Did you ever read Edgar Allen Poe’s detective story called ‘The Purloined Letter’? Essentially Poe reveals that sometimes the best place to hide something is in plain view.
Two days ago (Thursday June 22, 2017) in Tracking the Light I posted a subtle puzzle called:
While on the surface this was a comparison between black & white and color images; in fact it was a more complex comparison between similar photographs.
One clue was the following, “I wonder how many viewers will notice the fundamental difference between the digital photograph and the film images?”
The other major clue was in the title, “Two Takes, Four Views.”
A little background. On May 16, 2017 I made the color photo of New England Central GP38 3809 leading train 608 upgrade. A few days later, I was following the same train with the same locomotive-consist and I had the opportunity to return to Bridge Street and make another image from the same location. Rather than repeat my efforts in color, I opted to make a black & white photograph with my Leica.
The secret: The fundamental difference between the images is that they were exposed on different days.
Thus there are subtle differences in the angle of the camera to the train, the lighting (higher in the B&W photo as a result of being exposed about an hour later), the locomotive exhaust is different (which several viewers commented on), the train consist itself is different (although the locomotives are the same), and in the elapsed days between images the leaves on the trees had grown to obscure more the track in the distance (which is why it is more difficult to see the freight cars in the black & white views).
Admittedly, by comparing color with black & white it was easy to steer many viewers from observing the other, and more subtle, differences between the black & white and color images. I further hid my secret by directing the observer to study variations in tonality between the three variations in the B&W images.
Would you have noticed more quickly if the leading locomotive had been a different engine in the color view?
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Oh, and by the way, I prefer the color view over the black & white, the light was much nicer.