Exercise: Creative Interpretation

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:

Original imageSepia tonedToned collectionStylised - graphic dreams

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.

Hand tinted chiffon with detail reduced

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.  

Dawn effect created using 'Quad  Tone Redscale'

Dawn effect created using ‘Quad
Tone Redscale’

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. 

Sunset created using 'infrared false colour' present with a blue filter added

Sunset created using ‘infrared false colour’ present with a blue filter added

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.


About Anne Bryson

I live in Gloucestershire with my husband Iain and West Highland Terrier, Isla. I enjoy golf, photography and my grandchildren, not necessarily in that order! Having completed a 10 week digital photography course with the Open University in 2010 and wanting to take photography further, I enrolled on the Open College of the Arts BA (Hons) starting with 'The Art of Photography' which I thoroughly enjoyed. Next came Digital Photographic Practice followed by People and Place. In April 2016 I progressed to level two with Documentary and in June 2018 enrolled on my latest OCA course, Landscape.
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