Shades of Gray

Shot of the Month – October 2016

Spider Web, Vermont (0374)


Last month’s image was a cacophony of color amongst the trees.  This month’s image captures the quiet stillness of shades of gray by the waters edge.  I love how the image transitions from pure white in the upper left corner through shades of gray to deep black in the lower right corner of the image. On this sunless morning in Vermont the lake was quiet and there was no wildlife to be found.  While drifting along in my kayak, with not much to do, I came upon this spider’s web and decided to experiment and see what I could come up with.  While shooting this image my main focus was on trying to capture the glistening dew drops on the spider’s lair.  I paddled around and around trying every position imaginable until I found the angle that worked best.  The image was shot with a point-and-shoot camera (Canon G1X).

Converting the photo to black and white was rather easy given that there was virtually no color to be found in the scene.  Other than the two corners, most of the image is filled with shades of gray.

Turns out that creating gray can be a rather complicated affair. In the art world painters create different shades of gray by mixing black and white paint in different proportions.  Want a darker gray?  Add more black.  Lighter gray?  Add more white.  You get the idea.  A mixture of just black and white creates a “neutral gray”.  Add a bit of yellow, orange or red and you can add a warm cast and create a “warm gray”. Add a bit of green, blue, or violet and you can get a “cool gray”.

In the world of print the CMYK color model is used — cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.  All colors are made from a combination of these four colors.  To make gray you add equal amounts of cyan, magenta and yellow.

TV and computer screens use a RGB color model – red, green and blue.  Red, green and blue light at full intensity on the black screen makes white; by lowering the intensity one can create shades of gray.

On this particular day mother nature made graduations of gray by blocking out the sun with a heavy shroud of fog with a dab of dew thrown in for good measure.



I have to say, I am a big fan of her work……


Until next month…


Canon Powershot G1 X, @ 17.2 mm, f/5.6, 1/60 s, ISO 200,