calm before the storm 2

Sydney March 2014 (2 images)

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore (2002)***

calm before the storm

Near the break of an autumn dawn, the relatively calm reflection of the sky in the small rockpool distracts momentarily from the menace of the incoming storm.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I process my images to how I want them to look in colour first. Then I process further in black and white as a separate step. I never use the in camera black and white option. I had no intention originally to take the extra step to black and white with this one, but with the Ryu theme I’m using, the first photo determines the background colour of the page, and if I only had the colour photo it would have been very difficult reading white text on a bright blue background, so out of necessity I opted to indulge in a black and white image a la Ansel Adams. I’ll leave you to decide which one you prefer.

*** The above quote is not about a physical storm. Rather it is a reflection upon an inner symbolic storm, so it also fits in with the reflection theme well. Here’s the relevant passage if you’re interested:

“Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That’s the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.

And you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.

And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

Photography Etcetera, Sony Etcetera

The calm before the storm


107 thoughts on “The calm before the storm

  1. They are both interesting and there is enough texture in the B&W version for it to work very well, but my preference is for the colour version if only for the golden streak on the horizon. Love the quote and passage too.
    Jude xx

  2. The B&W is very powerful, like a thousand razor blades… For the inner storm, I’d like to see some colors, the gold light seems very hopeful. Thank you for sharing your insights and wisdom, Dragon!

    • As a school teacher once said to me, when being deliberately overly dramatic, “May a thousand fleas invest your armpit!”. The image has that kind of feel to it, doesn’t it? 🙂

  3. Hi, while I like the colour shot, for my taste I think you’ve gone way over the top with post production on the B/W.
    I’m pretty sure Ansell Adams would agree. 🙂

    • Fair call. The colour version I processed to the point I wanted it to look like. I found the text and would have stopped there but I previewed the post and it was unreadable so I needed a B&W version. That was done with the words of the passage freshly resounding in my mind. Overdone? No doubt, but I wanted it to be dramatic. 🙂 Thanks.

    • I haven’t read Kafka on the shore, but I think I will buy it. It does sound interesting.

      Your comment about his words lingering is interesting. Particularly as I read this comment last night:
      In an interview posted on his English language website, Murakami says that the secret to understanding the novel lies in reading it several times: “Kafka on the Shore contains several riddles, but there aren’t any solutions provided. Instead, several of these riddles combine, and through their interaction the possibility of a solution takes shape. And the form this solution takes will be different for each reader. To put it another way, the riddles function as part of the solution. It’s hard to explain, but that’s the kind of novel I set out to write”.

      • Thanks for sharing his interview. All of his book that I read was in Thai language including Kafka on the shore. For his words that are still on my mind has come from Norwegian woods talking about Life and Death.

  4. Fine work, Mr. Dragon. I’m preferring the B&W because of the storm narrative. Blue can’t carry the weight of the words you’ve included.
    How incredible to have vistas like this as a part of your regular life.

    • Thanks kindly. I did want the monochrome version to be dramatic. Now if only I knew how to use photoshop – perhaps a ringwraith or archangel would not be out of place. 🙂

      Over here the sun rises over water, but I rarely have the time to photograph it. I should put a bit more effort into getting up earlier.

  5. I love the BW image, Draco… the pouring rain in the distance adds so much drama, along with the storm clouds… love the texture in the foreground, it makes it all so tactile, like I’m there… like it’s my personal storm inside me… love the quote… this book has been on my book shelf for some time now, maybe now I’m going to read it…

    I always read the other comments too.. I love the color version too, but I don’t see the gold light hopeful.. it’s like the rain is going to blacken it every minute now… it’s fascinating, we all interpret what we see through our own experience and perspective… no hope in my storms I guess 🙂

    • Thanks, I really tried to bring out the drama in monochrome and the majesty in the colour version. There’s always two ways at least to interpret a scene. A half filled glass – is it half full or half empty?

      I also have a bookcase filled with books I’ve always meant to have read. Life is like that…

      Have a wonderful weekend ahead. 🙂

  6. la foto in bianco e nero è davvero impressionante, sembra aver risucchiato tutti i colori….per fortuna si torna al colore, e torna la pace nel cuore
    straordinaria la citazione
    felice giorno

    the black-and-white picture is really impressive, seems to have sucked all the colors … thankfully it’s back to color, and return peace to the heart
    great quote
    happy day

  7. I love both photos, but I must say the black and white one takes the cake for me. The clouds look so ominous, as if they’re gonna fall into the ocean at any second. I love the quote. It reminds me of this cheesy quote about self reflection: “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain.” 🙂

  8. Wow both are stunning. I’m having a hard time choosing my favourite. I do love the colour version but the B&W is so dramatic and fits the scene so well. I’m leaning towards the B&W but know that this was difficult 🙂

  9. “When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”…Beautiful post, i enjoyed reading it! I loved the colored version more as the clouds are incredible! Such a lovely scenery…makes you wish you could just teleport there in that moment.

  10. Oh my goodness, those clouds – I love them! 😀 You can tell I have a thing for clouds can’t you?! They almost look like a painting in the black and white one. I like both of them, they are different, and both really stunning!!

  11. kuujinbo says:

    Beautiful photo. For me the photo looks equally good in both color *and* black and white because they each have a distinct mood. 🙂

    Kafka on the Shore is my favorite book by Murakami by a small margin over ‘The Elephant Vanishes’. Coincidentally, I received ‘Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman’ today, which I’m looking forward to reading tomorrow. 🙂

  12. I thought about your blog theme earlier. I thought that if I was going to change it again that it may very well be to this one 🙂 I don’t have to say how much I love these two shots, and this time I really hate having to pick the favourite. Thank you for the images and storm quotes – I knew it wasn’t about physical storm. (I enjoy hanging out on your blog)

    • Thank you Paula. It’s always a pleasure to see you here. You don’t really have to choose between the two. 🙂

      It’s funny. When I chose the Ryu theme, it was about the 200th most popular theme. Now it’s the 8th most popular theme. I’m not sure if I should stay with it because it works, or change because I want to be different. 🙂

  13. I like the colour version more, but I am thankful indeed for a calm background colour on the blog! It could work either way though, a personal choice indeed. I too like that particular passage in the book, Kafka on the Shore is one of my favourite books. Murakami actually holds three positions on my favourite list since I also like Norwegian Wood and Underground (about the sarin gas attack in the Tokyo underground. Was a tad disappointed though in 1Q84… Anyway, thanks for the post and the quote!

    • I guess that quote will resonate with many and for each the storm will have a different path and consequence. No need for me to say any more than that.

      It has never been my intention to sell my photography but I suppose it is something I could look into. It would have to be value for money and I would need to have almost full control over the printed quality production in order to feel I am giving my best. Time, or lack thereof, is a major factor for me. Thank you Sheri.

  14. I like both versions of the photo a lot – the black and white because it’s more dramatic, and the color version again has a softer feel and such beautiful colors. I enjoyed the story, it’s great!

  15. LB says:

    The photo is wonderful, but the writing even better, as all of us at some point have to get through the storm. And as you noted, we get through but we are changed.

  16. “like pulverized bones”… you talking about my mom’s hips? lol… i’m laughing now because i walked out of the storm (my mom’s incident) phew! yup a changed person. i realised more than ever that life is fragile.

    i like both versions but i lean towards the colour. i like to think there’s beauty in every trial and the soft colours yet rich and vivid colours in your photo is soothing, somehow comforting… it seemed to be saying “its over, everything’s okay now.”

  17. Incredible! So beautiful, images and text… For me the tone and impact of the text changes whether accompanied by colour or black and white, but both work equally well.

  18. Pingback: The Calm Before the Storm | we stutter and we dont care

The Wood Dragon is listening...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.