About making pictures   - luminance study by  Waeshael


how luminance differences produce motion

Monet has created movement in the water and the sun by reducing the luminance differences between the red and blue. In the grayscale conversion you see that there is almost no contrast between the red reflections in the water and the blue water. Same for the red sun in the blue sky. In the painting the color differences have been maximized and we immediately latch onto them. Our eyes begin to wobble as they search for the edges of the sun and the edges of the reflections in the water in order to place them geographically in the scene. But the eyes can find no edges to fixate on, and so they hunt around, and this motion of our eyes creates the idea that these objects are in motion (in the brain.) The water seems to shimmer.  In comparison, the high contrast between the boat and the water creates edges that the eye can focus on, and can place the boat in space. It is with a sense of relief that we can center our attention on the boat.

In our photography we can achieve a similar effect by temporarily converting to grayscale and then adjusting the luminance values of the colors in the original.

Claude Monet Impression-Sunrise

Luminance study