Digital Alchemy

IMG_2935_1We seem to have had more than our fair share of rain lately. And when it rains it feels as if someone up there turns the shower head on rather dramatically. Rain comes down in torrents.

A bit of down time provides time to experiment – with an image. I’ve been working my way through the March 2012_London folder on the hard drive, weeding out the rubbish and finding quite a few images that had never been processed before.

Images that on first sight are uninspiring and yet contain strong lines are always canvases on which I enjoy experimenting. The starting point after the usual tidying-up processing tasks is to think: what if I tried this? And in this case it was colour solarization. [In Photoshop go to Filter/Stylize/Solarize, or if you possess Topaz plug-ins use the Adjust Plug-in, select the Stylize Collection and you should find four Solarized pre-sets near the foot of the list].

A colour solarization is always a leap into the unknown – the results are  unpredictable and once you have adjusted levels back in Photoshop if the initial result looks unimpressive then try inverting the image (it’s just like going from positive to negative or vice-versa).

In this particular example, I was excited by the result. It reminded me of the work of Piet Mondrian whose work I enjoyed seeing so much at the Turner Contemporary in Margate two years back.

IMG_2935_2A slightly different (tighter) crop of the resulting image is shown above. Personally I think I prefer the tighter crop – it has a simplicity that the headline image lacks. You may think differently – do post a comment.

And finally, below is a thumbnail of the original image that I worked on. At first glance it doesn’t look very promising, but first impressions are not always reliable.

Remember – click on any image to see a higher quality enlargement.


About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'.
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15 Responses to Digital Alchemy

  1. I agree with you, Andy. In the first image, the elements in perspective (in roughly the bottom third) throw off the composition for me.


  2. hmunro says:

    What an interesting exercise! I’ve only applied the solarization filter by accident, but your arresting images (love the second, Mondrian-like one especially) have me thinking I should give it another try. Great creative exploration, Andy!


  3. Sue says:

    Love that tight crop – very Mondrian! Most effective, a great bit of experimenting!


  4. Chillbrook says:

    I like both images very much but the I do prefer the simplicity of the second. I was trying to think of the name of the artist that these pictures reminded me of and thankfully found the answer in your other comments.


  5. shoreacres says:

    And I’ll join in that consensus. I much prefer the second image. What tickles me is that, at sometime in the past I can’t quite pinpoint, I had a silk dress, or skirt, or tunic top that was done in the style of Mondrian, and in almost those colors. That I can’t even remember what piece of clothing it was probably indicates how long ago I purchased it, but there’s just no mistaking that design.

    Speaking of photoshop, although i’ve not taken any sort of plunge, I did manage to upload one photo from my last week’s trip to Lightroom. Lo and behold, there were the Nik plugins, just as you said. I wanted to try some haze removal, and it worked well enough. Even better, I managed to figure out how to save the image, and get it where it needed to be. It’s the proverbial one step at a time. 🙂


    • LensScaper says:

      Well done you! Everything in life starts with that first small step. I’ve never used Lightroom although I know from my contacts with many other photographers that I am in the minority there.
      The colours that were generated in this image through the processing are quite dramatic – a little more complex than the essentially primary colours that featured in so much of Mondrian’s work, although he did produce some that that had more subtle colouring.


  6. sixpixx says:

    Both. I love both but if I had to choose I’m afraid I’d go against the general consensus. I like the first image, it reminds me of (don’t laugh) jazz music. It’s unpredictable and just jarring enough to keep me concentrated. Maybe it’s that deco feel that makes me think of jazz. Whatever, they’re both extremely satisfying.


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