The Positive and Negative Sides of a Shot in the Dark

Discussion in 'Photography Techniques' started by ReD, Sep 2, 2014.

  1. ReD

    ReD SC Hall of Famer

    Mar 27, 2013
    The Positive and Negative Sides of a Shot in the Dark

    Photography for me is a personal exploration – it doesn’t matter to me that someone has taken a similar shot before if I haven’t tried it myself. Then when I tweak a photo it is almost always about experimentation – not ground breaking new to Photography but useful to me for my personal development. No apologies are necessary for any clichés. For me it is nearly always a Shot in the Dark.


    A few nights ago I took the dog for a walk down our lane when I noticed how the grass had grown & sent up shoots. So the next night when it was pitch dark I brought my camera to test how well the X10 flash would perform as I had never used it before.

    Framing was a nightmare in the dark even with a torch and Yes the flash worked ok but I normally avoid using flash whenever possible – always a last resort. For me it was a predictable failure but worth a go - the shots left a lot to be desired.

    Then I experimented a bit with some shots using Reverse neg – the areas where the flash did not reach and were blacked out suddenly had a lovely haze and depth to them. With a bit of cropping & additional tweaking I started to enjoy myself.

    I’ve tried and used reverse neg in the past - it has its uses, but the shots have always been broad daylight conversions whereas the flash has now added another dimension to explore. Best if I use a tripod next time.





     
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  2. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    Wow, ReD, really neat. Kinda freaky and weird but it has an ethereal quality to it that I really like.

    I'm with you; i experiment with my cameras all the time. That's what I love about digital -- it's costs exactly bupkas to experiment -- and you just might surprise yourself with something really neat that flies in the face of the conventional wisdom of what you shouldn't or couldn't do with a small sensor camera.

    Is reverse neg a setting on your camera or something you did in post processing?

    Cheers, Jock
     
  3. ReD

    ReD SC Hall of Famer

    Mar 27, 2013
    Thanks Jock - In PP
    even the most rudimentary processing Packages offer it
     
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  4. ReD

    ReD SC Hall of Famer

    Mar 27, 2013
    Traditional Reverse Negs







     
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  5. bartjeej

    bartjeej SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 12, 2010
    bart
    I think you could also replicate it in lightroom etc by simply converting to B&W (desaturating) and then mirroring the tone curve; making it go from top left to bottom right.
     
  6. ReD

    ReD SC Hall of Famer

    Mar 27, 2013
    Me no know Lightroom but I'd guess you'd have some intermediary effects that could prove useful
     
  7. bartjeej

    bartjeej SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 12, 2010
    bart
    You could do all sorts of stuff with curves. If you don't desaturate before mirroring the tone curve, your image will look like a colour negative.

    Just for giggles, I used the GIMP to mirror the tone curve back to its original B&W-positive state (obviously I can't re-saturate the image), hope you don't mind...
    1zpsftt.
     
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  8. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    you can't resaturate it, but you could hand tint it. I've done that before and sometimes it can look pretty cool.
     
  9. bartjeej

    bartjeej SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 12, 2010
    bart
    That sounds like a heap of work:eek:
     
  10. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    using a quick selection tool, it all happens pretty quickly (assuming the smart selection tool is grabbing the right stuff). You really just add a color (say green for the grass) and the various shades of gray (or light levels) create some different greens. It looks very different from the original, but can look pretty cool.
     
  11. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    here's a VERY rudimentary one I did (my first try following a tutorial years ago). It was just a b/w snapshot of my wife and I at a faux wedding ceremony we held for our families a couple months after we were married by a judge. It has an old-timey I look I enjoy.
    5983291454_06475bc573_z. hand tinted old photo by Luke Lavin, on Flickr
     
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  12. bartjeej

    bartjeej SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 12, 2010
    bart
    That's pretty cool! I'm guessing you can't just colour certain shades of grey across the entire image; you'll still have to make broad selections first?
     
  13. pdh

    pdh SC Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    I dunno whether I'm doing it right or wrong but somehow all my photos seem to turn out as negative these days ...
     
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  14. ReD

    ReD SC Hall of Famer

    Mar 27, 2013
    You need the PMA tool Paul
     
  15. pdh

    pdh SC Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    Pretty much. You don't have to use the desaturation slider, you can simply click "black and white" :)

    The tone curve - set to "linear" first; then you have to click on the little "point curve" icon at the bottom right of the tone curve first - this collapses the "region" slider menu; then you grab each end of the curve by turn by mouse and drag it down to the bottom (RHS) and top (LHS). (This can be a bit annoying and frustrating to get right, so eventually I made a preset for it).

    At this point you have a linearly inverted image in black and white. the tone curve can now be dragged around to change the shape at will, but the Blacks/Whites/Shadows/Highlights sliders in the Basic menu don't work the same any more - they too are inverted (this can take a bit of thinking about, but you'll soon suss it out).

    Remember that if you then apply any presets that use modified tone curves, they will reset the image back to a positive.