tulipmania #3

Bellevue Downtown | April 2012

another year, another crop of Tulips and yet another attempt at photographing them. The center of attraction, that draws tens of thousands of people is Skagit Valley, Mt Vernon ( around an hour’s drive from Seattle ) which have large farms growing these. You don’t really have to go that far though, a walk in any part of the city, this time of the year will surely lead you to them. You would think that flowers and colors go hand in hand and black and white might not work that well. I thought the same till I did the conversion and then was not able to decide which to choose. Here is the mono version of the same:

Tulips in mono | Downtown Bellevue | April 2012


1. photos of Tulips are beaten to death, infinity times and yet it doesn’t stop people from photographing them again. Why ?

2. which version do you prefer and could that preference be explained (as opposed to being just a gut feeling) ?

17 thoughts on “tulipmania #3

  1. For these two images, I like the color more. I don’t think the image is contrasty enough for the black and white. Though possibly in post you can try and bring out the blooms more. With the incredible variety, rich and varied colors, the way this beautiful bold flower sits high above on a tall strong stalk – I can appreciate the craze for tulips. Nice image.

    • There is no doubt that they are indeed a wonderful subject. I just think that the oversupply of not so flattering photographs of it somewhat dulled my interest in it. I think the trick is to somehow disassociate with all those images in mind and approach it as a fresh subject – always easier said than done. The tulips are gone and I already miss and look forward to next years crop :)

    • It is indeed amazing how many colors they come in (including the mix and match versions). You make an interesting point about what makes a god picture versus what appeals more. I think I know what you mean.

  2. 1. In my opinion, because they are so beautiful, colorful and have such variety.
    2. With tulips, I prefer color. That is usually what determines if I’m drawn to them…seeing the variety and vibrancy of colors.

    • no denying that tulips are lovely but what amazes me is the craze with which people are drawn to it – the crowd, the traffic, its all chaotic during these weekends. On a more personal level, even though I haven’t photographed tulips that much, I feel daunted just at the thought. I kind of draw a blank on what I want to achieve with them. For most subjects I have some preconceived plans on how and what I want to photograph. With tulips I kind of know even while shooting that I will be disappointed at end.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. In spite of all this, I am still searching and photographing tulips :)

  3. I prefer the color version. I like the translucence of the petals and blades of grass. The light also enhances the colors of the tulips and the lines of the image, making more visible the patterns of the tulip which are, interestingly, paralleled in the grass.

    • amazing , what each of us can find , a bit of unique perspective in the same photograph. I myself had not seen the patterns on the tulips match the patterns in the grass. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. They are very insightful.

  4. I loved both of them. :) When I observe the colored one, I don’t want to go to the B&W one. And when I observe the B&W, it holds me just there. :) Beautiful photos. Great!

    • Black and White images in general simplify some aspects which lets us focus more on other aspects. And you are right the lighting then pulls our attention.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for checking out my blog. Hope to see you around !

  5. I prefer the colored version. It’s so vibrant and alive. The b&w is good, too, but I just feel like it’s not the kind of photo that looks better in b&w. I think it’s because those tulips don’t make for a melancholic subject matter. :)

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts and why you prefer the color version. It’s an interesting observation that you think black and white to you conveys a bit deeper and darker side of things.

      I don’t have an example at hand right now, but some of the masters earlier have taken tulips (and for that matter any flower) and converted them into beautiful monochrome work of art. Could it be that its a limitation of our vision with Black and White ?

      • The two images you posted above are both beautiful. There’s beauty in both the vibrant and the dark, no question about that. :) I wouldn’t say it’s a limitation of our vision with black & white, because for me, photos evoke emotions, not visions (but that’s just me, I don’t know how else other people perceive photos). Black & white photos just seem more melancholic for me, and it’s not a conscious decision on my part to see them that way. It’s just how I feel the moment I look at them. That’s not to say that there are no sad colored pics or happy black & white. It just so happens that a black & white pic, more often than not, evokes a certain mood of sadness. It works for many photos, but I think a picture of blooming tulips should be a happy pic — unless, of course, you want to go for a mutely dramatic shot. :)

        • first a clarification: I was referring to the photographer’s vision (here that would be me ) and not the viewers vision …i.e my limitations in presenting black and white versus what a master craftsmen might do to the same subject in black and white.

          That black and white appears more melancholic to you (and as you say mostly, but not always) is your personal observation and I think this is also the case with a lot of people that I have happened to talk to regarding this. As for me, I have not yet come to this conclusion personally. I am still experimenting and my final choice (between color and mono) is a more complicated internalized process than I can verbalize here :)

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