Is it grey or gray?


Growing up in Ireland I’m familiar with a few differences between the Queen’s English and the Americanized version that I have become accustomed to, but I still get tripped up when trying to spell the word “grey” or “gray” – a word I want to use to describe the less than ideal light that prevailed on a recent weekend expedition to Acadia National Park.

What started out as a promising sunrise quickly deteriorated into a raw early March morning where the clouds thickened, the breeze stiffened, and a cold rain then started to fall. I briefly considered cutting my adventure short and heading home early – especially when I got back into my car and turned on the heat. However, when I reached my favorite place along the Loop Road – Boulder Beach – I figured that I didn’t have anything to lose by stopping for a quick peek, so I pulled over, parked the car, and wandered down to the beach. I’m glad I did.

The scene was quite monochromatic, and the distinct lack of color – but obvious beauty – immediately had me thinking black and white. Fading patches of snow were scattered around, and I liked how they contrasted with the famous round rocks and the churning ocean. No early morning golden light to work with, but it just goes to show… you don’t always have to have spectacular light to make a decent photograph. Just recently, Lori had asked me about doing some kind of black and white series for the house, and looky here, I think I might just have pulled it off. Stay tuned for a couple more non-color photographs using only shades of grey… or is it gray?


22 thoughts on “Is it grey or gray?

  1. In the states, gray is proper and correct (so sayeth this former copy editor). But I’m seeing more and more people use grey for some reason.

    I say go with what you’re accustomed to, especially considering you’re from Ireland. It makes your writing more distinct and flavorful (read: your voice sounds more like you’re from overseas).

    Oh and…great picture!

    • David Patterson

      Thanks. I appreciate the kind words and the professional advice! Now I just have to learn how to write with an Irish accent 😉

  2. As an Australian recently transplanted to the States it is gray when I write something here and grey when I write back there. Speaking purely aesthetically, I think grey looks prettier spelled grey, rather than gray.

    Either way it’s a lovely photo. I always think you get more of a sense of the texture or tactility of things in a black and white photo. You take the colo(u)r away and it seems to de-emphasiz/se the visual and brings out your sense of touch.

    • David Patterson

      “I think grey looks prettier spelled grey, rather than gray”

      I agree.

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment about the impact of black and white (or at least a lack of colour). If you were to compare two images – one in colour and one not – it is remarkable how sometimes they can both have a very different “feel” to them. I’m starting to dig this black and white concept though… maybe I’m entering a phase 😉

  3. In Canada it is grey! Which happens to be my favourite colour. (We also add lots of extraneous u’s in everything…it can all be so confusing!)

    Your image is beautiful with the softness of the sky, waves and snow against the rocks.

  4. Great photographs!!!
    I would like to call it the colour vs color dilemma… growing up in India which was once colonized by the britishers and americanized media and globalization makes life becomes somewhat confusing!

    • David Patterson

      Thanks… yeah, color versus colour and grey versus gray. Wasn’t Ireland colonized by the britishers too 😉

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