Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Fort-uitous Surprise

To quote Col. Hannibal Smith from the A-Team: "I love it when a plan comes together."

At least after the fact.

Back to the vacation images and started reviewing the frames from our approach into Charlotte Amalie, the territorial capital of the US Virgin Islands located in St. Thomas.  There are a couple of islands nestled in St. Thomas Harbour, the closest of which I learned is Hassel Island.  

As is easy to understand in retrospect, Hassel Island offered an ideal location for military fortifications back in the day ("the day" being 1802), guarding the harbour entrance against incoming marauders (the earliest "cruise ships").  To that end you can see the ruins along the southeastern shore resting in stark contrast to the luxury of our vessel, and the solitude of the Caribbean island town ahead.

If anything, the Caribbean is know for its color.  Beautiful blue skies, turquoise waters, with the countryside a (dare I say) verdant yellow and green.  Makes sense here in St. Thomas where apparently 9-months of the year it's officially "wet season."

And so it makes perfect sense for me to turn that on its head and go Hard Core Monochrome thusly...

Fort Willoughby, Hassel Island

The original, which I'm not posting, had all the color characteristics you would expect.  And while nice and inviting, that's not what I saw.  Consider the light, playing in and out of the clouds to the east.  This created a beautiful, albeit intermittent, spotlight effect on what I learned is Fort Willoughby, perched at the island's corner.  Likewise alternately casting the mountainsides in brightness and shadow ("chiaroscuro" if you want to get all fancy).  Then there is that Big Freaking Cloud, positively glowing but ominous at the same time.  Light, dark, ominisosity.  Not to mention the fact that we're looking at ruins here.

It practically screams "toss the color, make 'er black and white".

So while I did originally plan for a B&W image the surprise I alluded to in the title is not the processing decision but rather the intensity of it, and that it quickly became one of my favorite images I've ever developed.  Yay, me.  Tagged the crap out of it before sending it out into the world in hopes that it may see a life in stock agencies (submissions pending).

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