Exercise: Addition

For this exercise, you’ll add one element from a different image. However, in order to make this less obviously full intervention, the exercise will be in two stages.

The aim is to take a conventional landscape view and render the sky do that it appears ideally exposed, with every detail of every cloud visible and textured. With a cloudy or partly cloudy sky this is frequently a problem, as you may already have experienced.

You’ll do this in two ways, the first being more ‘legitimate’ than the second, and for this you should find a location that allows you to make a landscape composition with a significant area of sky (at least a third of the image area). As you will later be making major changes to the sky, you will find it easier if the horizon line is clear, clean and obvious, without such fine details as branches and leaves. A clear blue sky will not do for this shot, as we need for the purposes of the exercise, a scene with a high dynamic range. You will have to wait for a cloudy day or partly cloudy sky, so that the ideal exposure for the sky alone would be significantly less than for the landscape.

Set up the camera on a tripod, so that you can make more than one exposure in perfect register. Make two different exposures, with the camera on either manual settings or using its exposure compensation system if it has obe.
One exposure should be perfect for the landscape (the sky will be over-exposed)
The second exposure should be perfect for the sky, with no highlight clipping (the landscape will be under-exposed).
The difference between these two exposures is likely to be in the region of two F-stops, possibly more.

Process these two images normally, without trying to make significant compensation- without using whatever highlight recovery of fill light controls your processing software offers. The next step is to combine these two images. If you use Photoshop or another image-editing program that allows you to make layers, so much the better. If so, do the following procedure. If not, skip to the paragraph after the next.

Copy the lighter image onto the darker image. Then, erase the over-exposed sky from the upper layer to reveal the darker sky beneath. Flatten the image and save as a copy. Then return to the original state of two layers before using the eraser brush. Now make a selection of the sky in the upper layer, using whatever selection tools you find convenient. Take care to refine the edge of the horizon. Save the selection. Now delete the upper layer’s sky, flatten and save as a copy. Making and saving a selection like this takes more time, but gives you more control over the erasure.

Alternatively, use an exposure blending program such as Photomatix to load and blend two images. Use the exposure blending procedure rather than the HDR tonemapping, as the latter involves advanced image processing beyond what we are disgussing here.
Exposure blending offers several choices of methods. The highlights and shadows- adjust option, is the default and normally the most useful, as it will give a natural-looking result and a choice of bias towards the darker or lighter image. Save the result.

Now, you have created a new image from two separate ones, but while this is clearly intervention, there is also a strong argument that this is perfectly legitimate, and that the procedure of taking more than one exposure within seconds is simply a way of overcoming the camera’s limitations of capturing a full range of brightness. Indeed, as technology progresses, specific software tools are appearing that make use of this’multi-shot’ approach. One such is photomerge scene cleaner in Photoshop elements, another is photomerge group shot.

Now use Photoshop, take this same image (the version exposed for landscape) or any other photograph with a sky. Then choose a different sky from an existing or new photograph.

In the first image, select the area of the sky and save the selection. Then paste into this area, the sky from the second photograph. The aim is to create a realistic effect, as if the new sky could really have been a part of the original image. You will need to consider such things as the direction of the sunlight if this is visible, the overall brightness and the contrast, in order to make the match look good.

One example of ‘doctoring’ an images, was in my work book. The writer included a situation in which he writes “A while ago, I was commissioned to take photographs of a bike workshop for a cycling charity. Unfortunately, my main model had just broken an ankle, and had a fresh cast on his left foot. A photograph of a bike instructor with a broken foot doesn’t inspire confidence to prospective learners, so I had to doctor the shot and clond his right foot. I took the photograph and ‘faked’ it myself using the following tools and techniques:”

1: Copying and pasting selected areas of the image
2: Cloning and Deleting
3: Refining Edges of Selectiobs
4: Transform command – Changing the shape and size of selections

The above case study, is a real example of a situation in which ‘doctoring’ a photograph is a useful solution to a particular situation. However, there are some issues with working in this way. Is it entirely ethical to do this? What sort of ethical issues do you think this raises?

WILL BE UPDATED SOON

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Exercise: Colours into tones part two

The aim of this exercise, is to make practical use of channel adjustment to achieve a specific effect.

Choose one of the following targets:

  • A landscape in which you emphasize the depth (Aerial perspective) by strengthening the visual effect of hae.
  • A portrait in which you lighten the complexion without significantly altering the tones of the rest of the image.
  • A picture of a garden in which the green vegetation appears light in tone.
  • In addition to this, for comparison, also prepare the default black and white conversion offered by your software, for example, desaturate.

I decided to choose the option of choosing Green vegetation and converting it so the green becomes light in tone.

I chose an image that I took whilst on the Avon valley steam train.

Original Image:

IMG_9456

I used a copy of the image and converted it to the default black and white.

Kingswood Colour

details about converted b+w

I then adjusted the channels in order to produce and image in which the green areas became lighter in tone. This included the grass and the trees.

Details about green

Lightened green

All Three:

IMG_9456 Kingswood Colour Lightened green

When looking at the default black and white image, the sky has burnt out. The clouds are barely visible. When I began adjusting the channels, I began by lightening the green to +100, in order to make sure it was as light as possible, and adjusting the yellow to help. I then began altering the blue in order to make the sky darker, which then made the clouds more visible. After that, it was a case of adjusting different channels, in order to produce a balanced image.

Exercise: Colours into tones part one

For this exercise, take or choose and image which contains at least two strong contrasting colours, for example, Blue and Green, Yellow or Blue, Green and Red. Using the channel sliders or controls available in your software, create two opposite versions of the image in black and white.

In one, lighten the grayscale tone of one of the colours, and darken the tone of the contrasting colour as much as possible.

In the second version, perform the reverse.

One of the things you will find in this operation is that the channel sliders often affect areas of the image that you had not expected. This exercise will help in refining your sense of hue.

This exercise is better performed on a RAW image. That way, you have direct access to the original three channels.

To begin with, Make and save a ‘Default’ black and white version. Keep this as a reference. You will need to be familiar with the way the channel or colour sliders work, but the principle is straightforward, as part of the conversion procedure from colour to black and white, dragging each slider lightens or darkens the grey tone of that particular colour.

An example is, raising the red, will make any red areas in the original image become pale grey, even white. At the same time, this affects opposite (Complementary) colours, so raising red in an image with a blue sky, will darken the tone of the sky.

You should aim to produce two black and white versions with a strong difference in their tonal distribution. Write down what effect these different adjustments have on the creative quality of the image.

For this exercise, I decided to use an image I had taken whilst at the Kidderminster railway. I spotted the perfect first aid box which had bold red and green colouring. I used RAW for this.

Original Image:

IMG_5060

I converted it to black and white.

Black and white:

Black and white convert

The straight convert to black and white, has caused the red areas to become a dark grey, and the green area to become a lighter grey. The white writing also has a grey tint to it.

I took this image, then slid the Red slider down -60 and the Green slider up +60. I tried it to -100 +100, but it was extremely dark.

Red -60, Green +60:

Red -60 Green +60

The red colour has turned black, and the green has become grey. The white writing stands out and is very bold.

I then slid the Green slider down to -60 and the Red to +60.

Red +60, Green -60:

Red +60 Green -60

The opposite has happened with this image. The red has become grey and the green has become almost black. The white writing has a grey tint to it.

Conclusion:

This exercise has shown that after converting an image to black and white, by altering a certain colour slider, can significantly change your image. It is a helpful tip, especially if you want to lighten or darken a certain colour/tone, without altering the entire image.

I prefer image 3, because I like the bold black tone. It is very striking. I would alter the image however, and I would make the Red a bit lighter so its not too black, just so I could sharpen the detail on the front area. I would darken the green area so it looks like the green in image 2, because how it is at the moment is too pale.

IMG_5060 Black and white convertRed -60 Green +60Red +60 Green -60

 

 

Exercise: Strength of Interpretation

The removal of the element of colour, and with it the implication of reproducing reality, has a useful and interesting effect on processing. Much more can be done in interpreting the tonal range. You can make much more aggressive changes to the overall brightness and to the contrast than would be reasonable with colour.

In order to demonstrate this, take or choose from image that you already have, two photographs that you think would best suit the following adjustments:

  • A strong increase in contrast that will include clipping (Loss of detail) in at least the shadow areas. A pronounced S-cure is the standard method.
  • Low key or high key treatment, in which the entire brightness range is shifted down or up the scale. Curves or levels are equally useful in creating this effect.

Create these effects, one for each image, but in two versions – In colour and in black and white. You should find that the effects can be produces more strongly for the black and white images, than for the colour.

The traditional shooting skills included the ability to ‘See’ in the mind’s eye, how a scene full of colour could translate into an image dominated by tone, line and shape. A specialist part of this was to recognise how each colour would appear. Whether light or mid-tone or dark. Note the results.

I kept the train theme for this exercise. My first image was taken whilst I was on holiday, of the Bernina Express Train journey through the Swiss Alps.

Strong Increase in Contrast;

Original Image:

SAMSUNG CSC

Using Lightroom, I opened a copy of this image.

High Contrast (S curve), Colour:

As requested above, I produced a pronounced S curve. The S curve resulted in an image that had patches of loss of information and detail, especially in the pure white and dark black areas.

Swiss Alps S curve   Swiss Alps S curve High clipp

Result:

SAMSUNG CSC

With the image above, I converted it to black and white, but kept the same values and the same S curve.

High Contrast (S curve), Black and White:

As with the colour version, the black and white image also resulted in patches of loss of information and data, in the pure white and dark black areas.

Swiss Alps S curve black and white   Swiss Alps S curve black and white high clip

Result:

SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC

The colour image looks better than the black and white, however, I think that the black and white version would look better with some adjustments.

Conclusion:

With this part of the exercise, the results are exactly  how I expected them. I expected loss of detail in the bright and dark areas, with loss of detail. Using strong S curves, do produce very interesting image, and I think that with some adjustment, they could make very striking images.

Low Key, High Key;

For the second set of adjustments, I used an image of two trains that I took whilst on a steam train journey near my home.

Original Image:

IMG_9414 - Copy - Copy

I began by using a copy of the image above, and created the Low Key Images.

Low Key:

For this image, I slid the entire brightness range down the scale, towards the ‘Black/Shadow’ area of the histogram. I found that if you slid it all towards the shadows, your image would be completely black and you would be able to see anything. In order to keep the image viewable, and to still keep some details, I had to adjust the contrast, highlights, shadows etc.

Kingswood Low Key Colour 2

With the colour image, there is loss of detail in the dark, shadow areas. However, I do like the colour of the sky and the contrast between the red train and the sky. I think that this image would work well, if I lightened the shadow areas. I think it would be interesting.

Kingswood Low Key Colour

I then converted the image to black and white.

Kingswood Low Key Black and White 2

There is still loss of detail in the dark shadow areas.

Kingswood Low Key Black and White (2)

Comparing the two versions, I definitely prefer the black and white. You are able manipulate the tones and contrast easier with the black and white, than with the colour. However, the colour version has kept a lot more of the details such as the clouds in the sky and the leaves on the trees.

High Key:

I used another copy of the original image, and used it to make two high key images.

Kingswood High Key Colour

With this image, the blue sky is pale, there is an overall ‘Washes Out’ effect to the image. There is a small amount of noise in the image, with a small amount of detail loss around the window frame areas. The overall detail in the image however, is sharper and clearer than the low key images.

Kingswood High Key Colour image

I converted this image to black and white.

Kingswood High Key Black and White

With this image, the noise is more prominent. The details in the pylon is less sharp than the colour version.

Kingswood High Key Black and White Image

Comparing the image, I definitely prefer the colour version to the black and white. The black and white looses my attention, because the image is very washed out, however, the colour in the colour image, is what pulls my attention to it.

Conclusion:

This exercise has clearly shown that black and white images are capable of a lot more tonal adjustments than colour images. With the black and white images, you rely more on the shapes, tones and details. This is what creates an interesting image, whereas with the colour image, you do rely on the colour and the strength / saturation of the colour. I think this is why I chose the preference for the colour high key image to the high key black and white image. If the black and white image had the correct tonal adjustments, I would have most likely have chosen that as my favourite, however, because it was too ‘Grey’ and pale, I chose the colour, because I found it more interesting.

Exercise: Black and White

For this exercise, choose a subject, lighting condition or picture situation that you think may look better (To you) in black and white, than in regular colour. Your starting point will probably be colour, and the black and white version will be created during your processing, but in shooting, you should try to ignore the colour element. If your camera allows a monochrome display on its LCD screen, you may find this helpful.

Compose and expose for the black and white version that you will later process. You should find that you need to deal with rather different concerns, paying attention to shape and volume, for instance.

Process the image for black and white, and write down what effect shooting in black and white had on your choices of subject, framing, the details of composition and exposure.

Ansel Adams was an American photographer who is famous for his black and white photography. In order to produce his first portfolio, Adams embarked on an excursion with a plate camera and a dark red filter. When his last plate was left, he knew that he had to visualize the final image he wanted, before he took the last shot. “I had been able to realize a desired image: not the way the subject appeared in reality but how it felt to me and how it must appear in the finished print” Ansel Adams 1920.

mirror-lake-morning-yosemite-national-park

I have always loved Ansel Adams work. He is the master of black and white photography, beginning his photographic journey using plate cameras, leading onto black and white film. With a variety of work, ranging from still life, portraits, landscapes and architecture, Adams work shows just how talented a photographer he was. He was able to use his photographic skills and more importantly, his prior visualization of how he wanted his final image to look like, in order to produce breath taking and beautiful images.

Paul Forgham is an internationally renowned photographer based in the South West of England. I read a really interesting and useful article in my Practical Photography magazine (Feb 2014), regarding Black and White photography and Paul Forgham’s photographs.

wavey-mono1

Using black and white…”I probably use it more with my architectural images…it lends itself well to emphasizing the geometry and form…it adds sense of drama and mood to an otherwise ordinary shot” Paul Forgham

Forgham goes on to explain how to produce an image which will lead to a great black and white image. He says that you should use the regular guidelines regarding composition, but the main challenge is to try and visualize the shot in black and white, which is sometimes easier said than done. He says that he looks out for form and shape, with a wide range of mid tones between the blacks and whites. This reminds me of what Ansel Adams said regarding black and white photography.

I love black and white photographs. They capture your attention and draw you in. When you take the distraction of the colour away, the detail becomes a lot more sharper and prominent. You are able to see the shape and form of the subject or location.

For this exercise, you were asked to compose and expose a photograph, for the black and white version of the photograph, you will later process.

I kept the train theme, and used a photograph of the workings of the train, the insides of the boiler area. There wasn’t a lot of colour, but there was a lot of shapes, forms and detail. I knew that this would make an interesting black and white photograph.

Original Image:

IMG_9481 - Copy

Processed Image:

IMG_9481 - Copy copy

I used the inspiration from Ansel Adams and Paul Forgham, and produced this final black and white image. I began by sharpening the detail in the image. The highlight clipping warning appeared in the window area, so I had to darken the image and adjust the contrast before I converted it to black and white. Once I had converted it to black and white, I then adjusted the highlights and shadows, levels and contrast. I also added a layer of warming filter to the image to darken the black areas, which enabled me to then brighten the lighter areas, whilst keeping the black areas dark. It took me a while to play around with different setting and adjustments, however, I am pleased with the result of the final black and white image.

Conclusion:

As previously stated, one reason for discarding colour, and only shooting for the intention of a final black and white image, is that the eye is persuaded to focus more closely on other image qualities. Black and white photography is strongly oriented to the graphic qualities of proportion, line, shape, form and texture. With this image, I focused more on the texture and different shapes within the engine area. ‘consider how your visual creative thinking might change when you aim for a black and white instead of a colour image’  I stood at an angle, in order to capture the window area, in order to let the window area ‘frame’ the detail within the engine area.

I enjoyed this exercise, simply because I love black and white photography. I must admit however, that I am still learning how to process my images properly using Photoshop and Lightroom. I took inspiration from the two photographers I researched, in order to help me with this exercise, and for me to produce a good final black and white image. I do believe that the more time I spend teaching myself, and playing around with settings on the processing software, I will be able to produce a strong black and white image like Ansel Adams and Paul Forgham. I do use tips from my Practical Photography magazine. They have really useful step by step techniques for different types of photography.

References:

Adams, Ansel.

Ansel Adams, Ansel Adams Photographs. Leopard 1995.

ISBN: 0-75-0017-X

Ansel Adams. Published in Mater of Light, Ansel Adams and His Influences. Therese Lichtenstein, Todtri, New York 1997.

ISBN:0-7651-9150-4

http://www.creativephotography.org/artists/ansel-adams

Image: http://uploads6.wikiart.org/images/ansel-adams/mirror-lake-morning-yosemite-national-park.jpg

Forgham, Paul.

http://www.paulforgham.co.uk/gallery_251599.html

http://www.paulforgham.co.uk/section304482.html

Practical Photography Magazine. February 2014. Page 45

Image: Makin’ Waves

Project: Black and White

In the previous exercise, you would have most likely experimented with ways of degrading the colour saturation, moving the image some way towards monochrome.

Black and white suffered a gradual decline after the introduction of colour films in the 1960’s and 1970’s. However, digital photography as given it new creative power. The main difference in the process between digital and film is the point at which your eye has to translate a scene in colour, into an image in black and white. In film photography, that had to occur at the time of shooting, which effectively meant anticipating the image in black and white before raising the camera.

With digital photography, the image is actually converted to black and white long after shooting. Converting the image to black and white on the computer can be even more complex. Some cameras offer the option of image capture in black and white, and as long as the red, green and blue channels are retained, there is an imaginative advantage in being able to see the monochrome image immediately on the camera’s LCD screen.

The main preparatory  step in black and white photography, is being able to ‘think’ in monochrome. This takes a certain amount of visual training in order to ignore the stimulus of strong colours and concentrate instead on the tone, form and light.

Digital technology enables black and white photography in two important ways. One is the ease of printing without the need for a wet darkroom with chemical baths, black and white has always been a printer’s medium. The other is the ability to control and fine tune the tonalities in the finished image, by manipulation the RGB channels. The skills needed are no less than with film and filters, but the means are easier and more accessible.

At this point, it is worth considering at some length, the reasons for photographing in black and white, and its creative value. It does, after all, involve discarding information in a medium, photography, that has always carried with it the sense of recording details of the real world. Why would anyone want to limit information?

One reason is that by discarding colour, the eye is persuaded to focus more closely on other image qualities. Black and white photography is strongly oriented to the graphic qualities of proportion, line, shape, form and texture.

Renaissance writers on painting such as Cristoforo Landino, were accustomed to separating the elements of painting into , for example, Rilievo (Modelling in the round), Compositione (Composition), Disegno (Linear Design) and Colore (Colour). The skills of draughtsmanship, in working with line, shape and volume, were considered to be different in principle from the handling of colour, even though all were combined in and oil painting. Therefore, restricting the palette to eliminate the complex perceptual effect of colour has the effect of concentrating attention on the graphic elements of line, shape, form and texture.

When black and white was universal, it was generally understood that the image was an interpretation of a scene into a very specific medium, dominated by tones. What colour photography has done over the decades, has been to convince many people that taking a picture is about capturing reality in two dimensions, an illusion, of course, but an effective one.

As we will see in part four, thinking about the process of shooting digitally brings into question photography’s dubious relationship with reality. For now, consider how your visual creative thinking might change when you aim for a black and white instead of a colour image.

Below is a short checklist:

Contrasting creative concerns

Black and White:

  • Contrast
  • Key (Overall brightness, varying from high key-Overall bright, to low key-overall dark)
  • Geometry
  • Volume
  • Texture
  • Colour into tone

Colour:

  • Colour effect of exposure
  • Colour style
  • Colour relationship
  • Colour intensity

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exercise: Interpretative Processing

This exercise is about making interpretations for a creative purpose.

Choose an image that you feel is open to different creative interpretation(s) – an image with a lower dynamic range than usual will give more opportunities for varied processing.

Given all of the adjustment controls available in processing software, you should have no difficulty in finding different ways of interpreting the image, whether or not you shot in RAW. Some processing software includes pre-set treatments to give an antique look or sepia. Experiment with these, as they may give an interesting image, however, treat these as experiments only.

To complete this exercise, make three different versions of the same image, together with a written explanation of what you were trying to achieve, and an assessment of how well you think you have succeeded.

Taken from by book Photography by John Ingledew, To manipulate literally means ‘to use the hand’. Some photographers ignite our imaginations by creatively manipulating photographs in collages and photomontages. Manipulation allows the impossible to happen; objects of hugely different scales can interact, fantasies can be visualized and the tonally unexpected and ridiculous can be made to occur. In the process of manipulation, photographs are cut up and used as raw material. They can be juxtaposed, rearranged, added to, cannibalized and ‘Sampled’ in the same way that contemporary musicians now sample music. Prior to digital photography, photographs were manipulated using scalpels, scissors, glue, paint and airbrushes. Today, many photographers use the computer with processing software programmes, such as Photoshop, or Lightroom, instead of the more traditional physical tools. Photoshop has reawakened the art of photograph manipulation.

Where once viewers could see immediately that a photomontage or collage was the result of  photograph manipulation, today it is impossible to tell whether an image has been radically altered in Photoshop. Computers allow images to be combined seamlessly. Although Photoshop can be a very exciting creative tool, it has brought about some developments with worrying implications for the medium of photography…. Fashion pictures in particular endeavour to hide manipulation. A mouth or eye from one picture can be added to the face from another. Bodies can be exchanged and smoothed by specialist retouchers known in the fashion industry and the ‘skin guys’, without us being any the wiser. Instead of meaning ‘to use the hand’, manipulation now means ‘to use slight of hand’.

However, for this exercise, rather than using ‘slight of hand’ in order to manipulate my photographs, I am going to ‘use the hand’ and manipulate my photographs so that you can tell they have been adjusted and altered and for them to look different to the original untouched photograph.

Hena Tayeb is a photographer based in New Jersey. She creates beautiful, abstract images. “I love to find unusual abstracts and angles allowing the ordinary to appear extraordinary. I zoom in and bring light to the details of things around me. Creating abstracts and bringing attention to textures and patterns. My husband and I, along with our two little boys love to travel enabling me to capture my adventures in bold, high contrast, dramatic photographs.” Hena Tayeb.

 I found her photography after spotting her photographs up for sale on the website Etsy.

Hena Tayeb

Night Circus. Taken while enjoying a warm summer New Jersey night at the state fair. The lights illuminating the night sky. Hena Tayeb.

I love this photograph of the night circus. The lights are amazing and really stand out against the black night sky. I am unsure whether or not she has used processing software for this photograph, however, her own creativity has allowed her to pre-visualize how this would look as a final photograph. Her use of composition and the framing of the carousel is creative it its own right even without post processing.

il_570xN.319228142

Take me to Heaven. The Notre Dame Basilica, Cathedral in Old Quebec City, Canada. Hena Tayeb.

Take me to Heaven is a very strong photograph. The Cathedral is very dominant in the photograph, and her composition and framing of the building itself, guides the viewers eyes towards the clouds in the sky. She makes you the viewer, feel as though you are standing at the bottom of the Cathedral, looking up towards the sky. She has clearly used processing software, which means she used her own creativity and interpretative processing in order to create this final image. She may have played around with different colour tones, black and white, sepia, vintage etc. However, she decided to choose Sepia. Choosing sepia has given this photograph a very vintage feeling. The details on the building itself are very clear and the lighting has enabled the building to stand out against the tone of the sky.  I believe this could have also worked well in Black and White.

il_570xN.151315820

Irani Sky, When traveling from Tehran to Shiraz in Iran, the sun was setting surrounded by these gorgeous dark dramatic clouds. Hena Tayeb.

I really like this photograph Irani Sky. Her use of interpretative processing has enabled her to convert this photograph to sepia, allowing the clouds to look dramatic. With the light shining through, in my opinion, makes this photograph look very angelic.

il_570xN.352036867

Lighthouse. The surprisingly arid, cactus covered terrain of Aruba. The iconic California Lighthouse in the background. Hena Tayeb.

Rather than using the sepia tone for this photograph, she has used processing software in order to make it look like a vintage postcard or an old vintage photograph. The colours are very muted and are not saturated, which gives it the vintage feel. This is a great example of how someone has used their own creativity in order to interpret how a photograph would look if the processed it a certain way.

I fell in love with her sepia image of a steam train. The use of sepia has worked very well with the subject matter. Steam trains are old, and using sepia has enabled her to create a very realistic, vintage looking image. It reminds me of an old photograph or postcard that you would find in  your grandparents collection. I knew that I would be able to draw inspiration from this image, as it is similar to some of the photographs I took whilst on my steam train journey.

il_570xN.151893438

Chug a Chug Chug, The Essex Steam train in Connecticut. Hena Tayeb.

Taking inspiration from Hena Tayeb’s image Chug a Chug Chug, and in keeping with the train theme, I decided that my photograph of the front view of a steam train would work better if I converted it to the sepia tone.

Original Image:

IMG_5105

Processed Image:

IMG_5105

With this image, I wanted to create a realistic, vintage photograph. I drew inspiration from Tayeb’s Chug a Chug Chug photograph, and converted it to the sepia tone. I began by cropping the image, in order to discard the piping towards the bottom of the frame, and to only focus on the front of the train. When converting an image to a sepia colour tone, the image could be either too pale or too over saturated. I wanted to create an image that was similar to Hena Tayeb’s photograph. I didn’t want an over saturated image, but at the same time, I didn’t want a pale sepia tone.  I wanted the black tones to be dark, but at the same time, I wanted the sky to be bright, but not over exposed. I also wanted to keep as much detail as possible. This meant that I had to use multiple layers on this image in order to achieve the correct colouring. I think I have succeed in what I wanted to achieve.

Martin Parr is a well known British photographer who creates unusual, garish and over saturated photographs.

“Martin Parr is a chronicler of our age. In the face of the constantly growing flood of images released by the media, his photographs offer us the opportunity to see the world from his unique perspective. At first glance, his photographs seem exaggerated or even grotesque. The motifs he chooses are strange, the colours are garish and the perspectives are unusual. Parr’s term for the overwhelming power of published images is “propaganda”. He counters this propaganda with his own chosen weapons: criticism, seduction and humour. As a result, his photographs are original and entertaining, accessible and understandable. But at the same time they show us in a penetrating way how we live, how we present ourselves to others, and what we value.

Leisure, consumption and communication are the concepts that this British photographer has been researching for several decades now on his worldwide travels. In the process, he examines national characteristics and international phenomena to find out how valid they are as symbols that will help future generations to understand our cultural peculiarities. Parr enables us to see things that have seemed familiar to us in a completely new way. In this way he creates his own image of society, which allows us to combine an analysis of the visible signs of globalisation with unusual visual experiences. In his photos, Parr juxtaposes specific images with universal ones without resolving the contradictions. Individual characteristics are accepted and eccentricities are treasured.” Thomas Weski

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Think of England Book, Phaidon, 2004. Martin Parr.

Martin Parr 2

England. Bristol. Car boot sale. 1995. From the series British Food 1994 – 1995. Martin Parr.

Martin Parr

England. Ramsgate. 1996. From the series New British 1994 – 1996. Martin Parr.

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Woman Sunbathing, Spain 1997. From the series Common Sense, Published by Dewi Lewis, 1999. Martin Parr.

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Woman Sunbathing, From the series The Last Resort, 1986. Published by Promenade Press 1986. Martin Parr.

As Thomas Weski quotes “the colours are garish and the perspectives are unusual”. I could not agree more with his statement. Martin Parr’s use of over saturated colours, helps to draw the viewers attention in. Once you are drawn in to looking at his photograph, you realise that they are of unusual and sometimes odd subjects or people. He tends to photograph situations in which people are caught unawares or situations which people don’t usually think of as a photographic moment.

His photographs remind me of growing up in the 90’s, with colour film cameras. Often enough, family members would show me photographs similar in colour tone to Parr’s, very over saturated and exposed incorrectly. Although the clothing in the 90’s was very bold and bright, therefore it could have just been the clothing.

Keeping the same train theme, I had an image in mind which I knew would work well if I drew inspiration from Parr’s work and over saturated the colours. The train in my photograph is a bright green. I took the photograph whilst the train was moving, which caused the surrounding trees to look as though they are swirling or moving. I managed to keep the train mid section in focus. I knew that if I could over saturate the colours in the image, and make them bright and bold like Martin Parr, I would end up with a really unusual and interesting photograph.

Original Image:

IMG_9433

Processed Image:

IMG_9433 copy

For this image, I used several layers. I sharpened the image first, in order to make sure I kept all of the detail sharp. I then enhanced the hue and saturation, which brightened the colours to make them more vivid, like Parr’s work. I had to make sure that I didn’t over saturate the image or hue, as I found that the colours began altering, the red became pink, and the green was turning blue, so I had to get the levels just right. I then enhanced the contrast to make the colours brighter and the shadows darker. I am pleased with this result. It came out exactly how I wanted it too. It is very colour saturated like Martin Parr’s photographs. It also has a similarity to some of Andy Warhol’s images.

Metin Demiralay is a photographer based in Istanbul. He creates beautiful, magical and dreamlike photographs. He uses his creativity to use post processing software in order to produce final photographs which have interesting colour tones.

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Unknown, Metin Demiralay

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Unknown, Metin Demiralay

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Unknown, Metin Demiralay

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Unknown, Metin Demiralay

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Unknown, Metin Demiralay

When I saw his photographs, what struck me first was the warm, autumnal colour tones, similar to sepia. Similar to Martin Parr, he saturates the colours in his photographs and may indeed use blue filters or orange filters and the hue and saturation tool, in order to make the blue sky and orange wheat, stand out more. He also uses interesting compositions within his photographs. His use of colour and colour tones, help to create vintage style, dreamlike photographs, it also appears as though he uses a type of Vignetting Tool in order to produce shadows around the frame of the image, in order to add a dramatic effect to the photograph.

I really wanted to try and produce an image with similar colour tones like Demiralay. Rather than using a train as my subject matter, I decided to use a lamp on the side of the train station. The lamp was framed by the trees and plants, which was similar to how Demiralay frames his subject (Woman), in his images with the wheat.

Original Image:

IMG_5136 - Copy

Processed Image:

IMG_5136 copy

For this image, I began by sharpening the image to make sure the detail was sharp. I then added several layers to the image, in which I added warming filters, and colours such as orange and yellow, in order to achieve the autumnal colour tones that Demiralay uses. I altered some of the hue and saturation, contrast, and lightened and darkened areas. I then added a Lomo camera effect to the image, to produce the shadowing around the edges. I am pleased with the image. I was able to produce the warm colour tones, similar to Demiralay. I would have liked to have produced the blue sky like Demiralay’s, however, I am unsure of how to do so.

Conclusion:

I am pleased with the results of the processed images. When reading through this exercise, I had some ideas of what I wanted to produce. I found it helpful studying the photographers first, as I was able to draw inspiration from their work, which enabled me to produce the final image I wanted. I did have some difficulty, as I taught myself how to use the different tools in Photoshop. I did use my Practical Photography magazines for some tips.

References: 

John Ingledew, Photography. Laurence King Publishing, London, 2005. Manipulation, Pages 97-100.

ISBN: 9781856694322

Tayeb, Hena.

Night Circus.
Taken while enjoying a warm summer New Jersey night at the state fair. The lights illuminating the night sky. Hena Tayeb.
Take me to Heaven.
The Notre Dame Basilica, Cathedral in Old Quebec City, Canada. Hena Tayeb.
Irani Sky,
When traveling from Tehran to Shiraz in Iran, the sun was setting surrounded by these gorgeous dark dramatic clouds.  Hena Tayeb.
Lighthouse.
The surprisingly arid, cactus covered terrain of Aruba. The iconic California Lighthouse in the background. Hena Tayeb.

Chug a Chug Chug, The Essex Steam Train in Connecticut. Hena Tayeb.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/43467817/photograph-whimsical-vintage-connecticut

http://www.henatayebphotography.com/#!about/c1wdj

 Parr, Martin.

Introduction

Think of England Book, Phaidon, 2004. Martin Parr.

Books by MP

England. Bristol. Car boot sale. 1995. From the series British Food 1994 – 1995. Martin Parr.

England. Ramsgate. 1996. From the series New British 1994 – 1996. Martin Parr.

Woman Sunbathing, Spain 1997. From the series Common Sense, Published by Dewi Lewis, 1999. Martin Parr.

Woman Sunbathing, From the series The Last Resort, 1986. Published by Promenade Press 1986. Martin Parr.

Demiralay, Metin.

Set of Unknown Photographs, By Metin Demiralay.

Photography by Metin Demiralay

http://metindemiralay.deviantart.com/art/xx-110-128376271

http://photo-hub.co.uk/artists/metin-demiralay