Wulf's Webden

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Vintage Hellebores

This month’s much anticipated bloom is my Helleborus lividus, which has been my featured entry for Folia’s monthly Bloom Day event:

A specimen of Helleborus lividus in bloom, processed with a vintage photo effect

Helleborus lividus

You can probably tell that this photograph hasn’t come straight from the camera but has been worked on in my digital darkroom. I started by using the Gimp’s curves tool to slightly increase contrast and tweak the colours but, looking at the result, decided to take it further and apply a vintage effect I concocted earlier this year.

I decomposed the image to RGB channels and changed the mode of the resulting copy (three layers, representing the colour intensity of red, green and blue by shades of grey) from Grayscale back to RGB mode. I then proceeded to colourize each layer to roughly the appropriate hue.

When you set the layer mode of the top two layers to screen, the composite image returns to colour but, because of the process (particularly the fact that each layer was colourised to an approximation rather than a true primary colour), the result acquires a “vintage” appearance, that reminds me of old colour books and magazines. You could also slightly shift one of the layers at this point, if you wanted a mis-registered effect for a very lo-fi result.

I finished off by copying my recoloured image as a new layer back to the one I started working on and making it increasingly translucent. This dials down the effect, which is a good technique for making any kind of bulk transformation more subtle. Finally, I cropped to a precise 2:3 format and applied a touch of smart sharpening (high-pass filter) to bring up the details.


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