While they might not want to admit it, photographers have always envied artists. When we drive 300 miles over back roads to find the perfect sunset and the weather doesn’t cooperate, we can only reach into our backpack and try various filter combinations to approximate what that sunset might have looked liked look. An artist can make that same trek and stay inside their car making black and white sketches before finishing the painting back in a warm, dry studio adding whatever elements as well as colors that they might image that sunset might have contained.
Digital imaging lets us do what artists have done for years—work within a comfortable daylight environment to create images that could have been—but may not have been the case when you were at a specific location. That’s why I enjoy working with Photoshop-compatible plug-ins.
Plug-ins, such as Color Efex Pro, let you add colors and moods to images made on gray, dull boring days. They even include an “Infrared” filter that lets you produce an image that makes it appear as if the photograph was originally created using infrared color film. Speaking of emulating film: Alien Skin’s Exposure lets you convert color digital images into grayscale photographs that appear as if they were originally made with different kinds of black and white films or color film.
caption: The original image of the ruins at Tulum, Mexico was made near noon using color negative film. The ruins themselves are gray, only the sky had any color. Since the temple was the site of Mayan religious practices, I used Color Efex Pro’s Midnight (blue) filter to change the mood from harsh daylight to night. A “moon” was added using Photoshop’s built-in Flare filter.