How to express darkness?

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How to express darkness?

Postby Anders Wahlund » Fri Mar 05, 2021 2:50 am

As a kid I was afraid in the dark, as many others. Later in my life, I have rather enjoyed to be out alone at night in the forest. It is maybe not so easy to see anymore, but other senses get stronger.

In the early morning or late evening there is a poor light. Even in the middle of the night it is seldom so dark that you can’t seeing anything. But how do we experience seeing in a very low light? And, how to create an image that expresses this feeling, that something is happening in the dark? This is something I have been thinking of a long time.

I thought it was easier to write down my thinking on my website (my poor website I started with but maybe manage to update two times a year) than directly here on CNP.

As with all photography, there are no laws of what is right or wrong. We all take in visual impressions differently, depending on physical factors, earlier experience etc, so it would be strange if we then all perceive the same. But I am rather curious how you experience seeing in low light. And how you believe this could be expressed also in images. I am thankful for every input.
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Re: How to express darkness?

Postby Ganesh H Shankar » Fri Mar 05, 2021 6:41 am

Anders, I just went through your blog post, nicely written and the challenges well articulated. This reminds of some experiments I was doing in 2007. Here is a blog I wrote then (my website is very poor). The nearest attempt I made to what you described was to make an image of the rising moon over a river (small image in my blog at the end).

BTW, I think in the last but one image in your blog of the deer you are very close. I think you managed to portray the feeling of the night very well in that. Yes, it is very hard to convey the mood of the night. Probably 90% of the mood can not be translated due to technical limitations. Of course cooler breeze and flowing wind are part of that night experience which does not get represented in pixels. I think size of the final output also matters lot when it comes to immersive feeling.

The other observation you made in the post:

Light has no colour but comes in different wavelength. The wavelengths we are able to see with our eyes will be interpret by our brain, into different colours.

This is very interesting to me for another reason (since I don't want to miss an opportunity to doubt Darwin's theory). How did nature arrive at marvelous design for eyes and ears for different life forms?

Why do giraffes have long necks? No, they did not in the beginning. Due to mutation one of them got a long neck that was advantageous and the feature got passed on. Today all giraffes have long neck.

Now, why did (probably some) life forms started seeing colors? How these animals developed marvelous 'eyes' and 'ears'?

No, they didn't in the beginning. Due to mutations over millions of years different life forms developed capabilities in the the organs like eyes and ears and they got passed on the next generation.

This common line of argument for every unsolved mystery of evolutionary process in nature appears very unaesthetic. Only thing that saves such theories is "millions of years of slow change" which can't be reliably verified. This discussion also gets hijacked by creationism vs. Darwinism arguments. Anyone who suspects Darwinism will be branded as a creationist!

I guess there must be a better, more aesthetic explanation of evolution which is still rooted in reasoning and science. If we can't find one, that is good too. The mystery of the nature prevails.

On a lighter note, hopefully physics did not undergo mutation to suit the life forms :)
Ganesh H. Shankar
Wishing you best light,

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