bearable by the vibrancy breathed in by color.

Oh I should stop ranting about my philosophy of life and move on...to the photos :-)  

This last weekend was a long one for me, and if you have followed me along on this Focus On Life series, you will remember one of my resolutions was to go some place I have never been on every long weekend. Well, I did! That too on a train! I had wanted to go on an Amtrak vacation ever since I moved to the US...some 15 years back. I figured whatever it was that was stopping me need not do it anymore. I went alone, on an 8 hour ride from San Jose to Santa Barbara. And I loved it!

On the ride back, the day was dull and gray, and here is a picture I shot with my iPhone, with regular settings, from a moving train. I have not made any color corrections, just some brightness/contrast adjustments. Like it? I think its beautiful :)



And since this one is not a "true" monochromatic one, I edited another one from this trip. This picture is of Old Mission Santa Barbara. Founded by the Franciscan Friar Fermín de Lasuén on the Feast of St. Barbara, December 4th, 1786, Old Mission Santa Barbara is also known as the Queen of the Missions. I did not get to take the tour of the place, so am hoping to go back some day.



It does get that old world look in monochrome! 

Not a lot of details jumping out though, I think the picture needs to be a macro to get the true impact of black and white. I tried editing some flower photos I took, but my bright red flowers turned white, and I did not like it. So this scene got picked instead.

Check out what the others have to show at Sally's blog:
http://thestudiosublime.com/2013/02/22/week-8-freeform-peyote-challenge/

  

38 comments:

  1. Your pictures brought back so memories for me. I went to college at UCSB many years ago and lived in California for 20 years. While I live on the Gulf Coast now, there is nothing like the Pacific Ocean.

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    1. You did! I am officially jealous!!! I LOVED the city! Living there as a student would be SO awesome!
      Where on the Gulf coast are you?

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  2. Yes, I love the first photo! The second one 2 there's something about a church mission in black and white..hmm..don't know what it is, but it works for me!

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    1. Thank you, Adrienne! I knew it would be a gorgeous one the minute I clicked it, looked great even on the small iphone screen :)

      The church has that old world charm, isn't it?

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  3. Great shots! And while it is not monochromatic, the pier is spectacular!

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    1. Thanks Courtney! I do love how that one came out, I can totally say this picture is better than the actual thing ;-)

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  4. I love the camera phone photo..wow...what a catch that was! And you are right about the old world look coming though with B & W...I can't imagine life in color before we captured it with color film...it is always shocking to see old photo's of the 20's and 30's and 40's that have been retouched in color...glad you took a trip on your long weekend..sounds like it was lovely!

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    1. Huh, that's right, now that you say it! I can't imagine it in color either!

      My trip was indeed lovely, it actually gave me a bit of insight into what works and what doesn't work for me, since there was no one else to please, no one else to think about for 3 whole days except myself. Quite an experience!

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  5. I like both your pictures! The black and white is especially effective with all the angles. I do think your shot from the train is my favorite, though, and very close to monochrome!

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    1. Thanks Beti! I had to go back and look at what angles you were talking about, and I realized that they DO make the picture a lot more interesting :) I like how posting these pics here is helping me see things I missed!

      The pier pic makes me smile :)

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  6. I really love your first picture and it is a bit monochromatic. It evokes such a calm feeling.

    The second one is beautiful also. I love how your eye is drawn to the cross because it is darker. I am not sure it would have the same effect in color.

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    1. Hmmm...the first one actually looks to me like the calm before a storm. maybe because of the clouds.

      And you are right, the cross does not have that much impact in color! It is darker in there too...since its painted a dark brown, but there is brown in the building too which takes away from the cross. Thanks!

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  7. wow Kashmira what gorgeous pictures you took! and from a moving train? I love the old Spanish style missions - each with its own character, yet clearly all in the same style.

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    1. Yeah, I got lucky with this one! Will post more pics soon from that trip, I got about 300 of them!!

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  8. I think these are both great shots, Kashmira! And good for you for venturing out on the train - that's awesome. I need you to come teach me how to snap pics w/my iphone,..I'd says it's the iphone that takes crappy pics, but since everyone else's takes amazing photos, I know it me!! :-) (even w/apps, they ones I take are awful at best!!)

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    1. Shel, is it iPhone 5? Mine is 5, and I think it does have a MUCH better camera than the previous versions

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  9. Love the area surrounding the Santa Barbara Mission - great shot!

    (no. 43 this week)

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    1. Thank you! I had to go back to see what you see :) I did not pay that much attention to the mountains before, but now that I do, they are pretty! Thank you!

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  10. I think you took great pics. The mission pic shows sunlight on the domes, mountains in the backround and other interesting textures. Good job on keeping your promise to yourself and traveling.

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    1. Yeah! I did not notice the sunlight before! Thank you!

      And I am SO glad I took this trip. I will be doing a post about it, hopefully soon!

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  11. I think both photos are stunning. Good for you taking the train by yourself!

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    1. Thank you, Annette! I was a bit skeptical about doing it, but once I got on that train, I decided to enjoy it, and enjoy it I did!

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  12. Great pictures, so much to see.

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    1. Thank you! That is indeed what I was thinking on that 8-hr ride on the train! SO much to see!!!

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  13. Both pictures are gorgeous, Kashmira! The first one is a reminder of what nature can do (the luck of light / sun); while the second - I don't think it has an 'old look', I see it as timeless.
    Good for you for taking that trip - looking forward to your sharing of your other adventures this year!

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    1. Hmm...that is very very true! If it was not cloudy, the scene would have been completely different!

      And yes, am very happy with myself for taking that trip, and DO hope to travel more :)

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  14. Congratulations on going on your trip. I remember my first solo trip. It's an accomplishment!

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    1. Thank you, Patty! It is, indeed! Makes me feel sooo much better and less timid!

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  15. So glad your New Year's resolution has worked so well, and thank you for taking us with you.

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    1. I have a lot more pics to post, stay tuned, Marlene!

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  16. Glad you had fun in my neck of the woods. I love train rides and have taken the train to Portland, but not south. you've inspired me!

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    1. Thanks Janet! Do you live in SB? Its such a beautiful city!

      I loved the train ride, and am now wondering if I should take the ride up north :)

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  17. Kashmira, so glad to hear you did something out of the norm and took a train ride! It's been quite a while since I was on a train myself. Your pictures are stunning!! And you brought back memories for me....when we were living in Monterey, my husband surprised me with a b-day trip down to Santa Barbara. Suddenly I remember so many details like the restaurants we ate in, riding with our dog Hodgie on one of those tourist bicycles, and the Baskin Robbins ice cream cake he had planned for me and that we ate in our hotel room... miss our days in CA! We are dreaming of taking the kids to CA for Spring Break...but not sure we can make it happen. It's just around the corner!

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    1. Please please please please come to CA!!!!

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  18. Both images are just beautiful! LOVE the black and white.

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  19. I totally get your dislike for the lack of color, but there are just some ways that a black and white photo enhances a subject like seeing the shadows, shapes, and textures a bit more than the vividness of color. However, I too would have been upset with a bright red turned white. The pier shot is awesome. I do love me a beach scene! :)

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  20. Yeah, my eyes went quite wide when my red flower turned into something hideous :) But I agree with you...when there are certain textures and angles...I see so many b/w photos of skyscrapers that are just wonderful!

    I have been wanting to post more photos of my SB trip, with more beach shots, but time is getting away from me :( Hopefully I will do it soon!

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