Saturday, 7 August 2010

Digital Photographic Practice 1: Exercise 14: Interpretative Processing

The aim of this exercise is to develop at least 3 different interpretations of an image using the tools available in my processing software. The base image I chose is here – taken in Iceland with an Olympus E-1OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA, ISO200, 1/800 at f/5.6
I chose it for a couple of reasons: first it has a relatively limited dynamic range, as suggested by the exercise, but more importantly, it is a relatively simple image which will tend to support a greater variety of interpretations than a complex image where the subject matter is more constraining.
I spent some time playing with the sliders and presets in Lightroom before settling on the three interpretations here.

Interpretation 1: Family album print
In this interpretation I am trying to replicate the feel of some of the old family photos I have stored in various boxes and albums around the house. In my experience older examples of these are often characterised by yellowing so I started by raising the colour temperature to 13500K. This left a relatively flat result, so I tried pushing the vibrance a little (to 31 on the slider). This saturated the colours a little and added  some ‘pop’ to the image. At this point, in spite of some further experimentation, I concluded I had achieved my objective. Without prompting one of my family said that this looked like a really old print so the effect is clearly effective.

Interpretation 2: Moonlight photo
Moonlit scenes are characterised by an absence of colour so the first step this time is a B/W conversion. I then tweaked the tone curve to increase the contrast (by clipping the whites from 75% upwards), increased exposure by +0.6 EV and darkened the shadows slightly (black 17). To darken the sky further I then reduced the blue channel (-84) and the aqua channel (-100). I then darkened the grass by reducing the green channel to –57. This gave the feel of a dark night scene while retaining enough brightness to see the girls.
This was followed by a split-tone (hue 244 saturation 24 in highlights, 61 in shadows) to add the characteristic blue colour of night scenes, a slight reduction in clarity (-10)to soften the edges and a hefty dose of noise reduction to reduce the graininess induced by the fairly extreme processing ( (luminance +100; colour +71)
The end result is here. It has something of an other-worldly and night-time feel to it to my mind, so it has succeeded to some degree. To be truly convincing I think some stars in the sky would add to the effect.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Interpretation 3: Reminiscence
The aim of this interpretation as to produce a ‘dream’ scene, as might typically be used to indicate an older person reminiscing in movies. The standard starting point is a sepia conversion – this always carries connation of times past and memory. In itself however the sepia preset was too harsh – I wanted a more airy feel. To do this I increased exposure by 1.5 stops and added a further 68 fill on the slider. This still left the grassy area looking to solid, so I lightened this by moving the yellow slider to +30 (from the –9 of the preset) Finally to add a dreamy glow I reduced the clarity slider to –82 to give this end result.

This meets my intent effectively although it could be criticised for being something of a cliché.

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