I have never really made any attempt at creative processing before starting this project. Part of the problem I think is that despite it all being a matter of personal taste, I find the line between enhancing the image and making it look ridiculous (in my eyes), quite a difficult one to judge. I have however experimented and been relatively pleased with the results, although I have to say that my experiments have thrown up a whole host of questions. In anticipation of the next project, black and white, I downloaded a 30 day trial copy of Topaz B&W Effects software as a plug-in for Lightroom and that has given me the opportunity to try many different styles and effects, some more successful than others.
As part of the experimental stage, I chose an image of a blue and yellow Swiss train and experimented with different presents from within the Topaz software:
In each case, after I had selected a preset, I went into the local adjustment area to try to understand how the effect had been achieved as I felt this might help me experiment on my own. I then adjusted the image further using different coloured filters and some of the sliders until I had a result I was happy with. In some a more diffused effect was achieved whilst in others the image became more painterly and/or the sky became more dramatic. At this experimental stage of the activity I had no preconceived ideas about what I wanted, it was very much a case of trial and error to see what worked.
For the Creative Interpretation exercise itself, I chose another Swiss image, this time a snowy landscape and set out with the intention of producing an image which looked like a dreamy watercolour, one more reminiscent of dawn and the other after the sun had set. Was feel I successful, to an extent although I am questioning some of the effects that have been produced, for example the blown highlights in the vignetting of this image.
The dawn scene was produced by using a preset called ‘quad toned ‘Redscale 111’ with a gold dye applied and the tonal strength adjusted to increase the red in the sky. I was quite amazed at the different effect and atmosphere achieved making some of these adjustments and I did feel that the image I had selected lent itself to this type adjustment reasonably well.
I used an infrared preset called ‘infrared false colour’ with a blue filter applied on top, to achieve the sunset image. Again I experimented with some of the sliders to increase the glow of light in the sky and on the snow until I felt I had a pleasing image.
This was actually the first image I created and as soon as I applied the infrared preset, I could see that there were sensor marks in the sky that I hadn’t noticed in Lightroom. So back into Lightroom to remove them and when I converted the image a second time I could see the marks left by the healing tool. You obviously have to have a very clean image to start with when using infrared and in the end, I applied all of my adjustments in Topaz and then went back into Lightroom and removed any remaining marks from the final image. Of the three, I think this is my favourite, maybe even preferring it to the original image below!
One issue I still have is, having set the black and white points when I converted the image from RAW, then using the black and white conversion, I now find that there are blown highlights and/or blocked shadows in some of the images, I’m not sure at this stage if this is just a feature of this style of image, certainly some have higher contrast than the original, but I have struggled to remove them. This is something that I need to research further before I complete this assignment.