On the Bus, Revisited

When I’m asked to recall a window, I’m drawn to this, a lone woman’s melancholy gaze breaking through the reflection of clouds on a bus window. It’s one of my all-time favorite shots, captured spontaneously while waiting for a red light to turn green at an intersection in Belgrade, Serbia, back in May 2007.

I’ve posted the color version before [and here and here and here]; prompted by this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge –the theme is Window— I decided to spend a few minutes playing with it in monochrome. You know, so I could post it again. 🙂

It’s difficult to pull off to equal effect. In the mono version, it’s not clear to me that the reflections are clouds. They almost look more like smoke. I do like the full black to full white range, and the gray does give both women’s expressions–melancholy on one, casual indifference on the other– a certain timeless quality.


On the Bus, Beograd, Serbia, 29-May-2007
On the Bus, Beograd, Serbia, 29-May-2007
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  1. Sas says

    The monochrome looks really good, but I also like the yellow in the second one. Maybe you could try black and white with just the yellow highlighted, and pick out a couple of other things in yellow? Great photo whichever way though 🙂

    1. BobR says

      Thanks. 🙂 I’m very used to seeing it in color, so can’t quite adjust to the mono yet. I like your single color splash/highlight suggestion, but that’s well beyond my image editing capabilities. I’m much the simpleton when it comes to that. 🙂

  2. ailsapm says

    Beautiful, Bob. My favourite is the b/w version, it makes the viewer work harder and lends mystique that is quite magical.

    1. BobR says

      I’m having a hard time leaning that way, but it is slowly growing on me. I might have to work on it a bit more.
      Hope all’s well!

  3. jazzytower says

    It is beautiful. I wonder what she was thinking about.

    1. BobR says

      That is the 64,000 Euro question. 🙂 Probably, ‘Why is that freak taking a photo of me?’ 🙂

      1. jazzytower says

        LOL. Probably. LOL.

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  5. Les Petits Pas de Juls says

    I’m a fan of this picture, in color or in black&white. it’s a terrific shot!

    1. BobR says

      Thanks! Have you received any mail from Slovenia lately? 🙂

      1. Les Petits Pas de Juls says

        Our friends who take care of the appartment while we’re travelling are supposed to tell us when the mail arrives… It usually takes a long time… As soon as they tell me, I’ll tell you! I can’t wait to see it, even from a distance (as we currently are back in Punta Arenas!)

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  7. Chris Breebaart says

    amazing shot

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  10. Susan at Resale Evangelista says

    I like both, but the color version focuses more closely on the woman deep in thought. I also like the color version because it is so nearly monochromatic. You’re right, the clouds are a little more distinct in that version but I had no trouble in the B&W version identifying them as reflections of clouds. Great that you had your camera ready for this fleeting moment. Susan

    1. BobR says

      Good to know how you perceived the clouds, thanks. I’m probably over-analyzing at this point. 🙂

  11. MJWC1 says

    The differing views are interesting, aren’t they?

    I prefer the monochrome. The reflections are undoubtedly clouds (I had no thought that they might be anything else) and I think the yellow lines on the colour version, while striking, distract the viewer’s gaze from the woman’s eyes, which are the ultimate subject of the photo. The monochrome also brings out the melancholy more acutely.

    Beautiful photo either way.

    1. BobR says

      Thanks, I’m feeling better about the clouds now in the mono. And I’m beginning to lean towards this one myself. Appreciate your thoughts, thanks again.

  12. Oloriel says

    I like both of them,but I prefer the mono, because MONO! 🙂 I do not just love the expression of the women and the reflected clouds, but I must also note the other lady, one with the fan and the sunglasses. Don’t know, I guess I like her because she says “Home” to me, I see her as a representative of what I will always encounter on a bus to Zeleni venac. She is the Madam, an archetype, a figure – maybe too hard to explain, but I am just delighted to be able to expirience her as another detail of the photo.

    1. BobR says

      Hello and thanks, I agree – the woman on the right provides a great contrast and balance here. I wonder what if anything they talked about? 🙂

      I haven’t been to Beograd in several years now but had a fantastic time the couple times I was there. Maybe it’ll be time for a return sometime this year.

      1. Oloriel says

        If they talked it would be about the prices of some vegetables on the markets 😀
        The best thing about Belgrade, is that it always misses you too 🙂

        1. BobR says

          🙂 That’s going to be remembered as nicest sentiment of the day. And it’s not even 11:30! 🙂 Cheers!

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