Moo, Bamboo And You

I’m post-processing some photos with the intention of ordering postcards from Moo. (Wanna discount code, anyone? If you haven’t bought from them before and buy using the code EA2A2G before Jan 31, you get 20% off and I get a Flickr Pro account to replace my expired one, so it’s win-win.) And since the last time I asked you all for photography feedback the results were so interesting, I thought I’d get your views again.

Which version of this photo (snapped in the Arashiyama district of Kyoto) do you prefer? And if you were processing it, would you increase the contrast between the ray of light and the dark of the forest more than I have? Any other feedback on the photos or the processing is totally welcome, of course!

Ray (colour)

Ray (black and white)


  1. I really like the colour one as is.. stole the photo off your site to play around with the curves ‘cos I’m incapable of visualising what it’d look like with more contrast etc.. But I converted it to b/w using an infrared filter (then adjusted it a little using curves) and I think it helps the b/w version by keeping some highlights in the bamboo.

  2. i like how you’ve cropped the photo in a manner which keeps the dragons out of shot, although, i think i can see the warrior princess and her phalanx of ninjas in the colour photograph (one of them is wearing a seiko).

    i love the jade/emerald bamboo forest- it’s beautiful, if only the flowers were a little brighter- but then again maybe then i’d be standing in a disney movie.


  3. I prefer the first photo. Mostly because it conveys to me a sense of hope. The contrast between the rays of light and the darkened forests brings out how the bamboos are all around. With the ray of light penetrating, it means the little bushes get a chance to grow up as well.

    The black and white is nice, but somehow doesn’t convey that feeling as well as the first one.

  4. I prefer the first photo as well. I think the color gives the picture more depth — and it also just looks so much more alive. I wouldn’t increase the contrast anymore for fear of washing out the leaves that the light is shining on… pretty photo!

  5. Sorry I took a few days to respond to some of these comments. I was too busy reading the wonderfully detailed photo-processing treatise w. wrote in an email to me and researching little things she mentioned. Thanks, w.!

    brian: Yes, I’m glad you picked up on those things. It was also difficult to time the photo. Every now and then a line of three totoros would amble through it, and then when I thought they had left, a huge speeding cat bus tore through the scene. I just wanted a simple ray of light photo without all these distractions!

    Liv: Wow, I love your take on the photo and never looked at it that way! I saw it quite simplistically as “ooo, ray of light, dark forest!” and didn’t even think about what was being spotlighted.

    Becky: Yup, I was also concerned about washing out the bright bits and didn’t want to overdo it. I like the photo but it still doesn’t do justice to the forest. :)

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