Sunday, December 16, 2007

Oooops! Inverted and Upside Down

I few weeks ago there was B&W print competition at my local Camera Club, with a topic of ‘My Backyard’. I only had one photo that I thought might win and I was trying to find creative idea for another entry that would be of sufficient caliber. I have learned over the years entering competitions that, while judges do rate on the technical and compositional elements, they also seem give a special emphasis for not-your-everyday-image found in your locale. Visual repetition even with great images tends to not quite cut it.

I therefore decided to experiment with a colour image of ornamental grasses that I was fond off. A negative B&W version was created and was also turned upside down to give the appearances that the light was falling correctly on the subject. While this was not my favorite of the 2, it did win an ‘Award of Excellence’

I find that for fine details or subtle tones, the web version, can never quite create the same visual impact of a well-printed image.

For the strip-line version, please click on the thumbnail image below to see the larger (1500x 450) version were the details will be more visible.

I had such fun creating the examples that I may have gone overboard in showing too many in the blog, but I do hope you enjoy them and importantly can see the potential for creative ideas by experimenting. In all cases I like the inverted version the best, but you will have to decide for yourself whether it works for you.

One large benefit with creating a inverted tonal version whether in B&W or colour is that it helps you to see the compositional elements in the image separately form the normal and how they are balanced throughout. This is because with a regular image it is too easy to focus on the image itself because you understand it within it own context. When it is inverted it is harder to figure it out and the compositional elements now becomes dominant parts.

In the above image, I also used a steep tonal curve just on the curled banana leaf tip and added some darkening to give more of a 3D effect as the inverted version below I though was a little flat.

I thought the tulip version created a more dramatic, mysterious and magical version.

Sometimes completely different image will emerge as shown below. This image for me appears almost like a star going nova with its explosion.

As I stated earlier I almost couldn’t stop doing these and have included a few more of these progression series below and one with just the final versions.

It can even work for colour-inverted image but becomes a bit harder due to the wonky colours you will get. In the final colour I used an inverted B&W set to darken mode to punch up the colour more and tweaked the Hue/Sat to my liking.

Do take the time to experiment with your photography, whether with your approach to the subject or through photo-editing techniques. It will help you in the future to visual new subjects that may not have caught your eye under normally .

Niels Henriksen

A photographer’s Adage

Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I'm going to take tomorrow. - Imogen Cunningham, Interviews With Master Photographers : Minor White, Imogen Cunningham, Cornell Capa, Elliott Erwitt, Yousuf Karsh, Arnold Newman, Lord Snowdon, Brett Weston by James Danziger


Lynda Lehmann said...

Wonderful presentation, Niels, of serial views, and a great photo lesson! Lots of beauty here.

Thanks for sharing your expertise!

nielsp said...

Thanks Lynda:

This was so much fun that I now have a hard drive worth of images.

I created an action that I could drop on an possible image.

So of the larger images did require a bit of blemish removal. A dark spot does not always cause a problem, but when it became white it suck out like a glowing star.

I always enjoy your images and especially the lovely context you place them in.


Lynda Lehmann said...

Niels, I have the same problem, a hard drive FULL of images!

As for actions in Photoshop, I haven't explored that option yet. I have so much to learn and so little time to do all the things I want to! Life moves so fast!

Thanks for sharing your knowledge, and also for your kind words!

Suellen said...

Thanks so much for sharing this Niels. I can see where the negative would show flaws and problems in composition. Now I have to go to PS and learn how to make a negative ... and create an action. As Lynda says, so much to do, so little time :)

Beth Ellen said...

Very good point about inverting the image to focus on the compositional elements. I enjoy your examples.

Anonymous said...

Niels -- Thanks so much for this, it's been hours of "learning fun". Here's a few of my best.


nielsp said...

The 2nd link which has the cactus type plant worked out great.


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A Jesse said...

This is addictive! How am I supposed to get any work done today? Thank you—I think—for the lessons.


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