image submitted in response to Cee’s flower of the day
The sweet smell of the south wind can calm the tempers of my people.
The sweet rain of the south wind can nourish the grain-fields of my people.
*(cited in Trans: Anonymous. The Jade Flute Chinese Poems in Prose. The Project Gutenberg Ebook)
This week’s photo study is inspired by my initial reading of Bruce Percy’s ebook, “The Art of Tonal Adjustment.” Thus far into this photo study project, the majority of discussions about composition generally concentrate on the basics of photography; such as, the rule-of-thirds, rule of odds, leading lines, the color red, and so on. Tone, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to be a popular subject and one that has a variance of definitions. For example:
Hue is the color. Saturation is the purity/intensity of the color. Tone is the degree of lightness and darkness.
Tone is probably the most intangible element of composition. Tone may consist of shadings from white-to-gray-to-black, or it may consist of darks against lights with little or no grays. The use of dark areas against light areas is a common method of adding the feeling of a third dimension to a two-dimensional black-and-white picture. The interaction of light against dark shades in varying degrees helps to set the mood of a composition.
A picture consisting of dark or somber shades conveys mystery, intrigue, or sadness. When the tones are mostly light and airy, the picture portrays lightness, joy, or airiness.
“Tonal range” is another way of saying what the difference is between the darkest and the lightest parts of a picture.
“Tonal contrast” is created when light tones and dark tones lie alongside each other. In any photograph it is natural for the eye to go straight to the highlights and then move about the image, taking in the details.
Tonal contrast is the basis of many successful black and white images. If you need help to see the tones in your color photos an easy way to do so is to reduce the color saturation to zero. It is easier to see tonal contrast in black and white images because there is no color to distract your eye from the brightness values within the photo. It is important to note that reducing the color saturation to zero is usually not the best way to convert a color image to monochrome.
Throughout my inital research, I found Bruce Percey’s articles about tone to be an invaluable read. Hope you enjoy.
How do you understand and demonstrate tone within your photographs?
The depths of the hearts
Of humankind cannot be known.
But in my birthplace
The plum blossoms smell the same
As in the years gone by.
~Ki no Tsurayuki
The video below was created by Yoshiyuki Katayama and cited at Aeon.com. Please gift yourself with this amazing visual journey with nature.
A term introduced by the Baltic German biologist Jakob von Uexküll in 1909, Umwelt refers to an organism’s internal and limited perceptual experience of the external world. This stunning experimental exploration of the concept from the Japanese artist Yoshiyuki Katayama contrasts flowers blooming at time-lapse speeds with insects and spiders atop them, captured in real time. As these two organisms move at what appear to be similar speeds, the viewer is reminded of the disparate timescales on which they usually operate, and the very different evolutionary goals that they pursue even as they interact with one another.
Umwelt from Yoshiyuki KATAYAMA on Vimeo.
“Nothing can exist by itself alone. It has to depend on every other thing. That is called inter-being. … Looking deeply into a flower, we see that the flower is made of non-flower elements. We can describe the flower as being full of everything. There is nothing that is not present in the flower. We see sunshine, we see the rain, we see clouds, we see the earth, and we also see time and space in the flower. A flower, like everything else, is made entirely of non-flower elements. The whole cosmos has come together in order to help the flower manifest itself. The flower is full of everything except one thing: a separate self, a separate identity.” (Thich Nhat Hanh, No Death, No Fear, pp 47-48)
Chasing a butterfly
Deep into the spring woods
I am lost ~Sugita Hisajo (M Ueda, Far Beyond the Field)
Submitted in response to a Lost in Translation challenge
Thousands of tree-bodies and mine.
Leaves are waving,
ears hear the stream’s call,
eyes see into the sky of mind,
a half-smile unfolds on every leaf.
There is a forest here
because I am here.
But mind has followed the forest
and clothed itself in green. ~Thich Nhat Hanh*
May Peace Prevail On Earth
*cited: Thich Nhat Hanh, The Sun My Heart
Minnows are helpless
Caught in the branches of a tree
Set out to lure them,
So we too are tangled
In the snare of ignorance. ~Lord Toshiyori (Trans: N Yuasa, The Year of My Life)
A bamboo sprout
Picked too soon-
It would bloom in glory
But for man
~Issa (trans: N Yuasa: The Year of My Life)
In the above haiku, Issa has written about imaginary blossoms. Yuasa notes that bamboo sprouts are harvested when they are young and soft and that they bear no flowers even if they are left to grow. After: “alternative facts” Before: “imaginary blossoms”