Friday, April 19, 2013

Exploring New Landscapes...

In Prayer
   One of the results of my retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani was I began to explore a new way of approaching color.  Keep in mind, my foray into the wonderful world of color photography is relatively new. I explored it in a limited way with my Burren series in 2009 and then jumped right into the deep end with my landscapes from South Uist in 2011.  With my contemplative time at Gethsemani I was inspired to go one step further.

   When I was learning photography, way back when, I did very little color work but one thing I remember doing, as an assignment from my professor, was to try "cross processing" my color negative.  This is when you use the chemicals for color slide film development for regular color print film.  The effect was a bit surreal but not unpleasing I remember.  Luckily, Picasa provides a way to cross process your digital files quite easily.  Yes, there is a way more complicated method, and probably a better way,  to do it in Photoshop but I didn't have the time for that.  (You can download a tutorial here if you want to give it a go.) 

   I tried the Picasa version on my work at Gethsemani and I really liked the effect.  There's a softness, an almost ethereal quality to the image and it seemed to compliment the feeling of my time there.  Compare the sycamore tree image from my earlier post to this "cross processed" version.

   There is almost a painterly feeling to it, like an old, 19th century watercolor.   Picasa allows you to control the degree of the effect from subtle to intense which is helpful.  It was fun to see how different images responded to the effect. The brighter the light, the greater the effect it seemed to me. When I get home I will try printing some of these to see if this is a technique I will use more often or not.

   I'd never really thought about how the "processing" (Sorry, I still think of it that way!) of the file would effect the contemplative quality of the image but it is one of the "new ideas" I will bring back to Maine with me.  Why don't you try exploring "new landscapes" with some of your old negatives...opps! I mean files!  It could be quite enjoyable!

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