Fairytale Swans – Monochrome Madness Week 34

monochrome image of two mute swans swimming under treesClick on image for larger view.

At the beginning of August I featured the color version of this image, which I’ve included again below, but since it lent itself so well to black and white I decided to submit it to this week’s Monochrome Madness Challenge on Leanne Cole’s blog (click here to visit this week’s eclectic collection of great images).

While visiting the grounds of a small French chateau that was being restored, we found these two swans swimming at one end of a pond, where a a group of very old cedar trees leaned over the water, draping their branches close to the surface and obscuring most of the light. But a few small shafts of sunlight succeeded in penetrating the gloom, spotlighting the swans and reflecting some of theΒ  light onto the tree trunks. I fired off a couple of quick shots before the swans moved out of the light, but I wasn’t optimistic about the results as my camera really struggles with low light situations, and I didn’t have time to set up a tripod even if I’d had one with me. But when I saw the image on my computer I was enchanted, and I found myself wishing I’d spent more time trying for different angles, just to see what might have come out of it. In any case, I love this shot. I love the green glow in the color version; the spotlighting of the swans; the reflected light; the way both swans appear to be checking out their own reflections; the serenity of it… I don’t think I could have designed the scene more perfectly, and I absolutely didn’t manipulate it in post processing, which was minimal — just minor, very basic Lightroom on a RAW image stuff. Well, okay I did pop the green a tiny amount in the color version, but really very little. I can’t decide if I like this one or the color one more. I really like the effect of the green from the moss and foliage which enhances the glow in the color image, and the pop of color of the swan’s bills, yet I think the black and white version works well, too. The emphasis in each feels different to me…possibly more about the swans in the monochrome, and more about the whole scene in the color one? Any opinions?

Two swans swimming in the dark


21 thoughts on “Fairytale Swans – Monochrome Madness Week 34

  1. I think that the word “enchanting” describes both beautifully… when I saw the black and white, the first thing that I thought of was: this reminds me of the photos out of a very, very old fairy tale book from my childhood.


    • Your comment is interesting. In my MMC post, I started out by suggesting there might be something sinister in the darkness, because that was what the B&W image felt like. Then I decided not to include that sentence and deleted it. I guess we think along the same lines, Chris… πŸ™‚


  2. One of those shots to die for Katrina. How perfect and how lucky to have spotted them and catch them at the right time. Just magical and one of those special shots that you will remember.


    • I agree, in the monochrome version the emphasis was definitely on the swans, whereas in the color version it was more on the whole image IMO. I find it interesting that the same image can give such different impressions just by adding or removing color… Thanks for visiting and weighing in with your preference. πŸ™‚


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