Photo of the Day: Tulips and towers and a turbulent sky

by DaniGirl on May 16, 2014 · 1 comment

in Photo of the Day

I had a lot of fun with this image in Lightroom and Photoshop. Not every photo needs serious post-processing, but sometimes it’s fun to push the boundaries a bit and see what happens. I’ve also had fun teaching myself both how to see problem areas I might not have recognized before AND the digital ‘chops’ to know how to correct them.

Parliament through red tulips

When I looked at the detail in the tulips, I saw that the green colour channel was clipped, which means that the colour that is opposite to green on the colour wheel – magenta – was “blown out” and the reds were pretty darn close to blowing out too. In other words, the colour was so intense in the tulip heads that all detail was lost. I tweaked the saturation on just the flower heads a bit, but there is still some detail lost. If I were more patient, I could probably fix it in Photoshop, but it was close enough for me.

Another problem is that despite exposure and saturation tweaks, the tulips were out of gamut. This is one of the real challenges of digital photography and photo processing – the range of colours that your eye can perceive is far greater than what digital equipment like your camera sensor and computer monitor can replicate is far greater than what a printer can render. My camera and computer are set to sRGB colour space, which has a much wider range than CMYK, the colour space that most printers use. I played with it a bit and recovered some of it, but I don’t think this would make a great print without a lot more work – those reds and magentas are just too intense and would likely print as flat blobs of colour.

Finally, the sky was kind of cloudy and grey and it too was on the border of being blown out, so I painted some of that blue back into the sky. There was only a hint of blue in the sky to my eye, but I burned it a bit and added a bit of tint to make the clouds pop. I think the drama in the sky balances out the really intense colour in the foreground, and sort of surrounds the Peace Tower. Then I popped the contrast even more, because I love contrasty photos, especially with lots of mid-tone contrast.

So now the image tells a complete story, from the brilliant tulips in the foreground to the actual subject of the photo, the Peace Tower, in the middle ground, and that turbulent sky in the background.

TMI? Do you like the geeky stuff, or should I just go back to posting the pretty pictures? Be careful what you wish for, I could really go on and on and ON about this stuff! 😉 If you’re curious, feel free to ask questions. We can all learn together!

Edited to add: Good question from Lynn – here’s the unedited version for the sake of comparison. Note the tilted horizon – I cannot for the life of me take a straight picture. I think my eyes are crooked!

SOOC Parliament through red tulips


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Lynn May 16, 2014 at 7:57 am

I personally LOVE these techy posts where you talk about post-processing. More please! You can even give more detail – like specifically which menu items you used and settings you used – as I use GIMP instead so I’d need to translate. And post the before version too!

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