Day 21: Redux.

Remember this picture from Day 17?

Day 17 - Bayeux cafe and street

While searching through my pictures, I found the same scene shot in color with my Canon digital camera:

Day 21 - Bayeux cafe color

It’s a totally different picture, isn’t it? Even beyond the obvious differences (color, slightly wider shot), it conveys a very different sense of time and place. There are things in this picture that I like very much that are absent in the film version. I love the burst of the cigarette end and the sharpness of the light reflections. The colors – other than that sudden pop of yellow in the foreground – are muted and yet they seem vibrant because of the bright sunshine.

The film version naturally can’t covey the colors, and there’s less crispness to it. But it also seems to capture more than just colors and details. I feel like I can see a soul in that picture, a feeling that I’m witnessing a moment that is both timeless and ethereal. It’s just a second in the lives of all of us – the friends at the table, the pedestrians walking up the street, the tourist with a couple of cameras. And yet, how many times has this scene been – or will be – played out? This particular moment may have ended, but it’s not over; it’s only one instance of a long stream of moments just like this, just different times and places.

That’s according the film picture, anyway.

I wanted to try a more direct comparison, so I altered the color image to look as much as the film image as I could get using my Corel software.

To wit:

Day 17 - Bayeux cafe and street

Film.

Day 21 - Bayeux cafe digital

Digital.

They still feel like very different images to me, though I don’t feel confident in my ability to express exactly what they might be. There are deeper shadows and some areas of blurriness that make the film look different from the digital, but do they feel different?

What do you think? Are they the same or different? Do you have a preference?

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7 comments on “Day 21: Redux.

  1. margaret21 says:

    Different. I can’t do photo-speak, so you’ll have to make do with ordinary person-next-door type explanations. As far as the 2 black and white shots go, yes it’s the film version every time. It seems to be a study in timelessness, whereas the digital B&W is, well, just a snapshot, in which the star-bursts of brightness – as in the blind and one of the shop-fronts – are something of a distraction. Although I like your colour picture too, it’s the B&W film version I’d be keeping in my album as a memory of that day: a souvenir of a French provincial town sometime near the turn of the millennium

  2. Lenore Diane says:

    I like the car in the background of the digital. I assume the car was moving, because it is not in the shot of the ‘film’. The reason I like the car is because of the sun’s reflection off the window and body. Very interesting to see these pictures side by side, so to speak. I like both.

    • limr says:

      I can’t remember if that car was moving or if it’s just a slightly different angle, but yeah – there are definitely more reflection and bright spots in the digital, and it caught different surfaces.

  3. Annie says:

    It’s amazing, because they look like they could have been taken 50 years apart.

    I love photography but need to learn a ton! 🙂

    • limr says:

      That’s what amazed me about seeing the pictures side by side. I wish I could better understand the technical differences. I’ve “studied” a little about what I’m actually doing with the camera, but when push comes to shove, I tend to just shoot by feel, which is probably why I’m so inconsistent. Maybe this summer I’ll finally be able to take the photography course at my college. I’ve had my eye on it for years!

  4. AEG says:

    Reblogged this on Filmosaur and commented:
    The film image is so evocative you can almost smell the coffee and cigarettes. It almost makes me feel like I was there with you….

    • limr says:

      Wait, that wasn’t you? Was it your evil twin? But you had a beard, not a goatee. Should I start looking around in greenhouses for pods?

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