Less is More – Day of a Dreamer

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When it comes to women’s fashion, colors overcome the world. It is also the same for photography. In this digital photography era, most people shoot color photos while a smaller percentage of people are dedicated to black and white photography. In most of the cases, we shoot color photos first and later turn them into black and white images should the author found B&W version looks more interesting or interprets his/her intent better.

Earlier of the week I made attempts to shoot something more suitable in black and white colors, something with simpler subject and more visible contrast. However, after I downloaded all my photos. I discovered that my pre-visualized black and white candidates are not necessary the better choices. Some of very colorful shots are contrarily more appealing to be in black and white. Expect the unexpected when you are out shooting.
We went to Crystal Spring Rhododendron Park in Portland over the weekend for flower pictures. There are flowers but not in full bloom. We ended up shooting water fowls and landscape.  It was my first visit to the park and I was surprised to see the beautiful wooden walking bridges and classic looking railings. The park is well-maintained and tastefully landscaped. A golf course is adjacent to it and its rolling green adds a manicured border to the park. It is pleasant just being there.
I lingered at the bridge for a long time because the atmosphere is just so lovely and delightful. I would say, the bridge construction has an Asian flare. It reminds me of Yu-Yuan Garden 豫園 in Su-zhou 蘇州, China and also Lan-Su Garden in Chinatown, Portland. Lan-Su was designed to mimic Yu-Yuan in a much smaller scale.  

I first thought this picture is nice because of its intense colors. What I did not expect is, it looks even more interesting to me when it is in black and white.  It resembled a classic version of Chinese garden with dense greens and slow running water. Except, instead of lotus flowers and peonies, there are azalea and rhododendron. The bridge is not arched and I don’t recall that I see a gazebo inside the park.

The colored shot draws my eyes to large orange leaves and pink flowers while the BW picture has its focal point on the bridge and its structure details. Also at this point, I then noticed the black tree reflection to the right.

This image brought me back to Su-Zhou, to ancient China, to the famous poet Li-Bai 李白 and to the porcelain art. I am a dreamer. I cannot rationalize myself how my mind wandered as such, but there was a little episode….

Yesterday somehow I decided to shoot something from my kitchen and convert it to black and white images. I started from tea kettle, tea cups and finished it with teacups and a glazed flower case in my shot. This vase has a handle which makes it look like a wine flask. I think this picture looks like a shot of saki or moonshine was being poured into the cup. 

Who needs a shot of hard liquor? Perhaps some artist needs instant inspiration or someone is really depressed and need a lift? Li-Bai was indulged in alcohol during his late years, but his poems of romanticism only got better. (The original color image just does not have the same impact as this one.)
This ‘flask’ reminds me of the yellow glass art piece that I found in Seattle Glass Museum. The museum does have some nice glass pieces there. Out of curiosity, I convert the color image to black and white, and I simply love it.

Color enhances our life, but sometimes it divides our attention. While we can focus on two colors (and their gradient tones), we are drawn into a wild wild world packed with huge pool of color spectrum. People like varieties and arrays of colors are exciting. However, we may be able to appreciate and observe our subject in more depth when the visual is simpler and we are not so overwhelmed by it.

In any case, it is always interesting to see how things turn out so differently when we perceive them from different perspectives.

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