Question about shading in a black and white photo. Would you please help me?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Firsk, Feb 13, 2012.

  1. Firsk

    Firsk TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for reading this. I have a question about a black and white photo. I am trying to figure out why the trunk of a tree, which is in the light, appears coal-black.

    You can find the picture on this link. You'll have to scroll down:

    JFK Special: Oswald was the man in the Doorway, after all! - The Education Forum - Page 33

    It is a famous photo from the JFK Assassination. I need to know why that tree looks ghostly black when it was a sunny day. If you have any idea, please respond. Thank you.


     
  2. SCraig

    SCraig Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    If you mean the tree in post #484 it is in deep shadow and was printed on high-contrast paper for newspaper use.
     
  3. Firsk

    Firsk TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for responding. The thing is that the tree as a whole wasn't in shadow. I suppose you could say that canopy was shading the trunk. Is that what you mean? But you could say that about every tree with a canopy, and they don't all appear coal-black because of it. Is there something about high-contrast paper that exaggerates the contrast?
     
  4. analog.universe

    analog.universe TPF Noob!

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    :shock:
     
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  5. SCraig

    SCraig Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Yes, there is. Lithograph film that they used to use for newsprint photographs had very high contrast. Mid tones would shift either toward the white or black end with very little in the way of actual gray tones. Look at the shadows on the faces, the suits they are wearing, and the face of the black woman just in front of JFK. Those should be far less dark than they are. It's just a very high-contrast print.
     
  6. Firsk

    Firsk TPF Noob!

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    SCraig, I am deeply grateful for your analysis. You have no idea how important this is. And if you would, please let me ask you another question about the same picture. Besides the tree trunk looking artificially coal-black, the skin below the neck on some of the subjects, also looks coal-black. Would this be the same phenomenon?
     
  7. Firsk

    Firsk TPF Noob!

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    Please look at the man next to the white column. He is known as the Doorway Man. For 48 years, there has been controversy as to whether he was Lee Harvey Oswald or another guy named Billy Lovelady. I am convinced that it was Oswald. But, I want you to look at his t-shirt. Notice that it's v-shaped. That was a match to Oswald but not to Lovelady, who wore a roundneck t-shirt. But some are saying that the shape of the t-shirt in the picture is actually an illusion, that the shadow from the chin is laying down shade that is distorting the shape. I say that the t-shirt looks v-shaped because it was v-shaped. What do you think?
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2012
  8. Bossy

    Bossy No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I totally saw that coming ^^^
     
  9. Bossy

    Bossy No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You can't see the shape of his shirt. What you're seeing is the shadow from his face.
     
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  10. Firsk

    Firsk TPF Noob!

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    OK, but let me ask you something else. There seems to be some anomalies in the picture. Why is the one guy headless when he seems to shielding his eyes from the sun? How could his head be totally invisible? And there is something in front of him, a white splotch, and it looks like it may be covering a man's face. Do you see it? What do you think it is? And the hair of the African American woman, why is it so bizarre? And finally, there is a figure crammed up next to Doorway Man. Some say that it is another man, but the figure consists of two white stripes and a bulb. What do you think it is?
     
  11. Bossy

    Bossy No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Its not that complicated. Sun creates shadows. Shadows are harsher, AKA darker, when contrast is bumped. You're not seeing anything with any sense of realism. Guys face is hidden by the shadow his hands created. Hair of woman is what it is. Someone is standing behind dude in doorway. Its not like the image *you* are looking at is super high res.
     
  12. SCraig

    SCraig Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Well, I have no intention in getting involved in a discussion on a near 50-year-old conspiracy theory, however everything you have mentioned can easily be caused from thee use of high-contrast printing. Looking at the photograph it is easy to see that the contrast is extremely high as I have already said. It is my opinion, for what little that is worth, that the v-neck on the shirt is in fact being caused by a shadow from his chin. That does not mean that it is NOT a v-neck shirt, only that it can't be told from the photograph because of the shadow. The black woman's hair is not necessarily bizarre but is blending into a shadow beside her.

    It is overall a poor photograph, quite possibly a single frame from a movie camera. It is not clear nor in good focus. It is excessively high contrast. All of these factors preclude being able to pick out detail in the photograph.
     
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