Interpretative processing gave me a chance to experiment with different types of post-processes applied to one particular photograph which, in turn would give me an idea of the lengths I can go to with an image and still make it look acceptable to the viewer. I chose a photograph of some boats which gave me plenty of colour and form to work with and not too much dynamic range meaning that many of the elements in the image were adjustable (if there had been high dynamic range it would have been more likely I would only have ended up adjusting the local high and low-lights of the image rather than the global areas that I wanted to).
Here is the original image with just some slight adjustments to the high and low-light areas to bring them in to a workable gamut.
This image gave me plenty to work with. My first thought was that it reminded me of childhood holidays. Being a child of the seventies it seemed natural to try and treat it to make it look somewhat like film stock of that era. I took down the contrast, which evened up the blacks and whites (hence the need to have a lower contrasting scene than usual) and made the image flatter than the original. I haven’t applied any sharpening and then added a purple hue/filter, which flattens the image further and gives a slightly muted feel to the colours. This gave an appearance that I see when I look back at my old 35mm prints from yesteryear, a nostalgic look back at my childhood holidays.
After this I started to desaturate the image a little whilst retaining the theme of having an overall colour cast (yellow/golden) on the photograph. I also sharpened the image; this is enhanced by the desaturation of colour. The image is now more contrasting as a result of applying the sharpening.
This last image made me think I could go further with the desaturation to produce a more dramatic weather worn effect to the original image. I wanted to show the effect the never-ending cycle of sea and sun has on the vessels. So the final image in my short series is far more desaturated then the others. The contrast between the high and low-lights is much more pronounced and the sand is now almost dark grey. This has the effect of focusing the attention much more on the blue of the boat followed by the colours of the containers and buoys in and around it. I think it works well although I would probably desaturate further the colour in the small boat in the background to focus all attention initially on the large blue boat in the foreground before the eye gets a chance to travel around the frame. The ‘bleaching’ of the colour in the image does give a feel of a boat which has seen a lot of action rather than the first image in the series, in which it is brightly coloured and obviously well maintained. This image is now not too many steps from being black and white.